With the return of outdoor sports, what you need to know to avoid injuries
Hunterdon Health Care orthopedic surgeon, knee specialist and sports medicine expert Dr. Robert More shares his top tips for avoiding some of the most common summer sports injuries.
The hot weather has finally arrived – and with it the increased risk of knee or shoulder injuries from summer sporting activities.
According to Robert More, MD, chairman of surgery at Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington and managing partner and head of sports medicine at MidJersey Orthopedics (which has offices in Flemington, Bridgewater and Washington), the past year has been anything but. normal.
“Last summer youth sports were shut down due to the pandemic, so we saw almost no injured young athletes in our office,” said Dr More, who also has a long-standing relationship. date with athletic trainers at area schools and gyms. as coaches of local club teams. “A number of adults who were housed on site purchased indoor bikes and we saw many overuse injuries among adult recreational athletes. This summer, however, youth sports are back in full force and participants are giving it their all; they’ve gone from minimal activity to a ton of activity and now we’re seeing a lot of injuries in young athletes who were out of shape and are now compensating,” he said.
“Among the throwing and aerial sports, which include baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis and pickleball, we see injuries such as tendinitis, bursitis, excessive inflammation and general pain in the shoulders and elbows in people who gamble excessively,” Dr More said. . “We also see high school and college baseball players stretching and/or tearing their ulnar collateral ligament from too many pitches in a short period of time,” he noted of a condition that may require surgery by Tommy John.
“Five years ago we were referring these patients to University Hospitals in New York or Philadelphia, but now we have the training and the technology to treat them right here at our hospital,” said Dr. More, who performed with success with a number of these surgeries. “We can now treat them locally with good results.”
Among running-related sports, including athletics, soccer, and jogging/running, “many athletes accelerated too quickly and went from nothing to competing and running high mileage” , did he declare. “As a result, we are seeing cases of knee and foot tendinitis, excessive inflammation of the growth plates, and knee and ankle sprains from over-activity. We are trying to recall these athletes and have them combine strength, cross-training and flexibility activities so they don’t just run every day.
Among his top tips, Dr. More recommends young and adult recreational athletes avoid overdoing sports.
“In addition to stretching regularly, you need to mix things up by incorporating other exercises such as swimming, cycling, and strength training to avoid muscle and tendon strain,” he says. “You want to avoid doing the same things every day and summer is the perfect time to take advantage of all the opportunities to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.” Plus, he said, “make sure you get enough rest and recovery time — even professional athletes take a day or two off a week to give their bodies a full break — stay well hydrated and maintain a healthy diet that limits ingredients known to cause inflammation, such as grains/gluten and refined sugars.
For those experiencing an injury, “We are now able to perform an exciting new procedure for the knee called ‘Matrix-Induced Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation’ or MACI, which is showing excellent results,” said Dr More. . “Previously, there was no effective way to replace or heal cartilage damage on the surface of the bone and these could later turn into degenerative knee problems. However, we can now take cartilage cells from the corner of the knee, grow and multiply them in the lab, place them on a matrix and re-implant them into the knee to replace the cartilage defects,” he said. “We’ve done a number of these procedures locally and the results have been very good.”
Overall, Dr. More encourages athletes to be kind to their bodies. “While we are all grateful that the pandemic is behind us, it is important that athletes do not overdo it in their activities,” he advised. “But in the event of a knee or shoulder injury, our team will be there to get you back into action.”
For more information:
MidJersey Orthopedics, affiliated with the Hunterdon Healthcare system, is located at 8100 Westcott Drive in Flemington and can be reached at 908-782-0600 or by visiting midjerseyortho.com.