Robert Craig Maccabee, DPM Powered by ZocDoc

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Sports Medicine

Management of Athletic Injuries and Physical Therapy

Sports medicine is a subspecialty of orthopedics that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries suffered during athletic activity. The goal of treatment is to heal and rehabilitate the injury so patients can return to their favorite activities quickly, whether it’s Little League, recreational play or a high school, college or professional sport.

As with a sports team, there are many physicians who work together to help the patient regain maximum use of the injured limb or joint. “Players” on the team are typically the physician, orthopedic surgeon, rehabilitation specialist, athletic trainer and physical therapist – and the patient him/herself.

Common injuries treated include:

  • ACL Tears
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Fractures
  • Heat Exhaustion
  • Muscle Contusions (Bruise)

Treatment of sports injury depends on the type, severity and location of the injury, and may include conservative methods such as rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications, or surgery for severe injuries. Nearly all patients who suffer from an athletic injury will need physical therapy to restore strength and function to the affected area. Physical therapy uses increasingly difficult exercises to help patients restore their quality of life and return to playing sports.

Click here to learn more about Athletic Injuries.


Arthroscopic Surgery of the Foot and Ankle

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat injuries and abnormalities within the joints of the foot and ankle. This procedure is commonly used to confirm a diagnosis made by physical examination and imaging techniques. It can also be used to treat certain conditions within the joints, provided they are not too complicated.

Foot and ankle arthroscopy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions and relieve the chronic pain often associated with these conditions, including:

  • Tissue bands
  • Ligament tears
  • Articular cartilage damage
  • Bone spurs
  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis

Many of these procedures once required open surgery in order to access the area and treat the condition. Arthroscopy is performed on an outpatient basis and requires only tiny incisions to access the joint. During the procedure, a tube called an arthroscope is inserted into one of the incisions, and small surgical instruments are inserted into the others. This allows the surgeon to visually examine the joint during surgery.

Since arthroscopy uses smaller instruments and requires only tiny incisions to be made, your recovery time is shortened and there is less damage to the joints and surrounding areas. Patients also benefit from less bleeding, less scarring and less pain. Most patients can return to work and other regular activities much sooner than with open surgery, although exercise and strenuous activities should be avoided for six weeks.


Management of Infections of the Foot and Ankle

Infections of the foot and ankle usually develop as a result of bacterial or fungal causes. These conditions usually occur on the skin or nails as a result of ill-fitting shoes, sweaty feet or walking barefoot in public places. Common infections include athlete’s foot (onychomycosis), ingrown toenails and other conditions that may lead to redness, irritation and swelling, as well as physical distortion.

Mild infections can usually be treated with oral or topical medications that eradicate the source of infection and allow the foot to heal, while some will go away on their own. More severe cases may require clipping or removing the toenail. Patients can help prevent infections by keeping the feet clean and dry, wearing shoes that fit well and clipping toenails straight across. Patients with diabetes may be at a higher risk for infection, and should take special precautions to prevent them.


Removal of Bone Spurs

Bone spurs are a common complication of plantar fasciitis, a condition causing inflammation and pain within the plantar fascia ligament. Bony calcium growths on the bottom of the heel, they form where the plantar fascia pulls on the heel bone. Spurs don't usually cause pain themselves, but they are often a good indicator of the severity and age of the underlying problem.

Treatments for plantar fasciitis begin with rest and stretching exercises, and in some cases, anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen. These should help alleviate pain within two months, and together with certain life adjustments, they reduce the risk of the condition recurring or becoming a chronic ailment. Cortisone injections, arch support and orthotic inserts may be recommended as well. Patients who continue to experience pain after these conservative methods may benefit from corticosteroid injections or surgery.

Risk factors for developing plantar fasciitis and heel spurs include overuse during exercise, standing or walking for many hours a day, having naturally tight calf muscles, wearing shoes with high heels, and having flat feet or very high arches.

Click here to learn more about Plantar Fasciitis.

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