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.

About Tendonitis in Children

Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendons which results in severe pain and hindrances to mobility. The tendons are thick bands of tissues that connects the bones to the muscles. The chances of children contracting tendonitis is increasing nowadays due to the increased in activity level amongst them. Due to an emphasis on leading a healthier lifestyle, more kids are getting involved in sports.

Tendonitis is an overuse injury and the symptoms differ among patients. Initially, pain will only be experienced during involvement in sports. Gradually, it will start to pop up at random timings of the day. Eventually, pain will be felt even at rest and this will affect the different joints in the body. Tendonitis may also lead to instability in the knee due to the tendons loosening. Some patients may hear clicking sounds when they are flexing their knees.  Another contributing factor is growth spurts or enthesis. This is a genetic issue that is not caused by overuse of the tendons. When a child is born with enthesis, there is no way to prevent or control him from getting tendonitis. The area that is most prone to tendon inflammation is the largest tendon in the body – the Achilles tendon.

Other reasons causing inflammation in the tendons may be due to excessive calcium intake causing calcium to deposit at the tendon sites. Improper warm ups and cool downs will also increase the risk of injuring the tendon. Obesity is also a contributing factor due to the need for the tendon to bear extra weight.

There are many common symptoms and these include experiencing pain at the joints accompanied by swelling and tenderness. The affected area will also be stiff and mobility is limited.  The surrounding muscles may feel weak and sore to the touch.

Treatment methods will differ amongst patients but the most common ones are the usage of ice packs, gel cooling packs and hot packs to soothe and relieve muscles. In cases that are slightly more serious, doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin. In severe cases, surgery may be required to replace the tendon with a graft.

Tendonitis can be prevented through proper warm ups and cooling down sessions before and after engaging in sport activities. However for kids with growth spurts, it cannot be prevented. A healthy lifestyle must be maintained but not at the expense of suffering an injury during the course of keeping fit.

Sports Hernia – Signs and Symptoms

Sports hernia is a widely used term mainly for describing pain that is experienced in the lower abdominal region. It is a soft tissue injury to the groin area that is painful. Athletes usually injure the hernia due to sudden changes in direction during high impact sports which require lots of twisting movements. Quite simply, a sports hernia injury is a tear of either the muscle, ligament or tendon at the abdomen or groin region. As mentioned above due to its widely used nature, medical practitioners prefer using the name “athletic pubalgia” to describe this injury.

Signs

There are many widespread theories as to how a sports hernia is formed. However, the most common one is due to overuse of the muscles in the abdominal and groin region, causing it to tear after some time. This can be accelerated if sudden and quick movements are involved such as twisting and turning. In fact, some people tear the muscles during sit-ups, resulting in the inability to lift their body up.

Symptoms

Sports hernia will result in severe pain at the groin region once the injury is sustained. The pain will go away slightly after a period of rest but will resurface immediately during sports activities again. It will get more serious if the activity requires twisting movements. Unlike inguinal hernia, athletic pubalgia does not cause bulging to occur in the groin. However, athletic pubalgia can develop into an inguinal hernia over time as the abdominal organs press against the weakened tissues and cause a bulge to develop.

In order to diagnose sports hernia more accurately, a thorough physical examination is required. A trained and experienced doctor will invert the scrotum and place his little finger in each of the inguinal rings. In positive cases, the ring will be dilated on the injured side. Further diagnostic tests such as MRI, CT scan and Ultrasound will also be carried out. However, a proper diagnosis is still a difficult and tedious task due to the extreme similarity between sports hernia and a groin pull. Diagnosis will often be the case of trial and error and elimination based on the descriptions provided by the patient. Diagnostic tools are only able to help better eliminate the possibility of other injuries being present.

The usage of protective sports gear may help to prevent the chances of one getting sports hernia and another effective way is through strengthening of the abdominal muscles so that they can provide better support to the area.

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.

Patellar Dislocation: Causes and Prevention

Patellar or kneecap dislocations are injuries that occur with significant regularity, especially in young and active teens. Most injuries occur laterally and are accompanied by severe pain and swelling. The immediate remedial action following a patellar dislocation is to relocate the kneecap back to the trochlear groove. This is often performed without you even knowing it as it automatically pops in when u straighten you leg.

Patellar dislocations can happen for various reasons, ranging from contact to non-contact scenarios. An athlete involved in impact or contact sports can suffer from it due to a sudden change in direction, causing a twisting action on the kneecap and a subsequent dislocation. This is classified as non-contact since it does not involve a third party. One of the pre-requisites for this to happen is the existence of a weak knee ligament to hold the knee properly in place. Another method is a direct impact onto the knee, causing a much more serious injury. This will cause the surrounding muscles and tissues to be damaged rather heavily as well.

Patellar dislocations can be prevented by performing simple strengthening exercises. Strong knee muscles can help to significantly reduce the recovery time, experience lesser pain and be at a lower risk of injuries. There are 4 main muscle groups in the knee that should be targeted and they are the front thigh muscles, back thigh muscles, buttock muscles and lower leg muscles. The front thigh muscles or quadriceps muscles straighten your leg whenever they contract and they help to ensure that your patellar is in the proper position at the thigh bone. It also works hand in hand with the hamstring muscles. The back thigh muscles which are the hamstring muscles help in knee flexion, extension, transfer of energy and forward propulsion. Strong hamstring muscles can help to perform all these roles much more effectively and prevent injuries. The buttock muscles or gluteal muscles help to bend and flex the hip joint to allow us to perform actions such as walking, jumping and running with ease. A weak gluteal muscle will result in the inability to provide the explosive power and lead to a higher risk of injuries. Last but not least are the lower leg muscles or the calf muscles. It runs from the back of the leg all the way until the ankle. Strong calf muscles help to lift the feet up with minimal effort and support the knees and hips. Since the entire body weight is acting on the calf muscles, weak ones will cause the knee and hip muscles to have to take over this role and increase the risk of injuries.

Patellar dislocations are nasty injuries that will cause a lot of discomfort and disrupt to daily activities. Studies have shown that the risk of recurrent dislocations is high once a patellar dislocation occurs and this will result in problems if you wish to continue playing sports.

Top 4 Most Injury Prone Activities for Youths

The period of youth is perhaps the most important part of our lives. Our body starts to mature and we have much more energy than before. We are also more motivated and have a higher desire to try new things, especially athletic activities. However, it is also during our youth that we suffer most injuries and due to that, many of us are unable to participate in competitive sports in the future. There are some activities which are especially prone to injuries and let’s take a look at some of them in this article.

Basketball

Basketball is a competitive high impact activity that is extremely popular with people of all ages. However, a large number of youth requires emergency response because of playing hoops. Common injuries associated with basketball include tears of the anterior cruciate ligament, responsible for the stabilisation of the knee. Being a high impact sport, basketball requires frequent sudden changes in direction and the ACL can tear if the foot is still fixed in a direction and the knee moves in another, causing the ligament to tear.

Skateboarding

Skateboarding is classified as an extreme sports and it is not termed like that for no reason. Skateboarding is an extremely dangerous sport that involves frequent falls from different heights on different parts of the body. Although protective gears such as skate shoes, helmets, knee and elbow padding are strongly recommended, many skateboarders ignore those as they find it not so cool.

Cheerleading

Cheerleading is a popular sporting activity that involves a lot of tossing, flips and catching. All of these motion uses the arms heavily and this is very taxing on the joints and shoulder blade. As such, the risk of injury is very high. An incorrect flipping technique can potentially cause further injury to the spinal cord.

Rugby

Rugby is an intensive and exciting full contact sport that is one of the most dangerous activity out there. Shoulder charging, take downs and sudden twisting actions are common throughout the game. Also, studs on the rugby boots are much longer and thicker than soccer boots in order to provide better grip. However, these studs can sink deep into the mud and during sudden twisting actions will cause the foot to be firmly planted in the ground while the knee changes directions, tearing the ACL, MCL and meniscus.

Discussed above are 4 most injury prone activities for youth. In fact, most activities out there carries a certain risk to them but these risk can be mitigated by wearing protective equipment which aims to prevent injury but this is not foolproof. Injuries are inevitable at some point in time but which the correct preventive measures in place, the risk is significantly lowered.

 

5 Common Injuries Suffered by Dancers

Dancing is a physical activity that is accompanied with a certain level or risk. Dancing is something that needs to be gradually built up from scratch and one cannot simply jump into it expecting to do something they have never tried. Proper warm up and stretching as well as cooling down exercises will need to be performed religiously before and after every session. Injuries can be career threatening to any dancer and it is important to take precautions to prevent them from happening.

Meniscus Knee Tear

Dancing requires a lot of jumping and knee twisting actions accompanied by sudden direction changes. This will place a lot of stresses on the knee, particularly the ligaments and meniscus. A tear in the knee meniscus is one of the most frequent injuries experienced by dancers and it can put you out of action for up to 6 months depending on the severity. It is important to strengthen the leg muscles particularly the knee, thigh and calf to help reduce the burden on the knee.

Ankle sprains

A proper ankle connection is important in dancing. Ankle sprains occur when upon landing from a jump, the outside of the ankle rolls inwards due to a loss of balance. This will cause the ligaments in the ankle to tear. Ankle sprains are painful and will hinder you in many aspects of your daily life. You will be out of action for up to a month.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendonitis is tendonitis of the Achilles tendon and it occurs due to muscle overuse after repeatedly acting pressure on the calf muscle. It happens most frequently in dancers who place a lot of their weight on the lower body.

Neck strain

Neck strain is a common injury and it happens so frequently because dancers have to move their head throughout a dance and many of them control it incorrectly. Instead of using the spine when they arch their neck, they use the tendons, overusing them.

Muscle cramps

Dance practices and rehearsals can sometimes take a long time and start from early in the morning till late at night. As a result, they are easy victims to muscle cramps due to fatigue and a lack of required electrolytes to replace the ones they lost throughout the day. Sometimes it can happen due to improper warm up exercises.

Dancing is a very physical demanding activity and the risk of injuries is high. New dancers will need to start slow while experienced dancers cannot be complacent and skip the basic warm up and cooling down exercises. Dancers will also need to ensure that they replace their lost fluid to prevent muscle cramps.