Fact vs. Myth: When It’s Time to See the Doctor for a Sports Injury

Brian Grawe, MD
University of Cincinnati Academic Medical Center

Summer will soon be upon us, which means that warm weather and sunny skies will likely inspire many people across the country to get outside, become more active, and ultimately cause a spike in injury pattern across all Sports Medicine Physician offices.  Unfortunately, there are many medical myths that surround the subjective of what constitutes a serious sports injury, rest assured the American Orthopaedic Society of Sports Medicine (AOSSM) can help separate fact from fiction with just a few simple tips. 

Younger athletes, those in grade school and high school, are often taught the adage ‘No pain, no gain’, truthfully exercise and sports participation should be painless for younger athletes.  While some soreness some stiffness can be normal, it is time to see a doctor when persistent swelling occurs, symptoms of pain continue during rest or sleeping, and when the pain is sharp and activity limiting.  Another good reason to come see a Sports Medicine Specialist is for chronic injuries that have not yet been given a diagnosis.  Far too often athletes will write things off as ‘sprains’, ‘strains’, ‘tweaks’, or ‘jams’.  This behavior can be dangerous, and could even lead to permanent impairment.  Think of it this way: if you don’t know what is going on, you won’t know how to get it better. 

Team competition can be fun and exciting; however, it is definitely time to see a doctor when an injury or medical condition may add risk to other teammates or competitors.  Most commonly these are conditions that are communicable (medical problems that can be spread from person to person contact), and include unexplained rashes or skin infections, fevers greater than 101°F, or persistent vomiting.  Please check the AOSSM to find a local Sports Medicine Specialist near you to keep you healthy and active all summer long.