What is Arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy (also known as arthroscopic surgery) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure in which an examination and sometimes treatment of damage of the interior of a joint is performed using an arthroscopy, a type of endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopic procedures can be performed either to evaluate or to treat an array of orthopedic conditions including torn floating cartilage, torn surface cartilage, ACL reconstruction and trimming damaged cartilage.
The advantage of arthroscopy over traditional open surgery is that the joint does not have to be opened up fully. Instead, only two small incisions are made – one for the arthroscope and one for the surgical instruments to be used in the knee cavity to fully remove the knee cap. This reduces recovery time and may increase the rate of surgical success due to less trauma to the connective tissue. It is especially useful for professional athletes, who frequently injure knee joints and require fast healing time. There is also less scarring, because of the smaller incisions. Irrigation fluid is used to distend the joint and make a surgical space. Sometimes this fluid leaks into the surrounding soft tissue causing extravasations and edema.
The surgical instruments used are smaller than traditional instruments. Surgeons view the joint area on a video monitor, and can diagnose and repair torn joint tissue, such as ligaments and menisci or cartilage.
Arthroscopy is used for joints of the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, foot, and hip.
What are Sports Injuries?
Sports injuries are injuries that occur to athletes in major sporting events. In many cases, these types of injuries are due to overuse of a part of the body when participating in a certain activity. For example, runner’s knee is a painful condition generally associated with running, while tennis elbow is a form of repetitive stress injury at the elbow, although it does not often occur with tennis players. Other types of injuries can be caused by a hard contact with something. This can often cause a broken bone or torn ligament or tendon.
Injuries are a common occurrence in professional sports and most teams have a staff of Athletic Trainers and close connections to the medical community. Controversy has arisen at times when teams have made decisions that could threaten a players long-term health for short term gain.
Sports injuries can be broadly classified as either traumatic or overuse injuries. Traumatic injuries account for most injuries in contact sports such as Football, Cricket, Tennis, Rugby, Australian rules football, Gaelic football and American football because of the dynamic and high collision nature of these sports. These injuries range from bruises and muscle strains, to fractures and head injury.
A bruise or contusion is damage to small blood vessels which causes bleeding within the tissues. A muscle strain is a small tear of muscle fibers and a ligament sprain is a small tear of ligament tissue. The body’s response to these sports injuries is the same in the initial five day period immediately following the traumatic incident – inflammation.
Inflammation is characterized by pain, localized swelling, heat, redness and a loss of function.
All of these traumatic injuries cause damage to the cells that make up the soft tissues. The dead and damaged cells release chemicals, which initiate an inflammatory response. Small blood vessels are damaged and opened up, producing bleeding within the tissue. In the body’s normal reaction, a small blood clot is formed in order to stop this bleeding and from this clot special cells (called fibroblasts) begin the healing process by laying down scar tissue.
The inflammatory stage is therefore the first phase of healing. However, too much of an inflammatory response in the early stage can mean that the healing process takes longer and a return to activity is delayed. The sports injury treatments are intended to minimize the inflammatory phase of an injury, so that the overall healing process is accelerated.