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Sports Medicine & Injury Prevention
Orthopaedic Associates of Central Texas (OACT) is a comprehensive center where athletes and active individuals can get the most advanced treatment and care to maximize their return to sports and activity. Being a comprehensive center for athletes means that we provide care for sports injuries in all body parts: feet, knees, hips, pelvis, spine (upper and lower), shoulder, elbow, and hand.
OACT provides board certified orthopaedic surgeons, non-surgical physicians, and physical therapists that have additional training, certifications, and fellowship experience in working specifically with athletes. As a result of our training, we have a comprehensive understanding of each athlete’s biomechanics and how to maximize the healing and rehabilitation process. Our focus is to give each athlete the most advanced solution, surgical and/or non-surgical techniques, while utilizing the latest research and technology to provide the highest level of care.
We use a team approach, with medical professionals working in coordination with one another, to accomplish athletic care from injury prevention to sports specific training.
- Prevention is the first step – this begins with pre-season physicals and working closely with area athletic trainers, coaches, and the community.
- Rapid response to Care – “Fast Track Referral System” with sports teams, high school, club sports, athletic trainers, and the community.
- Correct identification and evaluation – provide in-office digital x-rays and MRI to quickly and accurately diagnosis your injury.
- Treatment plan – provide the latest advancements in medicine and training to provide the best treatment options to include: conservative treatment, surgical options, and rehabilitation.
- Rehabilitation – Utilizing the best physical therapist and athletic trainers who understand the advanced surgical and medical protocols to monitor your individual progress.
- Return to play criteria with sports specific training and conditioning – utilizing athletic trainers and strength and conditioning professional to maximize a quick and safe return to activity.
- Prevention is also the Last Step – this prevention model is a follow-up evaluation to ensure that your injury is “Game Ready”, as well as your other body parts that may have compensated due to the injury.
For the “Weekend Warrior”:
Sports Medicine Physicians are ideal physicians for the non-athlete as well, and are excellent resources for the individual who wishes to become active or begin an exercise program. For the "weekend warrior" or "industrial athlete" who experiences an injury, the same expertise used for the competitive athlete can be applied to speed the return of any individual as quickly as possible to full function.
Athletes and their injuries are similar to the average population in some ways, and differ greatly in others. The body has a set healing rate; meaning that bones, ligaments and muscles heal at a set rate, which cannot change, only be maximized. The physicians and surgeons at OACT have the training and experience to know what steps can be taken to maximize the healing rate for a recovering athlete.
Most Common Sports Injuries:
- Knee ligament injuries (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL) and revision surgery
- Rotator cuff tears
- Shoulder separation
- Shoulder dislocation
- Knee dislocation
- Meniscus tears
- Elbow ligament injuries
- Acute Osteochondral “Cartilage” defects and arthritis in the athlete
Common Sports Injuries Requiring Non-Surgical Treatment:
- Musculoskeletal injuries in athletes and active individuals
- Medical issues secondary to and affecting sports performance
- Chronic injuries secondary to other factors
Most Common Overuse Sports Injuries:
- Non-surgical Fractures
- Shin Splints
Most Common Surgical Treatment for Sports Injuries:
- Sports Fractures: hand, foot, legs, arms and backs
- Knee ligament reconstruction (ACL) and meniscus repair or correction
- Arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, elbow, and hip
- Arthroscopic rotator cuff reconstruction
- Arthroscopic Bankart reconstruction (capsulolabral repair of the shoulder) Cartilage restoration, OATs, Autogenous Chondrocyte Implantation and Allografts Osteotomies
ACL Ligament Tear
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the primary structure that restraints forward motion of the lower leg during movement. When an ACL injury occurs, the knee becomes less stable. This instability can make sudden, pivoting movements difficult, and it may make the knee more prone to developing arthritis and cartilage tears. When this occurs the ACL should be replaced.
Surgical reconstruction of a torn ACL involves replacing the torn ACL with a tendon (called a graft) from another part of the knee and putting it into a position to take the place of the torn ACL. The most commonly used graft is taken from the middle third of the patellar tendon (the tendon connecting the knee cap to the tibial bone). Hamstring tendon grafts taken from the inner thigh to the back of the knee are also used. Occasionally, tendon grafts are taken from cadavers (referred to as allograft). For most of these procedures, the operation is done arthroscopically instead of making big incisions. The knee is examined arthroscopically and associated injuries such as torn menisci, loose bodies, etc. are treated.
Rotator Cuff Tear:
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that helps move and stabilize the shoulder during movement and connects the shoulder blade to the arm. It is the tendinous portion of the rotator cuff that is usually involved in a rotator cuff tear. Injury to the rotator cuff can be caused by either repetitive use or traumatic injuries. A rotator cuff tear is seen both in the young and old, but they are much more common in the older population. Usually in younger patients, there is either a traumatic injury, or the patient is demanding unusual use of their shoulder, as seen in professional athletes. There are several surgical procedures in the treatment of a torn rotator cuff: open repair, mini-open repair, and an arthroscopic repair. The most common procedure preformed is an arthroscopic repair, which is done with small incisions. A camera and instruments are put in the shoulder joint and the surgeon works by watching his repair on a monitor. The major advantage of this procedure is that it is less invasive and generally allows for a quicker return to activity. The surgery to perform the rotator cuff repair generally lasts about two hours, but a complete recovery usually requires at least four to six months.
Shoulder Separation & Dislocation:
A shoulder dislocation is often confused with a shoulder separation; they are very different injuries and involve different structures within the shoulder. The shoulder joint is made of three bones: the humerus (arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavical (collar bone) which come together at one place.
A shoulder separation occurs when there is an injury to the joint between the scapula and clavicle, medially known as an acromioclavicular (AC) joint separation. Injury to this joint occurs when there is a direct blow to the top of the shoulder and is associated with pain and pin-point tenderness on the tip of the shoulder. Injury to this joint is classified in grades I, II, and III:
Grade I involves a stretching of the joint ligaments (between the scapula and clavicle) with no deformity “popping up” of the joint and some tenderness and swelling.
Grade II involves a significant tearing of the ligaments and a deformity where the clavicle (collar bone) “pops up” on the top of the shoulder.
Grade III is a complete rupture of the ligaments with significant joint deformity. The usual treatment for this injury is a figure eight splint to keep the joint immobile while the healing process occurs. Grade III, or complete tears, used to be treated with surgery, but are now treated conservatively, except in cases where there is an associated fracture or the clavicle is grossly out of place.
A shoulder dislocation occurs when there is an injury to the joint between the humerus and scapula, the glenohumeral joint. Injury occurs when the ball portion, of this ball and socket joint, comes out of place. A great majority of shoulder dislocations occur when the ball slides forwards out of the joint. The mechanism of injury to this joint commonly occurs from falling on an out starched arm or a forceful pushing of the joint beyond its normal range of motion. When this occurs, there is significant pain and the inability to completely move the arm. These symptoms are caused by a stretching of the shoulder ligaments that hold the ball in the socket along with other structures, commonly referred to as a Bankart lesion. Generally, the diagnosis of a shoulder dislocation is made by listening to the patient and performing a complete physical exam. X-rays and other testing may be needed to rule out a fracture or damage to other joint structures from the trauma. Testing may also be needed to determine if the nerves or blood vessels were damages during the dislocation or relocation process.
Two options are generally given, a surgical and non-surgical approach. The non-surgical approach requires rest and rehabilitation; the outcome is generally determined by the type of activity you return to. The other option is to perform surgery to repair the stretched ligament and other structures, such as a labrum tear. In a great majority of cases the athlete/patient can return to their activity follow rest and rehabilitation.