The Pros And Cons Of Being A Weekend Warrior

The term weekend warrior typically refers to any individual who participates in moderate to intense physical activity after work or on the weekends. Activities can range from sports like pickleball and swimming to weightlifting and long-distance running. Weekend warriors benefit from increased strength, improved health, and enrichment. However, there’s also the chance of developing a range of sports injuries that can derail these activities. In severe cases, surgery is necessary both to reduce pain and improve function. With outpatient procedures, weekend warriors can return to action faster.

Common weekend warrior injuries

People who participate in contact sports, like basketball, football, or soccer, are more likely to encounter ligament injuries, sprains, strains, and bone fractures. These injuries are often caused by overstretching or collisions on the field. Sprains and strains of the hands, shoulders, knees, and ankles are common examples. More severe conditions include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, rotator cuff tears, or ankle fractures. Other sports like tennis, golf, swimming, and cycling can result in overuse injuries. With overuse injuries, a ligament becomes inflamed due to constant force without rest. The ligament can weaken or tear, leading to pain, instability, and reduced function. Tennis elbow, stress fractures, tendonitis, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis are also prevalent in weekend warriors.

Do you need surgery?

Most injuries present a range of symptoms like pain, swelling, tenderness, and inflammation. A doctor or orthopedic specialist should always be seen to receive a definitive diagnosis. The medical professional will assess the injury using physical examination, x-rays, and other methods. From there, the proper treatment process can be recommended. Most injuries do not require surgery and can benefit from non-invasive treatment such as rest, physical therapy (PT), and pain management. However, more severe injuries, such as a complete tear of a ligament or a compound fracture, may require surgery to repair the damage. The doctor will discuss the surgical process and benefits with the patient.

The type of surgery matters

For many patients, surgery can be a concerning process, even if the procedure is to fix a minor issue. All surgeries are serious and require delicate care. Yet, with outpatient surgery, many concerns are minimized. Outpatient surgery involves using small tools and a special scope to access and repair the damage. The scope has a lighted camera at the end, allowing the surgeon to view the damage through a tiny incision the size of a buttonhole. Additional tools are inserted through other small incisions to repair the damage. As the name implies, surgery is outpatient, meaning the patient can leave the surgical center on the same day.

The outpatient advantage

Beyond leaving the same day, outpatient surgery provides additional benefits to weekend warriors. Patients eligible for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) can avoid the risks of open surgery, such as large incisions and unsightly scars. Open surgeries also take longer and require additional time for healing in the hospital. Outpatient surgery results in fewer complications like infections and higher success rates. Best of all, weekend warriors can return to normal activities faster. Repairing sports injuries with MIS is a viable option for those who show no improvement with non-surgical means or want to return to sports as soon as possible.

Enhancing outpatient surgery success

While MIS is an innovative approach to injuries, outpatient surgery is just the beginning of a detailed recovery process. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are vital in ensuring less pain and improved function of the impacted body part. Patients are expected to perform exercises, stretches, and other activities to reduce pain, enhance range of motion (ROM), and increase strength. Following PT to the letter ensures the patient experiences the maximum benefit of surgery. Additional recommendations to help with a faster recovery include adequate sleep, a healthier diet, and reducing stress.

Get back to business

Weekend warriors can feel defeated when an injury derails progress and healthy habits. Some people choose to ignore the injury, but this usually makes things worse. Getting immediate treatment for any severe or chronic pain is essential to prevent long-term complications. If surgery is required, outpatient options are the gold standard. Surgeons can repair common issues like ligament tears or help stabilize fractures. The patient can then go home the same day and start recovering. With outpatient surgery, returning to sports as soon as possible is an achievable goal for many weekend warriors.