Sports Doctor (Sports Medicine) in Singapore

Sports medicine is a field that is constantly advancing and evolving. As we learn more about the body and how it works, treatment protocols and rehabilitation programs continue to improve.

At the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, our sports doctors strive to provide the best treatment to each and every patient. They aim to get you back to feeling your best.

But, What are Sports Doctors?

A sports doctor focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of athletic and sport injuries or disorders.

For example, if you injure your knee running or playing soccer, a sports doctor in Singapore can help you determine the best strategies to get you back to the activities you know and love.

Interestingly, Germany is considered the founding father of sports medicine. Following the return of the Olympics in 1896, Germany aimed to reduce sporting injuries. Thus, various sports medicine research and studies began.

The ‘German Federation of Physicians for the Promotion of Exercise’ marked the first organization associated with regulated sports medicine practices.

However, Germany wasn’t exactly the first to realize a link between exercise and health. Historians have found evidence of exercise being used for well-being much earlier. In the 5th century, Gladiators and Olympiads received therapeutic exercises to help improve their performance.

In terms of current day sports medicine, subsequent events didn’t happen overnight. In fact, it wasn’t until 1992 that sports medicine was recognized as a speciality in America.

Sports doctors in Singapore emerged in the 1970s, with the first clinic opening in 1971. Sports medicine was eventually recognized as a subspecialty in Singapore in 2011.

Since then, sports medicine continues to grow. Singapore offers some of the best sports doctors in the world, with the demand continuing to rise.

Science has proven it. Individuals see it in action. Exercise and physical activity have a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. In some ways, exercise is the closest thing we’ve got to a miracle drug to cure common ailments and improve one’s quality of life.

What Qualifications or Education Does a Sports Doctor Have?

Like any doctor, a sports doctor must complete a full graduate medical school program. To do so, the individual must first complete a Bachelor Degree. Upon acceptance into medical school, they must graduate and complete an exam to become a licensed doctor.

Afterward, they must complete a fellowship, specializing in orthopaedic care or sports medicine. It is a lengthy education and training endeavor that can take up to 7 years to complete. However, if the individual is passionate about sports medicine, it can prove to be a rewarding and ever-learning and growing career.

At the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, our team of sports doctors specialize in orthopaedic conditions, brain and spine disorders, and nerve pain. With years of experience under their belt, you can expect the best treatment and care available in Singapore.

What Conditions Do Sports Doctors in Singapore Treat?

Sports doctors in Singapore treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Shoulder Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Elbow Pain
  • Hand Pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Arthritis
  • And fractures.

Each of the above conditions are umbrella terms for a number of other conditions and injuries. Shoulder pain could include a rotator cuff tear, a frozen shoulder, or shoulder bursitis. Elbow pain may involve golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow injuries.

Sports doctors in Singapore are also involved in surgeries relating to your condition. At the Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, our doctors specialize in knee replacement surgeries, hip replacement surgeries, spinal laminectomy, neurosurgery, and more.

Your doctor will take you from step 1 of diagnosis through to the end of your rehabilitation treatment. Throughout the process, exercise is emphasized as a main treatment strategy and technique.

Common Conditions Treated by Sports Doctors in Singapore

As aforementioned, our sports doctors specialize in a variety of conditions. The most common conditions include the ones briefly explained below.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis occurs as we age. It is the most common type of arthritis and is often referred to as the ‘wear and tear’ arthritis. The cartilage at the end of the bones at your knee or hip joints (It can also impact other joints. However, these are the most common.) becomes worn down. In turn, painful bone-on-bone grinding occurs.

Osteoarthritis can make movement difficult. And it may significantly reduce one’s quality of life.

Frequently, exercise is used to strengthen around the affected joints, reducing pain and increasing mobility. In severe cases, the joint may need to be replaced.

At this stage, your sports doctor in Singapore will suggest surgery to replace the joint.

Exercise is used as treatment before and after your surgery. It helps strengthen the muscles and tissues around the joint, promoting your body’s healing mechanisms and recovery. Exercises also help your body regain proper gait patterns and movement.

Our sports doctors can also help with other forms of arthritis, as well as early forms of osteoarthritis. They can help you manage your pain through exercises and other pain management strategies, such as hot and cold therapy. The goal is to strengthen the affected areas, as well as improve or maintain mobility and range of motion of the affected joints.

Fractures

Fractures refer to a broken bone. It can be a complete break or a slight crack. Generally, fractures heal in 6-12 weeks.

Following the initial stages of recovery, rehabilitation in the form of exercise provided by and supervised by your sports doctor can help you return to normal functioning.

If the fracture is severe, surgery may be necessary. Luckily, sports doctors are often well-equipped to help you through this process. An open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery may have to be performed to realign the bones to promote proper healing.

Following surgery, exercises and manual therapy will help guide your post-surgery rehabilitation. The focus will be around strengthening the joints and muscles around the broken bone.

Sprains

Our sports doctors can help you recover from the common ligament sprain, such as an ankle sprain. A sprain is the stretching or tearing of the ligaments – the tissue that connects bone to bone. Symptoms may include swelling, pain, bruising, and limited range of motion.

Your sports doctor will prescribe exercises, including strengthening, stretching, and range of motion movements. They may also perform joint manipulations or manual therapy to help promote healing and increase mobility.

Strains

Muscular strains happen due to a sudden stretching or tearing of the muscle tissue. Like sprains, they can be painful and may limit function and movement.

In severe cases, surgery again may be recommended. However, most strain injuries significantly improve with exercise intervention. Further, exercise prevents future injury as it helps support and strengthen the weakened and affected area. Again, sports doctors are fully trained and equipped to provide you with the best care and treatment for your strain injury.

Other Conditions

Other common conditions include back injuries and pain, anterior cruciate ligament injuries, and rotator cuff injuries. Generally, sports doctors are experienced in most musculoskeletal injuries and conditions.

How Do I Get Started?

Your journey toward a life free of pain starts with a consultation. At Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Singapore Clinic, our sports doctors will perform a proper assessment, including recording your range of motion, strength, and pain levels, and inquiring into your past medical history. Expect for your initial consult to take about an hour.

From there, you and your doctor will determine a proper treatment plan and protocol, including exercises and manual therapy techniques. Treatment will frequently involved seeing your sports doctor at regular intervals to check-in and have any manual therapy techniques or procedures completed. If you have any concerns, we encourage our patients to ask questions at their appointment.

Call to book your appointment today! Start your recovery with the top sports doctors in Singapore and get back to living your best life.

Causes And Symptoms Of Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis in an inflammation of the bone, usually the bone marrow and the surrounding bone tissues due to an infection. It is a rare but extremely serious condition. Once infection occurs, the bone marrow will swell up and this will hinder blood from flowing properly. When this happens, the bone cells will not get sufficient oxygen from the blood and may lead to the bone dying. We will discuss about the causes and symptoms of Osteomyelitis in this article.

Causes

Bone inflammation is usually caused by a bacterial called Staphylococcus aureus. It is associated with open skin ulcers which can cause trauma to the tissues. However, our bone are extremely well protected by the skin and bacteria will not get to infect it usually. The bone is at risk when there is trauma to the bone or bones have been broken due to various reasons such as an accidental fall or sports injuries.  Patients who have undergone open surgery recently are also at risk as bacteria could have entered during the surgical process if hygiene standards were not strict enough. Patients who had artificial joint replacements are also at risk due to material incompatibility issues. Once infection happens, it spreads at an alarming rate to the nearby tissues.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary from each patient. Common symptoms include swelling and tenderness in the limbs, fever and pain. Symptoms will take a long time to develop. The usual areas which are infected first are the spinal vertebrae. Patients will often not realise that they have contracted Osteomyelitis. However, there is one unique characteristic in which the pain at the bones are unable to be relieved despite the use of oral painkillers or even heat packs. Sooner or later, pus will start to build up in the affected area and an abscess will form. Blood tests will also not be able to pick up the disease. Patients who feel the pain at their artificial joint will encounter prolonged nigging pain which will soon develop into a chronic infection.

Osteomyelitis takes a long time for symptoms to start surfacing and even so, symptoms are not easily distinguished from normal infection. Patients can be suffering from it for years before finally realising it. In mild cases, antibiotics will be prescribed and the recovery time is short. In severe cases, intravenous antibiotics will be required followed by drainage of the pus. If artificial joints are the ones responsible, they will have to be removed and new ones will have to replace it.

Prevention of Sports Injuries in Children

Keeping our kids safe and sound is the most important thing ever. However, we also need to help them realise their full potential in whatever they do and thus, we should not hinder them. As a result, we should learn how to prevent sports injuries in children in order to progress further. In order to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, sports are an integral part of their lives. With an increase in sports activities come an increase in injury risks and in this article, we will learn how some preventive measures against sports injuries in children.

Wearing safety equipment

Safety equipments are heavy and bulky and they can hinder movement. However, they are mandatory in most contact sports in order to protect the player. For example, helmets are a must while playing baseball and shin guards are compulsory for soccer. Not only are that, wearing the right size is crucial. Only when safety equipments are used correctly can they fully protect the user.

Ensuring that the playing surface is in good condition

The playing surface is very important in preventing injuries. There is a reason why football and rugby are played on soft turf and running events are done on rubberised surfaces. These soft surfaces help to absorb any shocks and impacts due to jumps and provide a soft cushioning when kids fall. However, if soccer is played on a field that has hardly much grass left, injuries risk are greatly increased. Children can easily suffer abrasions when they fall and can even twist their ankles when running at high speeds.

Ensure that kids have proper knowledge

You cannot expect a kid to know how to swim or play soccer without teaching them the basic skills. Therefore, you should always ensure that the children have had sufficient skills prior to letting them play own their own. This way, they can minimise the risk of injuries and still keep their body fit and healthy.

Warming up and cooling down is enforced

We all know the benefits of a proper warm up and cool down session. A warm up session helps to loosen the muscles and warm it up, allowing it to be more flexible and reduce the chance of injury. A cool down session reduces muscle stiffness, helps prep the muscles for repair and lowers the heart rate gradually. However, kids are not interested in spending time to perform warm ups and cool downs. Therefore, we must always strictly enforce it on them.

3 Reasons Why Physical Therapy is Important to a Sports Injury Recovery

Swelling, pain and loss of motion are common complaints following a sports injury. In order to regain post-injury levels, movement is extremely important. The experts in body movements are physical therapists who are trained to conduct specific exercises and stretches meant for aiding recovery to a specific part of the body. So, what are some reasons why physical therapy is important to a sports injury recovery?

Identification of deficiencies

Physical therapists are the ones who conduct each physical therapy session and they are trained to indentify deficiencies in the biomechanics of our body. Just by looking at how to body work will help them to know which part needs help. Therapists are also able to prescribe exercises which are helpful post surgery and help to ensure a fast recovery.

Increase range of motion

Post injury or surgery, the range of motion in that particular joint is extremely limited due to swelling and scarring. There will also be severe pain and the lack of ability to fully use the joint. As a result, exercises are required to be performed in order to overcome it. Physical therapy will help by ensuring a gradual increase in the intensity of exercises, helping to move your joints as much as possible without increasing much pain. It also helps to restore joint movements and strengthen the surrounding muscles.

Inhibit scar tissues formation

One of the side effects post surgery is the formation of scar tissues. However, scar tissues are undesirable due to various reasons such as cosmetic appearances, impediment of motion and as a source of discomfort. Scar tissues are usually darker in colour and their sizes depend on the depth of the wound. This can cause women to feel inferior and lose self confidence. Also, scar tissues are thicker and harder than normal tissues and this can impede motion especially if the scarring is at the joints. Being thicker and harder, it also presses down on other tissues, causing pain and lead to a higher chance of re-injury. Physical therapy starts early and this helps to reduce and inhibit the formation of scar tissues, lessening the chances of those effects mentioned above.

Physical therapy is an important part of the healing process. It actually starts before surgery and lasts all the way until around a year later. It helps to strengthen the muscles around the injury to help better support it and regain the range of motion after surgery.

5 Most Common Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are common injuries for athletes and they can affect every part of our musculoskeletal system. There are hundreds of sports injuries out there and some can have a serious impact on the future of the athlete’s career. Read on to find out which injuries are the most common ones suffered.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendinitis is an injury that occurs when the Achilles tendon which is located at the back of the ankle is overused. It occurs commonly in athletes who are involved in sporting activities that requires them to jump, hop or run for prolonged periods of time such as soccer, running and long jumping. Chronic Achilles Tendinitis can result in inflammation and serious pain which will result in the inability to run.

Concussion

Concussion happens when there is a direct impact to the head. This is most common in high impact sports such as rugby and soccer. Remember that incident where Petr Čech of Chelsea was knocked unconscious and had to undergo a skull fracture surgery? Concussion will result in vision disturbance and disorientation. In serious cases, they can be unconscious as seen in the case of Petr Čech. Recovery period of mild cases of concussion is often fast while serious cases can cause possible permanent damages.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament tears

One common knee injury is the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear. The ACL is one of the 4 major knee ligaments and it provides stability and even stresses distribution across the knee. During high impact and high speed sports, the ACL can be twisted and torn when a directional change is attempted. When a patient has a torn ACL, he will not be able to walk and will require crutches to move about. Recovery from ACL tears will take at least 6 months.

Groin strains

Groin strains occur when the adductor muscles located at the upper thigh is pulled and strained. It often happens when a sudden change in direction is attempted and the muscles have no time to respond, resulting in them being pulled. This is most common in high speed sports such as soccer, rugby, basketball and volleyball.

Shoulder injuries

Shoulder injuries include shoulder sprains, strains and dislocations. This is often seen in sports which require extensive usage of the shoulder such as swimming, badminton, volleyball and tennis. Due to overuse, the shoulder joint which is essentially a ball and socket joint becomes loose, resulting in the rotator cuff loosening. When this happens, it becomes weak and is prone to injuries and dislocations.

Preventing Sports Injuries: Stretching Exercises

Medical research has proven that an increase in the flexibility of a muscle unit increases performance and reduces the amount of injuries sustained. Basic stretching exercises include warming up and cooling down sessions. The main mechanism is due to the loosen tendons after stretching which is less prone to tears when used. Stretching also helps to reduce the recovery time in-between sessions and increases the biomechanical efficiency.

There are basically 3 main types of stretching namely static, ballistic and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Static stretching is the most common and the safest amongst the 3. Static stretching works by slowly pulling the muscles towards its maximum end range of motion for a duration of 15 seconds. This is done in a painless and controlled environment and during the stretching exercise no sudden jerks should be made. It is performed for usually for 3 sets and after which an increase in flexibility will be observed. Static stretching should also be performed after the exercise to aid in recovery. Studies have shown that stretching can help to dissipate the lactic acid build up in the muscles which are responsible for the soreness experienced post-exercise.

Ballistic stretching on the other hand uses the momentum of a moving body to stretch it beyond the normal range of motion. This is also known as bouncing stretching which pulls your muscles through exercises such as bouncing on a trampoline while stretching the back. Medical studies have concluded that this is not useful and can lead to injuries since it stretches your muscles suddenly instead of progressively as seen in static stretches.

Last but not least is the proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretch. It is the fastest and most effective stretching method that combines passive and isometric stretching to obtain maximum flexibility. PNF stretch was originally intended for recovering stroke victims. It works by passively stretching the muscles and then contracting it isometrically and repeating over and over again.

Stretching can be easily performed anywhere regardless of the activity you are about to perform. In fact, stretching should not be considered a warm up exercise. You should perform stretching even before you commence your warming up exercises. Always keep your stretches sport specific so that you work the correct muscle groups. Remember to always exercise caution when doing stretches and do not work muscle groups that are injured or it can be further aggravated.

Taking Care of Sports Injuries: Leg Fractures

Beneath our skin is the human skeletal system comprising of 206 bones working in tandem with soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons and cartilage to perform critical bodily functions such as movements and regulations. Making up the skeleton are bones and these bones can be fractured when a large enough external force is acted against it. Leg fractures are the condition whereby either the femur, fibula or tibia bones in the leg are broken. There are many possible causes for leg fractures and the main culprit is often overuse injury.  In this article, we will be discussing about how best to care for sports injuries such as leg fractures.

Splint

Splint is often the first treatment administered to patients with leg fractures. Many people mistaken splint as casts and it is important to be able to differentiate. Splints do not surround the entire fractured bone and is often only padded on one or two sides to provide protection and support. Splint helps to restrict unwanted movements which could further aggravate the fracture and due to its “open” nature, it allows swelling to happen. Doctors will usually apply a splint to the patient for a few days until the swelling has subsided and will then follow on with a immobilisation cast.

Casts

After the swelling has subsided, a cast can then be used. Casts are large, hard bandages made of plaster or lightweight fibreglass which completely immobilise the bone to accelerate healing. The internal padding is made up of comfortable cotton lining which helps to absorb perspiration.

Elevating the leg

Whenever possible, the patient should always try to elevate the injured leg to a position above the heart. This helps to reduce swelling and drain the fluids down and away. Elevating the leg also reduces pain and accelerates the healing process.

Keeping away from water

Utmost care should be taken to keep away from water during this period if it is made of plaster. Water will disintegrate the plaster and render it useless. The water can also react with the plaster and cause rashes to form on the skin.

Using walking aids

Before the bone has completely healed, you should not bear weight on it to prevent further injuries and hinder the recovery process. When you are moving around, you should always use a walking aid such as a crutch to assist you.

Leg fractures are troublesome injuries that have a significant impact on your daily life. However, with the proper care and treatment, recovery time should not take too long and you will not be far off the track.

Common Basketball Injuries

Basketball is an intensive sport that requires motion such as jumping, running, sudden twisting and leaping and thus, the chances of injuries are quite high. Research has concluded that the chances of a basketball injury is twice as high as compared to a baseball injury. Basketball involves the entire body from the arms, shoulders, wrists, waist, knee, ankles and feet. Basketball injuries are classified under overuse and traumatic and as their name suggest results from either constantly exposing a part to stress without providing sufficient rest and from sudden impact.

Hamstring strains

Basketball involves frequent sudden change in direction, especially when a counter attack is going on. During these sudden burst of speed, the hamstring muscle which is located at the back of our thigh will need to contract to decelerate the motion of the shin bone. As such, it is at a high risk of injury.

Hand and finger injuries

Basketball is played with the hands and the ball is usually passed at high speed. An incorrect receiving method could result in the fingers getting locked and twisted. During the shooting process, the fingers could be fractured if the shot is taken incorrectly or an attempt to prevent a block is made. During the dribbling process, sudden hand changing motion could injure the ligaments in the fingers and hand.

Ankle sprain

An ankle sprain is a common basketball injury and it occurs when the ankle is rolled. Ankle sprains can cause damages to the the anterior talofibular ligament and the calcaneofibular ligament. An ankle sprain can also lead to an ankle fracture and doctors will usually do an X-ray to determine whether it is a sprain or a fracture.

Knee ligament

As mentioned above, basketball involves sudden twisting motion throughout the game. During the twisting process, the foot is still firmly grounded on the floor and if it does not change direction with the knee, it can cause damages to the knee ligaments. When the foot is unable to change direction, it can cause rupturing of the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament.

Meniscus

A knee ligament injury is often accompanied by a meniscus injury. The purpose of the meniscus is to act as a cushioning between the bones and they will absorb the shock from the knee. A serious twisting injury can result in damages to the ACL and MCL as well as the meniscus. This will cause instability of the knee.

Overall, basketball is a fun but intensive game that is not meant for people of all ages and medical condition. People with weak knee should avoid the game or they will need to use protective gears. To prevent most of the injuries, protective gears such as a knee brace, finger sleeves and ankle guards could be used to compress and stabilise the area.

Possible Sports Injuries From Full Contact Martial Arts

Many people around the world participate in martial arts. There are 3 types of martial arts namely the light, medium and full contact martial arts and as the names suggest, each differs in the amount of body contact involved. Martial arts have many benefits to it, most prominently are the health benefits as well as the coordination between various parts of the body, body balance and flexibility. However, as with all kinds of full contact sports, there are injuries that are associated with it.

Facial Laceration

Facial lacerations are the most common injuries sustained from full contact martial arts. They account for nearly 50% of all injuries in martial arts. Martial arts is all about predicting what your opponent will do next and if you fail to react accordingly, it can cause trauma to parts of your body, commonly the face. The result of a full blown kick to the face can cause facial laceration.

Knee Tendinitis

During martial arts, tremendous stress is placed upon both of the knees and kicking is required throughout the whole session. As such, it can cause hypertension of the knee joint which will result to tendinitis. It can create strain to the back of the knees, patellar tendons and patella, causing pain and discomfort in players.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are also a common injury in martial arts due to the nature of uneven surfaces that the event take place. Most venues will place gym mattresses or other soft cushioning materials to absorb the impact of players. However, these soft and uneven surfaces can lead to improper weight distribution when kicking, causing sprains in the ankles.

Kneecap Dislocation

Kneecap dislocation is a serious injury that happens when the patella is shifted out of alignment with the knee. It is often caused by improper leg alignment or sudden kneeling motion, causing a sudden trauma to the knee.

Plantar Fasciitis

Whenever our feet is in use, the connective tissue or plantar fascia which supports the arch of our foot will tighten and stretch. However, it is prone to overuse if the incorrect footwear is worn. It is especially common in people with flat feet and who do not use the correct footwear with the correct support.

Martial arts have a low risk of injury as compared to other full contact sports such as rugby. Most of the injuries that are suffered are often minor such as bruises. However, more serious injuries can happen either due to trauma or due to improper usage of protective equipment or total lack of them. Upon injury, for personal well-being, it is highly recommended to pursue professional diagnosis for the injury. It should be regardless of perceived severity as most injuries do not reveal the actual impact until years later or when there is severe pain. If the martial artist is serious about his practice, then all injuries should be treated at earliest time possible.