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Sports Injuries in New Jersey

Both professional and amateur athletes push their bodies to the limit. Even with the best possible training and conditioning, sports injuries do occur. Located in Totowa and Lafayette Township in New Jersey, Performance Rehabilitation offers physical therapy for when injuries occur. We also offer motion capture running and ACL prevention screenings and baseline concussion testing and treatment utilizing digital cameras, force plates, and motion capture technology.

Understanding Sports Injuries

Sports injuries, trauma and accidents cause some of the most significant damage to the muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and bones of the body. In many cases, athletes put themselves in positions that result in excessive twisting and straining of the legs, arms, neck, back and other areas of the body. Ligament tears, contusions, muscle strains, concussions and other injuries may happen as a result. Athletes are training younger, harder, and longer than ever before. This increased stress to the musculoskeletal system places the athlete at risk. Ironic given the importance of proper training to prevent injury. Young athletes are incorrectly being trained and pushed beyond their physiological limits. Overspecialization and commitment to just one sport is creating an epidemic of injuries in young athletes typically reserved for the mature athlete (Tommy John elbow surgeries are now being performed in Little League players!).

What are the Common Kinds of Sports Injuries?

Because contact sports are popular, concussion happens quite frequently. Even in sports that do not require contact, a concussion can occur as a result of a fall or other type of collision. Performance Rehabilitation offers concussion testing to diagnose the type and extent of your concussion.

When to See a Doctor About Your Sports Injury

Due to the nature of sports injuries, you should seek immediate medical attention when you are injured. A medical evaluation at Performance Rehabilitation ensures that proper healing starts immediately, thereby avoiding future limitations to your range of motion.

Self-Care for Sports Injuries

After your medical evaluation, we may recommend at-home care for your sports injury. You may need to rest and avoid sports for a period of time. We may also recommend RICE therapy:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Tennis Elbow

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a term used to describe a painful condition clinically called lateral epicondylitis. It is the result of overusing forearm and hand. You do not have to be a tennis player to develop the condition, but the term came into being because many tennis players are affected by it.

In tennis elbow, the wrist extensor tendons become inflamed and painful. These tendons connect the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. Although only 1% to 3% of the population develops tennis elbow, almost half of tennis players are affected by it at some point during their careers. However, fewer than 5% of all tennis elbow cases involve an actual tennis player.

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a repetitive motion and muscle strain injury caused by the repeated contraction of forearm muscles that help straighten and lift your wrist and hand. These repetitive motions stress tissue, resulting in a number of small tears of the tendons attaching to the forearm muscles. Very often faulty elbow joint mechanics lead to stress to the musculotendinous junction or lateral epicondyle in the forearm.

What are the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

The signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain over the elbow that can travel up or down the arm
  • Wrist weakness
  • Outside elbow tenderness
  • Pain when the arm is lifted or bent
  • Pain when lifting, carrying, and gripping
  • Difficulty fully extending the forearm
  • Pain and discomfort that may last as little as three weeks or several years when left untreated

Golfer’s Elbow

What is Golfer’s Elbow?

The forearm houses several muscles that help flex the fingers and wrist. The tendons associated with these muscles merge in a common sheath originating from the medial epicondyle of the humerus at the elbow joint. This area can become inflamed due to a minor injury or sometimes for no obvious cause. Golfer’s elbow is a medical condition causing pain to the inner portion of the elbow where forearm tendons meet the inside of the elbow. This pain can spread to the wrist and forearm.

What Causes Golfer’s Elbow?

Golfer’s elbow is caused by damage to the muscles and tendons that control the fingers and wrists. This type of injury is usually due to repetitive stress, particularly forceful finger and wrist motions. Hitting, throwing, improper lifting, and not warming up prior to physical activity can also lead to golfer’s elbow.

Runner’s Knee or Jumper’s Knee

What is Runner’s Knee?

Any athlete can develop patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFS) that is caused by frequent bending of their knees while jumping, biking or walking. However, most individuals call this condition runner’s knee or jumper’s knee because it often affects athletes who run daily. This condition’s first symptom is an aching pain that is centralized around the kneecap.

The reason for pain near the kneecap is because the stress of running causes irritation near the patella where it rests upon the thighbone. Individuals with runner’s knee feel dull and chronic or sharp and sudden pain that may disappear while running, but reappear when standing still.

A therapist may notice biomechanical issues in an athlete’s knees that cause runner’s knee, but the primary reason for the condition is tight hamstrings or poorly conditioned quadriceps. When hamstrings are inflexible, there is additional pressure on the knees while weak quadriceps are unable to support the kneecaps adequately. One of the best ways to avoid runner’s knee or treat a current condition is by stretching and strengthening muscles in the lower body before running.  Faulty patella mechanics and abnormal tracking can perpetuate PFS and manual techniques that include taping to facilitate better proprioceptive control work well in helping to correct this disorder.

What Causes Runner’s Knee?

The term runner’s knee includes several conditions instead of one particular type of injury. The causes of runner’s knee include:

  • Muscle imbalance or weak thigh muscles
  • Abnormalities of the feet
  • Misalignment
  • Trauma injury
  • Overstretched tendons
  • Overuse

ITB Syndrome

What is an IT Band?

An iliotibial (IT) band is a thick, fibrous band of tissue that runs down the outside of the leg from the hip to the shin bone and under the kneecap. It is similar to a stripe running down the side of the leg. A muscle in the hip area connects the band’s two ends together, which can be seen on many lean walkers or runners.

The function of this band is to keep the upper and lower parts of the leg stable when bending the knee. It works alongside other muscles on the inner part of the thigh to prevent the knee from buckling with each step.

What is ITB Syndrome?

ITB syndrome or IT Band syndrome is a type of repetitive motion injury involving the tightening of the band, often due to excessive side-to-side hip rocking (as noted with cycling). When the band tightens, every step can increase the tightness of the knee joint, rubbing against the outer portion of the knee.

What Causes ITB Syndrome?

ITB syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band and the bursa underneath it undergo excessive friction due to repetitive knee bending. Decelerating while running downhill may cause this excessive friction. Although direct trauma to the outer knee may lead to bursa inflammation, this is considered to be an overuse injury.
ITB syndrome can be caused by one or more of the following:

  • Excessive up and downhill running
  • Improper warming up or cooling down
  • Running up and down stairs
  • Uneven leg lengths
  • Tightness around the iliotibial band or bowlegs
  • Weakened hip abductor muscles
  • Hiking long distances
  • High or low arches

Patella Femoral Syndrome

What is Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome?

Patella femoral pain syndrome refers to the pain that occurs in the front of the knees. Individuals who most frequently experience this pain are teenagers, athletes, and manual laborers. One of the reasons it occurs is because the cartilage found under the patella begins to wear down, soften, or get rough.

What are the Symptoms of Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome?

When a person experiences patella femoral pain syndrome, one of the most common symptoms he or she experiences is pain in the front of one or both knees. This aching, dull pain usually begins gradually and is related to a particular activity. Some other symptoms that people commonly experience include:

  • Pain after climbing stairs, jumping, squatting, or doing other types of activity that require bending the knee
  • Pain while flying on an airplane, sitting in a theater, or doing other things that require the knees to be bent for long periods of time
  • Hearing cracking or popping sounds in the knee after exercise or after sitting for a long time.
  • Pain in the knee that relates to a change in equipment, playing surface, or the intensity level of an activity

Weightlifter’s Shoulder

What is Weightlifter’s Shoulder?

The scapula, humerus, and clavicle are the three bones that make up the shoulder. As they work together, they provide the widest range of motion of any of the other joints in the body.

When a person has what is known as weightlifter’s shoulder, he or she experiences pain because tiny fractures have occurred along the collarbone or clavicle. This overuse injury causes pain and inflammation as the fractures begin to deteriorate, and the bone becomes eroded. This condition is also referred to as acromioclavicular (AC) joint osteolysis or distal clavicle (DC) osteolysis.

What are the Causes of Weightlifter’s Shoulder?

Tiny fractures in the distal end of the collarbone can begin to form because of repetitive trauma or stress that is related to lifting and training. When a person does chest fly exercises or bench presses, excessive traction on the AC joint can occur as the elbows go behind and below the body, overextending the shoulders. When the body does not have a chance to heal between training sessions, the bones can begin to dissolve.

In some cases, weightlifter’s shoulder can occur without any known trauma. However, a history of an acute injury on the AC joint or repetitive trauma or stress to the shoulder joints is usually the cause. Intensive lifting (especially too much bench pressing, chest flys, and overhead shoulder presses) and heavy manual labor (using an air hammer)are some of the activities that can lead to weightlifter’s shoulder.

Without proper evaluation and treatment, sports injuries can significantly impact your capacity to participate in your favorite activities. Contact us to schedule a personal consultation with one of our physical therapists at Performance Rehabilitation, located in Totowa and Lafayette Township in New Jersey, and we will get you back on your feet!