February 2022 / Sports Medicine

An Introduction to Sports Medicine & Frozen Shoulders

A Look at Main Line Spine’s Sports Medicine Program – As Well as an Example of One of the Injuries We See in Some Weekend Warrior Athletes

What is Sports Medicine? And how does it extend the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialty practiced at Main Line Spine?

Female Athlete TrainingSports medicine is not a medical specialty in itself. Most sports medicine healthcare providers are certified in other specialties, such as Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. However, sport medicine providers, including those at Main Line Spine, have additional training in preventing illness and treating injuries in active people.

Sports medicine is focused on caring for athletes of all levels, from amateur weekend warriors to professionals, adults who exercise for physical fitness to student athletes, and people with physically demanding jobs, such as construction workers. Regardless of the complexity of an injury, we build on our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation foundation with sports medicine to help you continue to remain safely active.

Conditions and Treatments

Sports medicine primarily focuses on nonsurgical techniques. In fact, according to statistics from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, roughly 90 percent of all sports injuries do not require surgery. Instead, it focuses on maximizing the benefits of nonsurgical treatment, which can help patients recover faster. However, if we determine it is needed, we do make referrals to orthopedic surgeons.

What are the most common sports medicine injuries? They include:

  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Ankle issues
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Frozen shoulder & shoulder pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee cartilage injuries
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Shin splints
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tennis and golfer’s elbow
  • Tendonitis

Treatments? Similar to our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialty, when we are practicing sports medicine, we generally fill the gap between your primary care doctor and orthopedic surgery practices. This includes deep experience in managing musculoskeletal issues and any sort of metabolic or bone condition, nutrition and other elements that deal with activity. Conservative treatments for sports injuries may include activity modification, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections, ultrasound guided procedures, and orthobiologic regenerative medicine – the latter designed to stimulate your body to heal itself.

Frozen Shoulders

With our introduction in mind, let’s look at one of the conditions we treat with sports medicine approaches.

Frozen shoulders, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common cause of shoulder pain and loss of motion in those who are in their 40’s or older. Unfortunately, it can result in a considerable disruption to any sports activity, especially given how long it usually takes to resolve.

A frozen shoulder is a condition where the shoulder’s joint capsule becomes inflamed or sticky. This makes the whole joint stiff and difficult/painful to move. As the joint capsule becomes inflamed, scar tissue forms, which causes pain and leaves less room for the shoulder to move through its normal full range of motion.

This condition can be challenging to diagnose in its early stages, as it can appear to be similar to other common shoulder disorders. Where there are questions about its diagnosis from initial medical examination, an MRI or ultrasound examination is often required to detect the thickening in the joint capsule that is one of the indicators of this condition.

Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Conservative treatments begin with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) and physical therapy. However, when this approach is unsuccessful, steroid injections may be appropriate. But for many patients, resting the shoulder over a long period under the supervision of a doctor is what is required for recovery. It’s a frustrating path for impatient athletes, but it is the reality of the road to recovery for most who have this condition.

Recovering from Your Sports Injury

Main Line Spine’s approach to sports medicine combines our expertise as physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors with the most current options and innovations for active adult care available. Call for an appointment today to start on your path to recovery.

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