As a sub-discipline of sports orthopaedics, sports traumatology specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and degenerative diseases resulting from sports activities. Sports traumatology not only helps professional athletes, but also recreational athletes. The aim of sports traumatology is to enable patients to continue practising their sport.


Medical counsel Prof. Dr. med. Karl-Heinz Frosch

Written in accordance with current scientific standards and carefully reviewed by medical professionals.

Overview

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Sports traumatology - Further information

Sport is an enrichment for life at any age. It keeps us fit and healthy and at best delays the phenomena of the aging process. Unfortunately, any sport always carries a risk of sports injuries. This does not always have to be bruises or abrasions or even broken bones. Often, the body is subjected to incorrect strain on tendons, muscles and ligaments, which over time can lead to increasingly severe physical discomfort and pain. But when should you consult a sports trauma specialist?

A sports traumatologist is helpful with these injuries and complaints

Wie bereits eingangs gesagt, muss es nicht immer das Trauma infolge der in vielen Sportarten auftretenden hohen Energien sein, auch energieärmere Sportarten können zu dauerhaften Schäden vor allem an Gelenken, Bändern und Knochen führen.

As mentioned at the beginning, it does not always have to be a trauma due to the high energies that occur in many sports, even low-energy sports can lead to permanent damage, especially to joints, ligaments and bones.

The most frequent type of sports injury in the field of sports traumatology is actually injuries to the joints. Excessive joint degeneration (arthrosis) is also frequently observed. At 70%, the legs are most frequently affected by injuries. But every fifth patient suffers from pain in the shoulder and arm area. Accidents to the spine or head are fortunately much rarer.

These are the top places for injuries in sports traumatology, sorted by body region:

In the knee area

  • Ligament tears, with the cruciate ligament tear as a classic,
  • Meniscus damage,
  • Tendon injuries in the area of the knee joint,
  • Jumping out of the kneecap (patellar luxation),
  • Arthrosis of the knee joints

In the shoulder

  • Dislocation of the shoulder joint,
  • Shoulder instabilities,
  • Rupture of the rotator cuff

In the ankle joint

  • Torn ligament,
  • Achilles tendon rupture or tearing off

Treatment in sports traumatology - What is done how?

Although many athletes think they know what they are suffering from, there is no treatment in sports traumatology without prior diagnostics. This is important in order to be able to distinguish between acute and chronic on the one hand, and to be able to start the best possible therapy on the other. Self treatment by patients at home often prevents an early start to treatment and can then slow down the success of the therapy or even lead to subsequent damage. For this reason, sports injuries are always treated by a specialist in sports traumatology.

After a detailed doctor-patient consultation, an intensive physical examination follows at the specialist's, during which imaging procedures can also be used. For example, there is ultrasound, arthroscopy, X-rays or MRI, which all help to document the condition of the bones and joints.

In general, the treatment in sports traumatology should be as gentle as possible and without further trauma. The conservative measures include, for example, taping, joint protection, wearing special insoles as well as pain and anti-inflammatory drugs. If this armamentarium is not sufficient, surgical intervention on the joint or tendons should be considered. Nowadays, such interventions on the joint are usually carried out as minimally invasive surgery, i.e. the specialist for sports traumatology uses an endoscope to penetrate through a small incision into the joint to be "repaired". Using a camera and special instruments, the sports physician can operate on joint damage without large incisions.

In the case of chronic injuries, overuse or pain, shock wave therapy is also used in many specialist centres for sports traumatology. The ultrasound waves of this method not only improve blood circulation but also stimulate the bone-forming cells to divide, which improves healing. In this way, many sports traumas such as shoulder pain, the famous and widespread tennis elbow and muscle tension can be treated on an outpatient basis by a sports trauma specialist.

Sometimes protracted healing, but mostly good prognosis

Thanks to minimally invasive surgical techniques for joint damage, the surgical treatment of sports injuries today is very gentle. The complication rates are significantly lower than with conventional surgery and the patients have significantly improved chances of recovery.

However, sports traumatology is only one aspect of the issue; rehabilitation is essential in sports. This is the only way to guarantee that the mobility of joints regenerates as quickly and as effectively as possible. The combination of gentle exertion and physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles and tendons in the injured area has proven successful.

Depending on the original trauma and the time elapsed before adequate treatment, it usually takes several weeks to months before complete rehabilitation can be achieved. After this period, however, there is usually nothing to prevent a return to sports activity.