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How to Prevent Joint Arthritis Caused by Sports Injuries

Joint ArthritisSports injuries treatment in Brooklyn is provided at pain management and rehabilitation centers, and effective treatment is available for a wide range of sports injuries and musculoskeletal conditions. Studies have shown that sports injuries could lead to arthritis in the joints. Typically, athletes and physically active persons that are injured have a tendency to rush to get back in the game. This shortens the rehabilitation time required to allow an injured joint to heal completely. Adequate recovery, including rehabilitation measures are essential for strengthening the structures that support the injured joint and thereby maximize joint stability, reduce the risk of re-injury and prevent irreparable joint damage. Shortening the rehabilitation period could set the stage for a post-traumatic osteoarthritis problem years later. Recent research by a team of orthopedists and rehabilitation specialists at the University of Iowa showed that acute joint damage that occurs at the time of an injury initiates a sequence of events that can lead to progressive articular surface damage, causing pain, stiffness, instability and disability that can interfere with work and mobility as well as diminish the quality of life.

Osteoarthritis affects over 30 million Americans and this number is likely to grow with the increase in obesity, lifelong physical activity and the aging of the population. The Iowa team found that arthritis develops in more than 40 percent of people who seriously injure their ligaments, the meniscus or the articular surface of a joint. People with a history of trauma to the knee are three to six times more likely to develop arthritis in that knee. Highly repetitive impact on a joint can damage the articular cartilage even without an acute injury. Arthritisis no longer considered as a disease that affects only the elderly. It can even affect young and middle-aged adults and in fact, more than half of adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis are younger than 65.

Joseph M. Hart, an athletic trainer who conducts clinical research at the University of Virginia, and his colleagues write in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Athletic Training that a 17-year-old athlete who tears her anterior cruciate ligament could develop osteoarthritis before she turns 30, and this could lead to chronic pain and disability. According to another athletic trainer Jeffrey B. Driban at the Tufts Medical Center in Boston, one person in three who injures the anterior cruciate ligament will have X-ray evidence of osteoarthritis within 10 years.

Even though certain sports such as soccer, elite-level long-distance running, competitive weight lifting and wrestling can put a person at a higher risk of knee injuries, this can be reduced by evaluating and treating the deficits in muscle strength, balance and stability. In fact, timely treatment and care for initial injury can reduce the chances of early onset of arthritis.

Treatment for Initial Injury

Leading multispecialty healthcare and rehabilitation centers in Brooklyn provide effective non-surgical treatment to deal with initial injury. Experienced pain management doctors conduct a comprehensive physical examination, and request an X-ray or MRI scan to determine the nature of the injury. Based on the outcome of the assessment, they will prepare a customized treatment plan to reduce pain, restore the injured area to normal function, enable return to sports, and prevent further injury. Initial treatment modalities include PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation) followed by physical therapy exercise programs, myofascial release, ultrasound, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), traction therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, radiofrequency radio ablation and Game Ready cold therapy system.

Treatment for Osteoarthritis of the Knee

If you have early signs of osteoarthritis of the knee, you can get treated at a reliable pain management center that provides highly effective Monovisc and Orthovisc hyaluronic acid knee injections to alleviate knee pain and help you get back on your feet. These injections are usually administered to patients who have failed to respond adequately to conservative non-pharmacologic therapy and to simple analgesics such as acetaminophen.

Concisely, sports participants who sustain a knee injury can minimize the risk of re-injury and arthritis by not rushing back into activity or trying to play with the pain. They must strengthen the muscles that support the joint – the quads, hamstrings and hip muscles. In fact, pursuing a healthy lifestyle is crucial not only for elite athletes and those who play on school teams but for everyone. So if you want to stay active to maintain strength and cardiovascular fitness, then you should perform activities without putting repetitive stress on a joint that is already injured. For instance, if your knees are injured and are very painful for you to run, then you can try other activities that place less stress on the knees such as biking or swimming. Appropriate physical activity is good to prevent weight gain, which is crucial since every extra pound places disproportionate stress on the knees.

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