Sports Medicine


Sports Medicine

Athletes challenge and push their bodies more than most others. Without proper care and attention, athletes often sustain physical injuries, mobility issues, and spinal problems that limit their ability to perform and affect their overall quality of life. Dr. Ephraim Dickinson, one of the incredibly talented orthopedic surgeons at Post Street Surgery Center, works with amateur and professional athletes to develop sports injury prevention protocols and treat spinal injuries.

Common Sports Injuries Include:

  • Lower back pain and sciatica
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Ruptured and herniated discs
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal fractures
  • Cervical spinal injuries
  • Temporary paralysis
  • and other injuries related to the musculoskeletal system.

Spinal Fractures

A spinal fracture is a complete or partial break in a vertebral bone, i.e., the bones making up the spinal column. When a vertebral bone breaks, the bone spurs can pinch or damage the surrounding nerves, leading to sharp and painful sensations. As such, spinal fractures necessitate immediate treatment to protect the spinal cord from damage or inflammation.

Spinal fractures can happen due to sudden impact or severe falls during sports. The symptoms include numbness, weakness, pain, tingling sensations, temporary paralysis of the arms and limbs, loss of mobility, and limited sensation. The therapy or treatment depends on the extent of the fracture or injury, with severe injuries necessitating surgeries.

Spondylosis (Stress Fractures)

Vertebral fractures don’t occur simply because of impact or fall but also because of excessive weight or stress. Excessive pressure can cause tiny cracks to form on the spine, which, over time, can widen and lead to severe fractures, necessitating immediate spinal treatment. The symptoms include bruising, pain, and swelling.

A vertebral stress fracture can happen due to weightlifting, gymnastics, and other activities that involve sustained stress on the lower back. The injuries should be treated immediately because the cracks if left untreated, will widen and cause severe complications. Stress fractures are common amongst children and adolescents.

High-Risk Sports Include:

  • Horseback riding
  • Football
  • Hand gliding
  • Wrestling
  • Hockey
  • Golf
  • Snowboarding
  • Skiing
  • Volleyball
  • Biking
  • Gymnastics
  • Rock climbing
  • Diving
  • Snowmobiling
  • Ski jumping
  • and other sports involving heavy exertion

Herniated Disc

Intervertebral discs are the soft cushions between the vertebrae. They absorb the shock of movements, allowing the vertebrae to move effectively without friction. Their anatomy consists of a hard outer shell with soft inner components. However, constant twisting and turning actions during sports, such as tennis, can damage the intervertebral discs.

A herniated disc occurs when excessive pressure and stress make the soft inner components (nucleus) push through the cracks on the hard shell (annulus). The nucleus may eventually pinch or compress the surrounding nerves, leading to nerve compression and inflammation, which sends sharp pain signals to the brain. It necessitates immediate attention.

Burners & Stingers

Burners and stingers are neck injuries caused by an impact to the head, wherein the head moves in one direction while the shoulder moves in the other direction. This makes the cervical nerves stretch beyond their usual capacity, leading to sharp radiating pains in the arms. The symptoms include shock-like sensations that come and go, lasting several seconds or minutes.

Burners and stingers are common amongst athletes engaging in contact sports, such as wrestling and football. In fact, wrestling takedowns and football tackles are the most common causes of burners. If the athlete experiences an electric shock sensation, they need immediate attention. Conservative care is usually enough to treat burners.

Treatment for Sports Injuries

Our orthopedic surgeons believe in comprehensive and conservative care. They use the latest and most advanced diagnostic tools and techniques, such as CT scans and MRIs, to visualize the damage caused to your spine. Based on their diagnosis, they curate conservative treatment plans to help you restore optimal spinal health. They only recommend surgeries if conservative treatments fail or in cases of severe injuries.

Please schedule an appointment at Post Street Surgery Center, San Francisco, to discuss your sports medicine options.

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