The Role of an Orthopedic Surgeon in Sports Medicine

Athletes are constantly at risk for injuries with the knee joint being the most likely to be injured. Orthopedic surgeons treat these types of sports injuries more than any other parts of the body. Knees are involved in most physical activities and are used in almost every sport, and when an injury occurs, proper treatment is critical in providing a fast and effective recovery.

An orthopedic surgeon understand athletes desires to return to their sport as quickly as possible after an injury. With this understanding, many sports orthopedic surgeons have developed programs that enable their patients to return to activities safely and as fast as possible after knee injuries, including those who require knee surgery. Programs consist of postoperative exercise devices and rehabilitation, which is often taught and overseen by a certified trainer. When a patient with a sport related knee injury is initially seen by an orthopedic surgeon, the surgeon will oftentimes start the patient immediately on a program to prevent the knee from becoming immobile due to swelling and pain. Programs often consist of special devices that apply cold and compression to the knee as well as range of motion exercises, flexibility and strengthening exercise and teaching how to walk properly to eliminate any need for crutches. Programs can last anywhere between four weeks to six weeks. This often helps prevent surgery while allowing for safe and effective recovery in a much shorter period than if surgery is done. Athletes who do need surgery are started on a program immediately after surgery using aggressive exercise and rehabilitation techniques to provide rapid recovery.

Teaching athletes about prevention of injuries and proper nutrition as well as ways to use the muscles in a safe manner is an important role for the orthopedic surgeon. Developing a personal plan for each patient helps athletes with weight management, exercises specific for their injury and nutrition, which all play an important role in healthy joints. Patients are also taught about how the knee works and how to use other muscle groups to help support the injured knee.

During the initial visit with the orthopedic surgeon, the patient will receive a complete assessment of their musculoskeletal system. They will also discuss their daily activities and lifestyle habits for the development of a personal plan. If overweight, the orthopedic surgeon will recommend a proper nutrition plan. The injury will be assessed and if surgery is not required, the patient will be placed on a program. Patients that do require surgery will be explained the procedure in detail as well as put on a program that includes exercise and nutrition to ensure they recover quickly after surgery.

Don’t take your joints for granted, consult an orthopedic surgeon and know that you are in good hands.

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