The Inevitability Of Contact Sport Injuries

Football, soccer, lacrosse, and basketball, commonly known as contact sports, require skill and strength. These sports are also competitive, requiring the frequent collision of bodies to gain the upper hand. While entertaining to spectators, contact sports also open the door for injury. Joint injury, in particular, is quite common and can leave athletes sidelined for weeks or months. Injury may seem like an inevitable part of sports, with over 3 million emergency visits yearly from adolescents and adult athletes alike. However, keyhole surgery can effectively treat these 4 common joint injuries and get athletes back on the field.

1. A busted knee

The legs and knees are integral to movement and speed in sports. At the same time, collisions involving these joints can lead to injury. Knee sprains or dislocations are the most common injuries. However, some injuries are more severe. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, meniscus tear, or patella fracture are injuries that can lead to extensive time on the sidelines.

2. A bum shoulder

Another common injury in contact sports is shoulder damage. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint covered by several muscles and ligaments. These muscles and ligaments come into play when throwing, catching, or engaging opponents. Repetitive motions in throwing can lead to shoulder sprains or rotator cuff tears. Collar bone fractures and shoulder dislocations are common but require long-term recovery.

3. Beware ankle damage

The ankle joint is essential for movement, especially in sports. Ankle injuries are common in soccer or football. These sports involve frequent collisions of the lower leg, which can lead to ankle sprains and ligament tears. Ankle fractures are also common and can severely limit movement, requiring several months of recovery. Ankle injuries often require surgery to secure the ankle and a period of physical therapy (PT) for a full recovery.

4. A damaged elbow

The elbow is another hinge joint crucial for playing sports involving throwing or shooting a ball. In the elbow, 3 bones come together to form the joint, while there are tendons that connect to the bone. Overuse can lead to strains or sprains of the tendons around the joint. While elbow fractures are less common, a possible severe injury is an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear.

Can keyhole surgery help?

Some injuries can benefit from PT and rest periods. However, surgery is necessary for severe ligament strains, torn ligaments, or certain fractures. Keyhole surgery, also called minimally invasive surgery (MIS), has transformed the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of recovery. This procedure uses incisions the size of a keyhole to insert a scope near the injury site. The scope has a light and camera, which projects the damage to the doctor. A second keyhole incision allows surgical tools, screws, and pins to enter and repair the damage. The advantages of MIS include smaller scars, fewer complications, and improved success rates.

Can you prevent injury?

In a recent study, 40% of athletes suffered at least 1 contact or non-contact injury. Injuries were more likely to occur in practice than in real games. The study also found that the risk of injury increased due to overtraining, poor warmup, and not performing injury-preventive activities. Guaranteeing injury prevention is nearly impossible, but athletes can reduce the risk by taking rest days and warming up correctly. If there is any sign of pain and soreness, consult a coach or physical therapist. Additionally, using the right equipment, techniques, and training load will significantly reduce the chances of injury.

Back to the field of play

Injuries are a part of contact sports. Joint injuries, in particular, can happen due to collisions or unnatural twists of the joint or body. While most injuries are strains or sprains, others are more severe, involving a torn ligament or bone fracture. In these cases, keyhole surgery can speed up the recovery process. With minimal incisions, the athlete can heal faster, with fewer complications. Should an injury occur, know that minimally invasive surgery is a possibility to recover and resume sports quicker.