Push through the pain or avoid making it worse?
From professional athletes to weekend warriors, this is a question almost everyone faces at some point. It’s not easy for people who aren’t medically trained to determine how to treat their injury.
Athletes face added pressure to push through the pain and support their team. Nobody wants to spend months nursing an injury.
Unfortunately for those looking for a quick fix, there really isn’t one when it comes to orthopedic injuries. Listening to your body, and not ignoring pain when it occurs, is essential.
Is it a good idea for kids to focus on one sport year-round, or cross-train with different seasonal sports?
What sport leads to the most injuries?
Is physical therapy worth the effort?
In this episode, Dr. G and his guests, Ryan Sullivan, MD, and Matthew Schmitz, MD, discuss the answers to those questions and more.
- Ryan Sullivan, MD, FAAOS - Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Hip & Knee Replacement/Revision Specialist, Edward-Elmhurst Orthopedic Medical Group.
- Matthew Schmitz, MD, FAAOS, FAOA, FAAP - Board-Certified Orthopedic Surgeon, Chairman of the Department of Orthopedics, San Antonio Military Medical Center and Team Physician, US National Rugby Team.
Myths vs. Facts
“It cannot be broken because I can move it.” – Myth
You can easily move your hand or wrist and it can still be broken.
“Applying a compression bandage to a severely sprained ankle is adequate treatment.” – Myth
Someone with a severely sprained ankle would probably have difficulty walking on it. The bandage will help with swelling but you’re going to have a hard time bearing weight. It’s an important part of the treatment, but not adequate when used alone.
“Being strong will prevent injury.” – Myth
The strongest people in the world can still get injured.
“Rest is the best medicine.” – Myth
Rest is good, but sometimes motion is better. Especially with some muscle and tendon injuries, moving in a controlled manner can be better than keeping it stiff.
“It is okay to play through pain.” – Myth
It’s okay to play through soreness, but don’t ignore pain.
“Orthopedic medicine is just for athletes.” – Myth
Orthopedics deals with every age from birth to elderly, and all sorts of injuries.
“Feeling a “pop” is a bad sign.” – Fact, if that pop is associated with pain.
If you have popping in your knuckles or in your joints, that’s fine.
“Glucosamine rebuilds damaged knee cartilage.” – Myth
There are high-quality studies that show it doesn’t have an effect. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has evidence-based guidelines that strongly recommend against taking glucosamine chondroitin for cartilage damage from arthritis. It won’t hurt you, but it won’t rebuild cartilage.
“My child has a high tolerance for pain.” – Myth
Listen to your child. If they’re complaining about discomfort, don’t try to push them through it. Kids don’t have ulterior motives. If they’re hurting, parents should keep them out of sports and let them rest.
“Running is bad for knees and other joints.” – Myth
There are some studies that show running and stresses across the joint can protect cartilage, and that weight-bearing activities promote bone health.
“A person should work out every day.” – Fact
Movement is important, but it’s also personal. Whether it’s walking, sports or doing yoga, stay active however you want to do it, just do it.
“Creatine helps strained muscles.” – Myth
There are some studies that suggest creatine can help build some muscle, but it’s not going to help your strained muscle.
“Applying heat will increase circulation in the area and help with healing.” – Gray Area
After acute injuries, ice helps decrease inflammation. Start with ice and transition to heat after the acute inflammation is over.
Listener healthy OH-YEAH!
“My Oh-Yeah! moment came today as I celebrated 6 months of sobriety. The team at Edward-Elmhurst really dived into my issues and supported me. I can't believe how good I feel... Oh-Yeah!” – M.M.