Sports medicine orthopedists specialize in bone and soft tissue injuries that are caused by sports activities. Many minor bumps and bruises that occur during play don't require an orthopedist's expertise, but they should be consulted on more significant injuries. The following are several times when you should see a sports medicine orthopedist about an injury.
You Can't Bear Weight
Any injury that can't bear weight should be evaluated by a sports medicine orthopedist. Not being able to walk or do a push-up indicates that an injury is more than a common bruise. While several issues could result in being unable to bear weight, the inability might be a sign that you have a broken bone or dislocated joint. An orthopedist can make a definitive diagnosis.
You Experience Tingling or Numbness
Tingling and numbness are both potential signs of nerve-related issues. Tingling that develops over a long period might be caused by a disease or condition, but any tingling or numbness that sets in immediately after an injury is more likely to be caused by that injury.
A sports medicine orthopedist or a neurologist can evaluate the exact cause of tingling or numbness that occurs after an injury. A sports medicine specialist will be able to reset a bone, provide a cast, or otherwise treat additional issues that major injuries can cause.
Your Pain Increases
Injury-caused pain generally progresses from worse to less, getting better with time. This is largely because the body tends to repair itself after being injured, and pain reduces as the body makes any appropriate repairs.
When pain gets worse, the increase in pain suggests that the body isn't able to address an injury by itself. A sports medicine orthopedist, who may be able to prescribe additional treatment that will promote healing, should be consulted.
You Can't Move a Joint
While joints can often be stiff and sore to move after injuries, they usually can move at least a little, unless there is a serious injury. A joint that's entirely immobile could be dislocated, or there may be a fragmented bone near it. In some cases, the nerves that tell nearby muscles to contract might be damaged.
A sports medicine orthopedist can evaluate any joint that's not moving to determine what the cause of the immobility is. They can evaluate major joints (e.g. shoulders, hips, knees and angles) and smaller joints (e.g. fingers' and toes' joints) that don't move.