Treatment of sports injury requires a specific approach for care. Sports injury occurs after trauma from an accident on a football field, or due to repetitive stress during endurance training. Patients are often very young as compared with the usual orthopaedic cohort of patients. Sports injury requires a specific and specialised approach to care. Surgery for sports injury is performed to stabilise joints, reduce pain, and to return a previously high functioning athlete to their usual pre-injury activities. In elite athletes, there is a desire to return to sport as rapidly as possible, especially in professional athletes.
Dr Liew in Adelaide performs surgery to regain function in a limb or joint, but will not put the long term health of a part of the body at risk, in order to hasten rehabilitation. This means that the desire to return to sport is overridden by the desire for long term success. The philosophy for Dr Chien-Wen Liew is that patients should undergo a rehabilitation regimen that is appropriate for their injury, with a return to sport once safe to do so. Earlier return to sports is always possible, but often puts the joint or bone at risk of longer term damage. Whilst the duration of a employment of a professional athlete is limited, the life of a joint or bone is not. It is with this philosophy that drives the most appropriate decision to be made for each patient.
Shoulder Sports Injury
SLAP tears, rotator cuff tears, and impingement are usual sports injuries of the shoulder in high level Tennis players and those partaking in throwing sports. The acromioclavicular joint is also often affected in professional cyclists as they fall onto the point of their shoulder. Dr Liew performs arthroscopic surgery for almost all cases of sports injury of the shoulder, using arthroscopic techniques to repair tendons and the labrum. Occasionally an open procedure is best performed for some sports injuries, such as subscapularis repairs.
Hip Sports Injury
Labral tears and femoroacetabular impingement are caused by a multitude of causes, and results in pain during running and in certain positions of the hip. There are a various methods to rectify this, including open approaches and arthroscopy. Dr Liew performs a combined open and arthroscopic technique for hip impingement and labral tears. He believes that this results in a more predictable repair, and reduces the time in surgery and possible complications. He utilises the Direct Anterior Approach where muscles are respected and do not need to be detached. A hip arthroscope is used during the procedure to address central defects.
Knee Sports Injury
Sports injuries of the knee are one of the most common types. The meniscus is often damaged during sports injuries and requires specific and targeted debridement to remove pain during exercise. Larger meniscal tears may require repair, especially in younger patients. This is a highly specialised technique, using tailor made instruments and requires an intimate knowledge of surrounding anatomy. A cruciate ligament reconstruction is a common sporting operation, that requires an arthroscopic technique to fix a donor ligament in place. Dr Liew utilises hamstring grafts in almost all cases, as the donor site morbidity is very low using this technique. For multi ligamentous knee injuries, Dr Liew uses multiple graft options, including artificial grafts and donor grafts.
Not all sporting injuries require operative repair/fixation. The decision to operate is not made lightly, and is only made after a thorough assessment and period of pre-habilitation. This may require a period of time with a physiotherapist prior to your operation.
To be assessed after your sporting injury, please contact Dr Liew’s Adelaide office on (08) 7325 4850.
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