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Sports and Athletic Injuries

Today’s active population is continuing athletic activity into and beyond middle age.  As a result, they are developing injuries from trauma and overuse, or are manifesting symptoms of degenerative conditions that otherwise would remain quiescent for many years. The management of athletic populations is a special interest of ours, and discussions of training programs and stretching techniques are common in our office.  With increasing age, and the onset of early degenerative conditions, there is increased importance in proper athletic technique, in order to balance the applied loads between the cartilage and underlying bone, and the stabilizing muscles and ligaments. 

Athletic activity imparts wear and tear to the body’s structures.  This is equally the case after surgical reconstruction.  A patient’s ability to participate in sporting activity after surgery is directly related to their level of function at the time of surgery.  Musculoskeletal tissues strengthen or weaken depending on their consistent use.  Once an activity has been discontinued, the body undergoes atrophy.  With each passing month, the likelihood of returning to an activity at the previous level of intensity diminishes.

Athletic activity after joint reconstruction creates new risks.  The new surfaces of the joint can wear, the connection between the implant and the bone can be injured, or the implant can fail from mechanical fatigue.  For these reasons, high impact activities such as running or jogging are generally discouraged.  Cycling, swimming, golf, and leisurely doubles tennis are activities that can be consistent with implant longevity.