Athletics

Welcome to Ask the Docs presented by Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

Ask the Docs

Patient Question:
I'm a 40-something who still enjoys playing competitive basketball. In my advancing years, should I be worried about any increased health risks from playing this demanding sport?

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Dr. Gregory P. Nicholson:
To answer your question with a question, how do your joints feel? If you're not experiencing any significant joint swelling or pain, by all means keep at it. Basketball is a great sport for not only cardiovascular health, but for muscular health as well. That being said, the sport can take its toll on your lower extremities.

If your knees and ankles are starting to give you consistent trouble, then you may want to think about switching to a "low impact" sport. At your age, it's also important to have a physical examination every year to make sure you're in top playing condition

Treatment Options:
To help stay healthy on the court, try to maintain your conditioning throughout the year. Many injuries occur when your body is out of shape and your mind isn't cognizant of your lack of conditioning. Warm up and stretch before play and following long breaks in the action. Invest in good basketball shoes with proper support and shock absorption, and many types of ankle and knee braces are very helpful. Finally, play within yourself and understand your physical limitations. Good luck and good health!

For more information about Dr. Nicholson and the sports medicine physicians of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush visit www.rushortho.com or call 877-MD-BONES (877-632-6637).

The information contained on this page is intended only for general public education, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for direct medical advice. This information should not replace necessary medical consultations with a qualified orthopedic physician.


Patient Question:
I recently read about a basketball player who underwent some type of blood platelet therapy to help his injury heal faster. How does that work? Are there any side effects?

Dr. Cole

Dr. Brian Cole:
You're describing Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy, or PRP for short. This innovative new treatment is increasingly being used to treat muscle and ligament injuries in top-tier athletes. Platelets are a natural source of growth factors, which helps catalyze growth of new soft-tissue or bone cells.

Using the patient's own blood, Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy involves separating platelets from red blood cells using a centrifuge. The concentrated, platelet rich blood is then injected back into the patient's body at the site of an injury. By injecting this super concentrated dose of the patient's platelets into the location of the injury, we can reduce pain more quickly and initiate a healing response quicker than the body would on its own.

The procedure has virtually no side effects, and early results are encouraging (so much so that at Rush we're expanding our research into PRP). We see no potential downside effects, yet remain cautiously optimistic that this might prove to be a successful adjunct to these often nagging injuries.

For more information about Dr. Cole and the sports medicine physicians of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, call 877 MD BONES or contact us through this Web site.

The information contained on this page is intended only for general public education, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for direct medical advice. This information should not replace necessary medical consultations with a qualified orthopaedic physician.


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Bunion Surgery I had bunion surgery 11 years ago on my right foot and now I think I need it on my left foot. When I had surgery, I was in a cast and had a pin in my foot. Has the surgery progressed since then? Are there any other options? Can a cortisone shot help? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Big Toe Replacement I am a 30-year-old basketball player who plays professionally in Europe. Some time ago I had bunion surgery outside of the United States, which produced a poor result. Two screws were place through the joint which ultimately damaged my cartilage.

I am considering partial joint replacement of my big toe. Do you think it will be possible to return to play professionally after this procedure? My body heals pretty well but I have not seen an example of an athlete who had partial joint replacement in the big toe and was able to resume their career. For a detailed answer and treament options, click here now.

Sensitive Feet The tops of both of my feet are extremely sensitive to any kind of touch or pressure. I am not experiencing any swelling or significant pain, however. Also, I am unable to recall any specific injury or event when the condition started, but I've been experiencing it for a really long time. For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Big Toe Arthritis I recently went to a Podiatrist for treatment of what I thought was a bunion only to find out that I have Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus. Is surgery the only treatment option for these conditions? Before making any decisions, I want to make sure that I'm exploring every available option. For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now.

Skiers Thumb I recently injured my thumb playing basketball when another player bent it back severely while attempting to block my shot. It's been a week now and it still hurts anytime I catch it on something like a door or my pockets. Should I see a doctor? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Rotator Cuff Tear I believe that I have a rotator cuff injury. Are there degrees of rotator cuff tears? If so, do they all require surgery for repair? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Knee Pain My 13 year old son has been diagnosed with OCD of the patella, although I am very confused as to what this means. There appears to be a hole in his cartilage and he is in a great deal of pain. He is a top athlete, and I'm worried for him that this means he is done with sports. What treatment options are available to him? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Treating Shin Splints My 14-year-old daughter runs cross-country and has developed shin splints. What do you recommend for a course of treatment? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Adhesive Tendonitis Over the past few months my shoulder has really been bothering me during my golf swing. I'm an avid golfer and I participate in a women's golf league every week. After I play, my shoulder seems to be stiff. Have I torn something? What do you recommend for a course of treatment? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Ankle Sprains As a soccer coach, I've noticed that ankle injuries are somewhat common with my players. How can you tell the severity of a sprain? Also, can you offer any tips for healing and prevention of ankle sprains? What do you recommend for a course of treatment? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Hamstring Strain About four weeks ago I fell while going up for a jump shot and have experienced pain at the conjunction of my right leg and butt. My physical therapist thinks that I have a hamstring strain. I'm trying to rest it, and I can ride a bike and walk, but I cannot run or play basketball. I've been doing some strengthening and stretching exercises but it still really hurts to sit or stand up after sitting for a prolonged period of time. Do you have any advice that could aid in my healing process? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Hip Pointer Last week while playing in a pickup soccer game, I ran into another player and injured my hip. Now my hip is tender and painful when I walk and is hampering my conditioning. Could this be serious? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Rotator Cuff Tendonitis When I play tennis and raise my arms over my head to hit an overhead shot, I'm having pain in my shoulder. What could be causing this pain? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Replacing Athletic Footwear How often should I replace my running shoes? Everyone I talk to has a different opinion, especially shoe salespeople. I'm interested in hearing a physician's perspective. For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Lower Back Pain For several months I have been experiencing a deep tissue pain that starts in the upper part of my right glute and is accompanied by pain in my lower back. I cannot remember any specific incident that caused this injury. I take Ibuprofen for the pain, but the condition keeps resurfacing and is now limiting my training. Could this be serious? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Hydration and Cramping I am an active person who works out about four to five times a week. I try and eat a balanced diet and drink enough water. Over the past month I have experienced an increasing amount of cramps while working out. I've tried drinking more water, but that is not helping. Sometimes the cramps are so severe I must discontinue activity, and they even wake me up at night. Is there anything else that I can do to prevent these cramps? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

Achilles Pain What type of shoes should a person with a semi-repaired Achilles avulsion wear for everyday use and for exercise walking and hiking? For a detailed answer and treatment options, click here now

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