Sports Medicine in Kirkland, WA
As a former collegiate athlete, Dr. Clinton understands the competitive nature of those participating in sports and the desire to return quickly and safely to activity. Unfortunately injuries will occur in the heat of competition. We are ready to help you prevent and recover from injuries of all types whether you are a world-class athlete, a recreational athlete or a weekend warrior.
Dr. Clinton is fellowship trained in sports medicine with extensive experience treating sports injuries. She applies the latest techniques including anatomic ACL reconstruction, cartilage transplants, and emphasizes meniscus preservation.
A special area of interest to Dr. Clinton is female sports injuries. Due to certain anatomical factors, female athletes are predisposed to injuries such as ACL tears. As a former athlete herself, Dr. Clinton understands the impact these injuries can have on athletes and is dedicated to developing individualized treatment plans.
This is evolving field in orthopedics. A great deal of research is being done on how we can use substances from our own bodies (like PRP and stem cells) to treat musculoskeletal injuries. There is still a great deal that we are learning and at this point, many treatments are still considered experimental, but research is ongoing. A few of the more common treatments in use currently are:
PRP or platelet rich plasma has been used to treat tendonitis, tendon tears and arthritis. It has been available for several years and is considered safe with minimal side effects. A small amount of blood is taken from a vein in your arm. This blood is then placed in a centrifuge and spun down to isolate the plasma. This is then injected into the area we are treating. PRP has been studied extensively and has showed more promise for treating some conditions than others. There has been a study that showed it is effective in treating pain from arthritis in the knee. Some studies have also shown success in treating some types of tendonitis. There is still more to learn, but this is an option for patients who would like to avoid surgery and have not had success with other treatments.
There is a lot in the news these days about stem cells. This is a broad and complicated topic. There are a number of different potential sources of stem cells. Some of these actually provide active stem cells and some do not. There have not, to date, been good controlled medical studies done on stem cells that show they reverse arthritis or cure other musculoskeletal disease. However, there is a great deal or research ongoing and it may be that over the next several years we are able to define ways in which stem cells are proven to be useful.
We can’t prevent all injuries, but there are things we can do to prevent some injuries. The things we know prevent injuries in all sports are: good warm-up, stretching and gradually increasing activities. People are prone to get hurt when they suddenly jump into a new sport or back into a sport or suddenly increase their mileage running. We also know that overall condition and strength is important. For example, hip strength is very important for optimal knee function. We also know proper biomechanics are extremely important. This has been shown extensively with ACL prevention programs.
ACL tears are common especially in female athletes. Multiple studies have shown that ACL tears can be prevented by doing an exercise program focusing on strength and biomechanics. By landing in a better position (knees more flexed) cutting and pivoting with better mechanics and improving hamstring and hip strength the rate of ACL tears can be reduced.
The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and attaches the calf muscle to the heel. It can tolerate high loads but is prone to rupture. Ruptures tend to occur with sudden explosive activity. They are most common in recreational athletes in their 30s-40s. The risk of injury can be reduced by properly warming up, gradually increasing activities and stretching adequately.
When the Achilles tendon tears people of often feel a pop. Many describe a feeling that they were hit in the back of the ankle with a stick. Tears are often obvious on physical exam but can be confirmed by MRI if needed. MRI can also give information regarding the exact level of the tear and tissue quality.
Achilles tears can be treated with or without surgery. Some studies show similar results. Patients who are trying to heal without surgery do best if they adhere to a specific rehabilitation protocol. With surgical repair, the risk of retear maybe lower and patients are often able to get back to work and weightbearing faster. Regardless of the treatment full recovery from an Achilles tear takes 6-12 months.
Pec Tendon Tears
Pec tendon tears are relatively uncommon and occur mostly in males. They occur most frequently with bench pressing, but can also occur during sports such as skiing, football and rugby. There is usually pain and bruising on the anterior chest and often there is a difference in the muscle contour of the anterior chest. Tears can be partial or complete. Complete pec tears are usually treated with surgery. A small incision is made and the tendon end is repaired back to the bone. A sling is then worn while the tendon heals and rehabilitation is started. It takes 4-6 months for healing.
The most common elbow injuries are usually overuse injuries and tendonitis or tendinopathy. Tendinopathy occurs when a tendon is slightly degenerative and the overuse causes pain. This can occur on the outside of the elbow (tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis) inside of the elbow (golfers elbow or medial epicondylitis) or center of the elbow (biceps tendonitis). Most patients will have their symptoms resolve with nonoperative treatment which includes physical therapy, bracing, activity modification and sometimes injections. If symptoms don’t improve surgery is an option.
There are other more traumatic injuries that occur such as biceps tendon ruptures and ligament tears. These often require surgery to return to prior level of function.