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Treating Sports Injuries

Whether you are a high school or college athlete, a distance runner, a club player or a weekend warrior, you can depend on SSM Health sports medicine specialists for top-notch care of your bones and joints. We provide comprehensive services to help you return to the track, field or court quickly and safely, no matter what your age. Our staff includes expert teams of athletic trainers and physicians who are athletes themselves, and know what it takes to rehabilitate and avoid re-injury.

If you have an injury, pushing through the pain can actually make the problem worse. Find an SSM Health urgent care or emergency room near you to determine the extent of your injury, so you can get appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Types of Injuries We Treat

Whatever your competitive level, proper treatment for your sports injury can help get you back into the game. The sooner an sports medicine specialist can evaluate your sports injury, the greater the chance for a favorable outcome. Schedule an appointment with an SSM Health sports medicine specialist for an evaluation to determine your best options for treating your injury and restoring strength.

Explore our sports injury prevention sheets to learn about the most common sports injuries and what you can do to prevent them.

Woman runner clutching ankle Ankle sprain is the most common cause of ankle pain, and occurs when the ligaments that stabilize the ankle joint are stretched beyond their limits. If you are unbalanced when you (or someone else) land on your foot, or excessively twist your ankle inwardly or outwardly, the ligament may tear.

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A concussion is a brain injury that disrupts normal brain function and is usually caused by a sudden jolt or blow to the head or body. A person does not have to be knocked out or have memory loss to have suffered a concussion. In fact, most people who suffer an activity-related concussion do not lose consciousness.

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Elbow pain can occur from an abrupt injury such as a fall or a sharp pull, or from repetitive motions such as those used in racquet sports.

Tennis elbow: Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendon that attaches the muscle to the forearm bone on the outside of the elbow joint. Although it is termed ‘tennis’ elbow, this condition can occur in any activity that uses repetitive motion of the forearm muscles.

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Hip pain can be caused by a number of different reasons from traumatic injuries, overuse, and underlying conditions like arthritis. Depending on the cause of your hip pain, treatment can include physical therapy, weight loss, ice, heat, medications and joint replacement.

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Sports injuries to the knee are very common and can range from mild to severe. The complex motions that athletes perform involving the knee joint - repeated twisting or pivoting, frequent stopping and starting, or swift directional changes - can cause damage to both cartilage and ligaments.

ACL: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is located inside the front of the knee. It’s responsible for stabilizing the knee joint from front to back. ACL injury frequently occurs in athletes that stop and start suddenly, or change direction in mid-motion.

PCL: The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is located inside the back of the knee and stabilizes the joint, keeping the tibia from moving too far backwards. Damage to the PCL requires extreme force, such as a direct hit to the knee. A PCL injury is generally not as severe as an ACL injury, and often will heal on its own.

MCL: The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is located along the inside of the knee, connecting the femur and tibia bones of the leg to stabilize and limit sideways movement at the joint. The MCL is one of the most commonly injured ligaments, and occurs when the knee sustains a direct hit from the outside of the knee.

Meniscal tear: The meniscus is a thick layer of cartilage that acts as a shock-absorber between the femur and tibia bones in the knee. It protects the harder layer of cartilage that lines the ends of the bones. In severe injuries such as a direct hit to the knee, or excessive twisting, the meniscus can tear and cause severe pain and swelling.

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Athletes are more likely to feel shoulder pain if their sport requires repetitive motion. Volleyball and football players, swimmers and racquet sport enthusiasts can suffer a sudden injury, or develop shoulder pain from overuse that causes inflammation or a tissue tear.

Rotator cuff tear: A torn rotator cuff causes pain, weakness and an inability to move the arm freely with a full range of motion. It also tends to be painful when you try to lift and turn your arm during overhead activity.

Shoulder dislocation/labral tear: The shoulder can easily dislocate, either from an injury or repetitive use. This weakens the muscles holding the shoulder in place. The extent of the dislocation, whether the ball is moved partially or fully out of the socket, affects the amount of pain you may experience, especially if a tear occurs in the soft tissue surrounding the socket.

Fracture: A fracture, or breaking, of one of the bones in the shoulder usually occurs from a fall or collision. While some fractures are obvious, some are not.

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Sprains, strains and tendonitis are common injuries that can affect all areas of the body. Learn what athletes can do to prevent these injuries and how to care for them when they do occur.

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No One Plans for an Injury

Athletes expect high performance all the time, and no one plans for an injury. But when an unexpected strain, sprain, dislocation or fracture happens, you can be assured the sports medicine specialists at SSM Health are ready to help. From diagnosis and testing to treatment, therapy and clinical follow-up, our team will work with you to make sure you receive individualized care for your specific needs.

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