Sports Medicine

Research, New Therapies Offer Hope Amid Rising Tide of Sports-Related Injuries.

The term boomeritis was coined by a Philadelphia orthopaedic surgeon to describe increasingly common sports injuries among people roughly between the ages of 40 and 60. "Booneritis includes ligament and tendon ruptures but also injuries as varied as muscle soreness, sprains and strains, tendonitis and bursitis, arthritis, and fractures caused by trauma and overuse," and Dr. Frederick Azar, a Campbell Clinic sports medicine specialist.

In addition to the growing number of injuries among adult athletes, Dr. Azar said there has also been a sharp rise in sports-related injuries among young people.

"We are seeing a lot more injuries in adolescents that can be attributed to overuse," he said. "More young people are playing sports year-round, and repetitive use can lead to stress fractures and other injuries."

Facts About Sports Medicine Injuries

  • Sports injuries can result form accidents, from poor training practices, from lack of conditioning, and from insufficient warm-up and stretching before beginning exercise.
  • The most common types of sports injuries are muscle sprains and strains, tears of the ligaments that hold joints together, tears of the tendons that support joints and allow them to move, dislocated joints, and fractured bones, including vertebrae.
  • Adults age 25 and over sustained an estimated 2.3 million sports and recreational injuries annually from 1997 through 1999. Recreational sports (including tennis, golf, bowling, and hiking) account for 370,000 injuries.
  • The knee is the most commonly injured joint. Each year, more that 5.5 million people visit orthopaedic surgeons for knee problems.

A brighter outlook for athletes.

The outlook for injured athletes is more optimistic than in the past as a result of new surgical techniques, more aggressive rehabilitation protocols, development in tissue engineering, and promising research.

Finding hope in cartilage transplant.

Campbell Clinic surgeons specializing in sports medicine perform several types of cartilage restoration procedures, according to Dr. Azar. Dr. Azar and other Campbell Foundation researchers are currently engaged in studies using porcine cartilage constructs as they search for new ways to develop health human cartilage tissue for implantation.

"The cells attach themselves to the bone, multiply, and mature to form a cartilage repair," Dr. Azar said. "The procedure is relatively new, and the longevity is unknown at this point. But the success rate is reported to be between 70% and 80%.

Tips for Preventing Sports Injuries

More adults than ever are participating in sports, with a concurrent rise in injuries. Adults may not be as agile and resilient as they were when younger. Some injuries occur when a person tires to move from inactive to a more active lifestyle too quickly. Here are some tips to help prevent sports injuries among adults.

  • Don't be a "weekend warrior,"packing a week's worth of activity into a day or two. Try to maintain a moderate level of activity throughout the week.
  • Gradually increase your exercise level.
  • Accept your body's limits. You may not be able to perform at the same level you did 10-20 years ago. Modify activities as necessary
  • Learn to do your sport right. Using proper form can reduce your risk of overuse injuries such as tendonitis and stress fractures.
  • Use safety gear. Depending on the sport, this may mean a helmet, knee pads, or wrist pads.
  • Strive for a total body workout that includes cardiovascular activity, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Cross-training reduces injury while promoting total fitness.

Corporate Partners Support Training via the Sports Fellowship

Two corporate partners, Arthrex and Smith & Nephew Advanced Surgical Devices have provided support to The Campbell Foundation to sponsor the Sports Medicine Fellowship at UT-Campbell Clinic.

Applications for this Fellowship are selected on competitive basis and must have completed an ACGME accredited residency program in orthopaedic surgery, or an AOA accredited residency in osteopathic surgery. The Fellowship will usually be filled through a national matching program.

Dr. Frederick Azar, Sports Medicine Fellowship Director for The Campbell Foundation, said, "We are grateful to both companies and to our donors for helping us sustain this fellowship. We know that the fellowship benefits our patients by enhancing our sports medicine research, and it complements our residency training program."

Injury Prevention Tips
for Young Athletes

Participants in athletics improves physical fitness, coordination and self-discipline, and playing sports gives young people an opportunity to learn teamwork. To reap the benefits of participating in sports while minimizing the chance of injuries, follow these guidelines from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

  • Be in proper physical condition to play the sport you choose. Follow a regular conditioning program with exercises designed specifically for that sport.
  • Make sure your coach is qualified to supervise the sport you play.
  • Know and abide by the rules of the sport.
  • Know how to use athletic gear properly, and wear appropriate protective gear.
  • Always warm up before playing.
  • Avoid playing when very tired or in pain. A win-at-all-costs attitude that encourages young athletes to "play through the pain" can lead to injuries.
  • Never take performance-enhancing drugs.

Source: AAOS

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