Dr. Furmanek Discusses Three Common Sports Injuries
Awareness of common sports injuries is the first step in learning how to prevent them.
Sports medicine surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Furmanek treats sports injuries for athletes at every level of ability. “Athletic activity is a great way to maintain fitness whether you are a young competitor or a weekend warrior,” he says. “With Minnesota athletes in the spotlight during the 2018 Winter Olympics, I think we are going to see fresh interest in competitive sports. All sports support an active lifestyle, and that’s terrific for our overall health.”
Of course, any activity that puts physical demands on the body will stress joints and tissues. This means that injuries can happen. “There are three general types of sports injuries I see that usually require surgical treatment,” explains Dr. Furmanek. “Understanding how these injuries happen and how they can be prevented may help athletes avoid them.”
The three most common sports injuries Dr. Furmanek treats
“As a sports medicine specialist with a focus on knee and shoulder injuries, I see three conditions most frequently,” says Dr. Furmanek.
- Meniscus cartilage injuries in the knee joint.
The meniscus refers to the two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage in your knee joint that act as “shock absorbers” between your thighbone and shinbone. This tough rubbery cartilage cushions the knee joint and keeps it stable. Meniscus tears are among the most common knee injuries. Athletes, particularly those who play contact sports, are at risk for meniscus tears. However, anyone at any age can tear a meniscus. When people talk about torn cartilage in the knee, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus.
- Rupture or tear injuries of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, runs diagonally in the middle of the knee. It keeps the tibia from sliding out in front of the femur and provides rotational stability in the knee. Alpine skiers and soccer, basketball, and football players are particularly at risk for ACL injuries because of the stress these sports place on the knees. “Ligament reconstruction is one of my specialties,” notes Dr. Furmanek. “It is rewarding to do because I’m usually treating young active people who want to get better. It’s always great to have successful surgical outcomes that help eager young athletes return safely to the sports they love.”
- Shoulder injuries involving the rotator cuff.
“The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles that come together to cover the head of the humerus,” explains Dr. Furmanek. “This cuff of muscles attaches the humerus bone to the shoulder blade and helps you lift and rotate your arm. When the rotator cuff tendons are injured or torn, your shoulder can become inflamed and painful. If an inflamed shoulder doesn’t improve in a few weeks, I encourage athletes to get a medical evaluation.”
What are the causes of sports injuries?
“Some of the sports injuries I treat are unavoidable, but most can be prevented,” says Dr. Furmanek. “Generally, athletic injuries are the result of one of the following causes:
- Poor training practices or poor form during sports activity.
- Overusing one part of the body without providing appropriate time for physical recovery.
- Absence of safety gear, or using improper gear.
- Lacking the physical conditioning a sport requires.
- Beginning sports activity without a warm-up or stretching.
“Proactive prevention is the best step an athlete can take to avoid the injuries I treat,” says Dr. Furmanek. “Wear the right gear, warm up before you play, commit to good training practices, and be aware of the common overuse injuries in your sport. But if there is an accident, or if you are experiencing persistent pain, it’s always better to get an evaluation earlier rather than later. At Summit, we are here to help. Our sports medicine specialists offer all of the resources you need to help you heal and return safely to your sport.”
Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive sports medicine expertise
From Olympians to pro athletes to kids in youth sports and those that just want to be more active—Summit Orthopedics delivers expert care by fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians. If you are recently injured or concerned about ongoing pain, Summit Orthopedics sports medicine specialists have the expertise to evaluate your discomfort and develop a plan to quickly and safely help you get back to being active.
Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, Plymouth, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as several additional community clinics.
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