When playing sports one of the biggest fears that any athlete has is getting injured. Injuries pose a great threat to all athletes as they can sometimes be life-altering. Some injuries can put a player out for 2-3 games, others can sideline them for weeks, and more severe injuries can see athletes out for months or an entire season.
Whenever the timetable mentions months or a season, it usually means that there is a chance of surgery. With every surgery, there is always a risk of complications which can make many people hesitant about getting it. For athletes, an operation on their knee, shoulder, or wrist means more time away from the sport and a longer rehabilitation period. Fortunately, with growing technology, and new discoveries there are some ways that athletes can avoid the need for surgery.
Common Sports Injuries:
Depending on the sport, some injuries are more common than others. Baseball and softball players tend to have more problems with their arms, wrists, and shoulders while soccer players tend to have more issues with their knees. Despite knee injuries being more common in soccer and shoulder injuries more common in tennis or baseball, there are a number of injuries that are common across all sports. According to the National Institute of Health, other common injury’s include sprains and strains, swollen muscles, issues with the Achilles, issues with the rotator cuff, fractures/ broken bones, and dislocations.
Treatment without surgery:
Sometimes an operation may be the best solution to fixing and injury. In order for a soccer player to continue their career, surgery on a torn acl (anterior cruciate ligament) may be the best solution but this is not the case for every injury.
When it comes to issues like swollen muscles, one of the best ways to treat them is with rest. Additionally, if the pain intensifies, taking over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Advil can offer relief by lowering the swelling and numbing the pain.
While it may sound like an injury that needs surgery, a torn rotator cuff can often be treated without it. Surgery for a torn rotator cuff will only be performed if the pain does not go away after 3-6 months. Avoiding surgery for this type of injury includes medication but more importantly physical therapy. Physical therapy is crucial to helping the shoulder regain the strength it had before the injury.
Surgery is not always the best solution. Sometimes letting things heal on their own is a much safer option depending on the person’s age, beliefs, or severity of the injury. If surgery is not the answer, there are many other treatments that can help a person recover without having to enter an operating room. While rest, medicine and physical therapy has all proven successful other treatments such as injections, and immobilization has also provided relief.
Sometimes, the surgical risks outweigh the potential benefits. As people get older, the associated risks of surgery become greater, such as infection. The more people know about alternatives to surgery, the more informed their decisions can be for effective & less risky treatments.