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Sports Injuries

At St. Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists, our pain management doctors are experts in pain related to sports injuries. All of our pain doctors have had extensive training in diagnosing and treating acute and chronic sports injuries. The most common sports injuries that occur include:

  • Knee injuries

  • Ankle injuries or sprains

  • Muscle injuries or strains

  • Rotator cuff injuries

  • Shin splints or pain along the front of the shin

  • Tendon injuries

  • Ligament injuries

What type of pain can you experience with sports injuries?

  • Pain when touching injured area

  • Severe, rapid onset pain

  • Pain when touching injured area

  • Sudden and severe swelling

  • Weakness

  • Severe pain when attempting to move injured joint or muscle

  • Injured joint feels unstable or is "giving out"

  • Limited movement or no movement of injured joint

What should you do after a sports injury?

If left untreated, some injuries can become chronic problems. Chronic injuries are injuries that continue to cause pain and discomfort past the normal time needed to heal the injury. An injury is considered a chronic pain when the pain has been present constantly or "off and on" for more than 3 to 6 months. Our Saint Louis pain management specialists are trained in accurately identifying injuries and treating them appropriately before they become chronic pain. Our doctors are also highly skilled at treating chronic pain regardless of how long our patients have had their injuries.

  • Always consult a doctor that specializes in musculoskeletal injuries such as our pain management doctors.

  • Never attempt to "push through" the pain before thoroughly being evaluated by a pain management specialist.

How can our St. Louis pain doctors help diagnose your sports injury pain?

  • Thorough history and physical exam 

  • Xray imaging to look for fracture or dislocation

  • MRI to look for ligament, meniscus or tendon injury

What are your treatment options?

  • RICE

    • When more severe causes of sports injuries are ruled out, many injuries can improve on their own with RICE

    • R for 'rest'. Make sure to rest injured area and slowly introduce activity back. Sometimes it is necessary to keep weight off the area for a certain amount of time

    • I for 'ice'. Put ice on the area for 20-30 minutes at a time. Using ice the first 3 days after injury is crucial for decreasing swelling

    • C for 'compression'. Compress the area with a wrap or a splint to decrease the swelling

    • E for 'elevation. Elevate the injured area to reduce swelling

  • Steroid injections

    • Steroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that significantly decrease swelling​. It is important to reduce the swelling as soon as possible because swelling prevents the injury from healing.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

  • Anti-inflammatory skin creams and ointments 

  • Physical therapy

  • Splints, casts, braces or slings to prevent movement of the injured area until it can heal


What can you do to avoid or decrease sports injuries?

  • Improve your flexibility.

    • Studies have shown that increased flexibility can prevent many injuries

  • Stretch and warm up before exercising 

  • Cool down after rigorous activity

  • Always use proper technique when lifting heavy objects or performing repetitive activities

  • Wear appropriate fitting shoes

  • Gradually increase intensity of the activity

    • If you are used to running 2 miles, never suddenly increase to 10 miles without slowly working up to that goal over a certain period of time​

For more information or to discuss an appropriate treatment plan for your sport injury with one of our specialized pain management physicians, call Saint Louis Spine and Joint Pain Specialists today.

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