When to See an Orthopaedic Surgeon For a Sports Injury

Cache Valley, Utah has so much to offer it’s community. There’s hiking, biking, swimming, camping, art fairs, rodeos, the list goes on. It’s fun to be active in the community and enjoy the amenities our wonderful community has to offer.

But some people, due to things they can’t control, might not have an easy time enjoying the activities. Some orthopaedic issues hinder us from doing what we love include sprains or strains, muscle aches, and arthritis. Dr. Keith, an orthopaedic surgeon at Alpine Orthopaedics, has been dealing with these kinds of musculoskeletal conditions for over 20 years. He’s prepared to help you get back to your action, whatever that may be. From knee replacement surgeries, to sports medicine injuries, he’s seen it all.

So when is it time to see an orthopaedic surgeon? Here are some simple questions to ask yourself to determine if seeing an orthopedic specialist can help you:

Is the injury or condition affecting my musculoskeletal system?

The musculoskeletal system is made up the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that create the foundation for the rest of your body. Often, people with musculoskeletal pain feel it over their entire body, but it tends to permeate from joints such as the knees, hips, shoulders, and feet.

The pain from these injuries of conditions will often worsen as they continue to be left untreated.

Does the injury or condition affect my ability to perform everyday activities?

Everyday activities such as getting out of bed, putting on clothes, or even going to the bathroom can be impeded by an orthopaedic condition or injury. Sometimes the pain is temporary due to overuse or strain, but if it is persistent and constant, it might be time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Keith.

Can I walk with stability and a large range of motion?

Joints are meant to move. If an injury is bad enough, it could make the muscles and joints too weak to stand. If you feel shaky and wobbly when performing basic large motor functions, this could be a sign that something is wrong with your joints.

You should also be able to move your joints within certain ranges. (See chart below)

Joint Movement Normal Range of Motion (°)
Elbow Flexion 0-140
Shoulder Flexion 0-165
Extension 0-60
Medial Rotation 0-70
Lateral Rotation 0-90
Abduction 0-180
Knee Flexion 0-145
Ankle Dorsiflexion 0-20
Plantar Flexion 0-50
Hip Flexion 0-120
Extension 0-20

If you are unable to move within this range, there could be something causing your joint to stay stiff.

Have I had any soft-tissue injuries in the last 24 hours that have not healed?

Soft-tissue injuries such as sprains and strains can be because of sudden trauma (falls, twist, or blows) or overuse injuries. Often applying the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method can help the injury heal effectively. If, however, after a period of 48-56 hours the pain and swelling have not improved, call Dr. Keith and ask for the earliest appointment available.

There could be other reasons you might seek out an orthopaedic surgeon for your sports injury, but these are just a few ways to determine if a sports medicine specialist is the right person for you. If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Keith, visit the Contact Us page and we’ll be in touch within one business day.