It’s time for this week’s HSS Injury Report! With the preseason winding down, athletes are gearing up for the start of the regular season. See below for a breakdown of some of the injuries that have taken place.
To read last week’s Injury Report, click here. Check back next week for the next installment of the Injury Report!
Concussion: Concussions, or mild traumatic brain injury, is defined as a clinical syndrome characterized by immediate transient impairment of neural function such as alteration of consciousness, disturbance of vision, or equilibrium due to mechanical forces. If an athlete is suspected to have suffered a concussion, the first and most important thing is to get them off of the field and away from further contact. The risk of a second, more serious concussion is greatly increased when someone is still symptomatic from a first concussion. It is vital that players, trainers, and coaches evaluate the return on an individual basis, not based on a rigid timeline, in order to protect the brain from further injury, as well as to reduce the risk of multiple concussions and their cumulative effects.
Bicep Tear: Injuries to the distal biceps tendon can be partial or complete ruptures. Presenting symptoms of a distal biceps rupture include pain at the front of the elbow. Sometimes, people with the injury report hearing a “pop” from the area. There are several options available for the treatment of a torn distal biceps tending, ranging from conservative treatment to operative interventions. Most patients will have surgery, but there is a role for non-operative treatment in the low-demand person or a patient who is a poor surgical candidate. After surgery, the majority of tendon healing is usually complete after two months, at which time light strengthening exercises can begin. Return to full activity is variable, but most patients can expect to be back to their preoperative activities by 4-5 months.
ACL Injury: The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) helps stabilize and support the joint. A diagnosis of ACL injury describes a specific knee injury in which the ACL is partially or completely torn. The ACL is part of a complicated network of tendons and ligaments that help support the knee by stabilizing the femur on the tibia and preventing the tibia from sliding and twisting during activity. Because the ACL cannot be reattached once it is torn, surgical reconstruction requires the grafting of replacement tissue in its place. Multiple sources are used including the patient’s own hamstring tendon or patellar tendon. Following surgery, the patient enters a rehabilitation program to restore strength, stability, and range of motion to the knee.
Achilles Tendon Injury: The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body, linking the heel bone to the calf muscle. Chronic, long-lasting Achilles tendon disorders can range from overuse injuries to tearing of the tendon. Treatment depends on the nature of the injury, and most people who have injuries related to overuse of the tendon undergo non-surgical treatment, which begins with rest and modification of activities. In acute cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can be beneficial, as well as methods such as ice massages and stretching. Recovery expectations vary based on the particular injury or combination of injuries that are causing the pain. Based on the results of an ultrasound and MRI, sports medicine physicians determine recovery time on an individual basis.