Doctor Helps Weekend Warriors Get Back on the Field

You're up to bat in your weekly Wednesday night softball league. You hit a line drive to left field. As the leftfielder charges to scoop up the ball, you decide to round first and try for a double. The throw comes into second base. With thoughts of glory you slide headfirst into second and crack! Your shoulder starts throbbing and you hope that your season is not over. How are you going make sure you can get back on the field?

Recreational athletes frequently encounter sore muscles and joints that prevent them from competing. As people are staying active in athletics and fitness much longer than in the past, more athletic injuries are occurring. Doctors, athletic trainers, and physicaltherapists are seeing more and more injuries in weekend warriors. “The best way to stay on the field is to avoid injury in the first place. Good conditioning is the first step. Proper technique is also very important, from properly throwing a softball to hitting a drive on the golf course,” says Dr. Michael S. George, an Orthopaedic Surgeon and specialist in athletic injuries of the shoulder and knee at KSF Orthopaedic Center. People can learn proper techniques by reading about that particular sport, or asking a coach or athletic trainer.

Physical fitness is continuing to become more and more important in this day and age. A former college football player, Dr. George encourages staying involved in sports and fitness. “Maintaining physical fitness is very important. Staying involved in athletic activities helps people stay in shape and contributes to a fun, healthy lifestyle.” He adds that good nutrition and a healthy diet are also important to contribute to overall health and well-being.

When muscles and joints are sore after sports activities, Dr. George recommends following the RICE principle, that is, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. If pain continues despite following these principles, then you may want to see a doctor. Occasionally, injuries may be so severe that they require surgery to fix them. “Minimally invasive surgical techniques allow athletes to recover faster and get back to their sport sooner” says Dr. George. New, so called “arthroscopic”, techniques are typically performed on an outpatient basis and avoid large, painful scars and slow rehabilitation. Dr. George did specialized training at the Vanderbilt University Sports Medicine Center in advanced arthroscopic shoulder and knee surgery. Newly developed arthroscopic procedures have substantially improved the treatment of shoulder and knee athletic injuries.

Recreational athletes can increase their longevity with good conditioning and nutrition. In addition, new surgical techniques make it possible to return to sports sooner and with less pain. With proper preventative measures and new minimally invasive treatments, athletes can continue to participate in sports for longer and longer.