How are sports injuries diagnosed?
Some sports injuries are more easily diagnosed than others. More simple cases such as dislocations, cuts and grazes are diagnosed through seeing or feeling the injury. Cases that are more difficult, such as soft tissue damage, fractures and overuse injuries require an examination. The specialist will examine these the complex ones using X-rays, CT or MRI scans. The doctor will also ask questions about the patient’s medical history to identify any underlying issues. The patient may be referred to a specialist for a correct diagnosis.
What are the most common sports injuries?
The most common sports injuries are:
- Ankle sprain
- Groin pull
- Hamstring strain
- Shin splints
- Knee injuries such as ACL tear and Patellofemoral syndrome
- Tennis elbow
How are sports injuries tested?
There are many different methods and tools used by sports medicine specialists to test for injuries. Shoulder (rotator cuff) injuries are best identified by observing and feeling the shoulder joint by using different movements. Injuries usually leave movement limited, therefore pain as a result of a range of movements can diagnose a specific type of injury. Strength tests can also identify any weakness in the joint.
With cartilage tears in the knee, the doctor will apply pressure to see if there is any tenderness above or surrounding the cartilage. The knee may also be flexed and the doctor will listen out for a clicking or popping noise as the knee bends. This is known as the McMurray’s test and is performed when the patient is lying down. Ege’s test involves the patient squatting so that the specialist can check for a popping or clicking noise as the knee bends.
There are several tests that are used to detect a ligament tear or strain in the knee. These include the Lachman test, the anterior draw test and the dial test. Most of these tests involve applying pressure to the knee joint and moving and bending the knee. The extent of the injury is usually determined by the movement or positioning of other parts of the legs and the location of the pain.
What are the different types of diagnostic testing?
Diagnostic testing helps doctors to understand specific sports injuries. These tests include X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound and MRI scans.