When to See a Sports Medicine Doctor

August 23rd, 2021

Athletes are notorious for waiting too long to seek help for an injury. Whether they think they can play through and shake it off, or they don’t want to lose playing time, this is a dangerous mistake to make. What began as a mild pain could become a severe injury, causing pain to other areas of the body. 

Our sports medicine doctors in New York have specialized training to treat conditions that often affect people active in sports. Not only do they treat injuries, they also help prevent and manage a variety of conditions for their patients. So while your sports medicine doctor can fix your broken bone or diagnose your broken ankle, they also have the knowledge to help your body perform at its best.

If you’re not an athlete, people who exercise or play recreational sports on the weekend still deal with pains. And these pains can still become serious. 

It’s crucial to follow a few rules of thumb when dealing with sports- or exercise-related pain. Check out some of the sure fire ways to tell you should see a Rothman physician in New York. 

You can’t put weight on it. 

We all know the feeling - a missed step, and a twisted ankle. This usually happens to the outside of your ankle but can happen on the inside too. It’s normal to feel some pain at first when applying pressure and it will usually get better within the first few steps. However, if pain lingers and continues as you put weight on it, it could be a sign that there’s damage.

Rest and avoid putting pressure on your injury and if that doesn’t do the trick- it’s time for a visit to a sports medicine doctor.

You notice swelling, bruising and pain.

Small bruises happen here and there if you’re active. Weight rooms, hikes, exercise classes, and physical sports are all instances where bumps happen. But if you get injured and you see immediate swelling and bruising, it’s important to keep an eye on it and be aware of your symptoms. Some symptoms that are cause for concern include the following:

  • The area becomes numb.

  • You experience loss of function of a joint, limb or muscle.

  • The bruise continues to grow in size.

  • A bruise recurs in the same spot.

  • You experience vision impairment.

  • Your knee becomes much more swollen than the other side and is painful to move

A normal bruise will also change in colors as it’s healing. More significant trauma is known as a hematoma, which is a collection of blood that becomes trapped within tissues. 

When a hematoma occurs, the body can’t heal the bruise as easily or quickly as a minor injury. This means the hematoma will stay the same color, firmness, and result in the same level of pain even after several days.

If you notice a bruise isn’t fading or is worsening in color, contact your doctor. Increased swelling that does not go down after rest is another sign to call your doctor. 

You hear a popping or cracking sound. 

Little pops and cracks throughout the body you hear on a day to day basis are not a cause for concern. But hearing a loud, clear pop, snap, or crack followed by pain when engaging in physical activity can indicate a torn ligament or broken bone.

These types of injuries often can’t heal on their own. A sports medicine physician will be able to diagnose your injury and determine the best method for healing to have you back to your normal activities. You may also require the help of a sports medicine surgeon to repair a torn ligament or tendon.

You don’t feel better after RICE.

It’s likely you’ve heard the term, RICE, if you’re an athlete or someone who engages in physical activity often. RICE is the go-to method to dealing with a minor injury after it occurs and it includes rest, ice, compression and elevation.

If you practice this method for a week or so and you see no improvement and the pain stays the same, contact a sports medicine physician.

To ensure your body can continue to perform on the field or in the gym, it’s crucial to address injuries that persist. A sports medicine physician can help you. If you’re in pain and need the attention of a doctor in New York, click here to schedule an appointment with a Rothman Orthopaedics sports medicine physician today. 

Rothman Orthopaedic Institute’s Sports Medicine team is the leading provider of sports medicine orthopaedic care in the region. If you're in need of sports medicine attention in New York or the surrounding areas, visit us here. 

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