Sports Medicine

Your treatment and recovery options

Whether you're a competitive athlete or just want to enjoy healthy activities, Novant Health can help. Our sports medicine physicians, providers and specialists are experts in nonsurgical treatments, surgical procedures and physical and occupational therapy.

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Common Sports-Related Injuries

According to the CDC, approximately 3.8 million people sustain a concussion each year. If you're an athlete participating in contact sports, you're particularly at risk. Trauma occurs when a blow to the head causes your brain to hit the inside of your skull. This produces bruising and can lead to concussion symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue and difficulty concentrating. 

If you think you have a concussion, see one of our head injury specialists to assess the severity of your injury. Concussion treatment typically involves rest and over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen. While healing, you should limit activities that require mental concentration.

Symptoms of a concussion headache usually improve within 5-7 days. You can resume nonstrenuous activities once you start feeling better. However, overexerting yourself could slow your recovery.

Sports Concussion Treatment

A sprain occurs when you stretch or tear ligaments. Ankle sprains are the most common, but you can suffer a sprain in various parts of your body. You may experience swelling, bruising and difficulty moving the injured area.

A strain usually involves muscles or tendons. In this case, the affected area tends to be sore, swollen, discolored, weak and painful to move.

If you move certain muscles and joints in a repetitive motion, you can end up with what's called an overuse injury. Areas typically prone to injury are your elbow, wrist, knee, ankle or your shoulder's rotator cuff.   

Learn About Shoulder Injuries

Fractures are among the most common sports injuries. Issues range from stress fractures caused by overuse to severe compound fractures. Your orthopedic surgeon at Novant Health will determine the severity of the fracture and discuss your treatment options. They may take X-rays or do an MRI to assess the damage.

If you have a stress fracture, meaning there's a crack in the bone, you may be able to avoid surgery through rest and pain medication. But if the injury is more serious, like a bone separation, you'll most likely need surgery to repair the damage.

Our orthopedic specialists are specifically trained to handle all types of bone injuries and will set you up with a rehabilitation plan to get you back to your life.

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An injury to your shoulder, hip, knee or elbow joint can occur during intense exercise or from an unexpected twist or fall. If you have persistent pain, this could be a sign you're overusing the joint.

Treating mild joint injuries usually involves the RICE method — rest, ice, compression and elevation. A support brace or cast can also stabilize the affected area. If the damage is more severe, your provider may recommend surgery. A Novant Health sports medicine physician or specialist will evaluate your condition and work with you to develop a treatment plan that's right for you.   

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Why Choose Novant Health

Your sports or exercise-related injury can often be treated without surgery. Visit a Novant Health sports medicine clinic near you. We offer nonsurgical care options for conditions like concussions, sprains, muscle strains, bursitis and tendonitis.

Our sports medicine specialists will assess your condition. Together, you'll discuss treatment options and recovery and prevention goals.

Nonsurgical treatments include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Joint injections
  • Pain medication
  • Braces and casts
  • Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment

More serious injuries and certain joint conditions may require surgery. A minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure could be an option if you have a broken bone, torn ligaments or joint damage.

Our team may take X-rays and perform diagnostic tests. Your orthopedic sports medicine surgeon will then discuss treatment options with you and together you’ll work on a recovery plan.

When you're recovering from an injury or surgery, your care team will often include physical therapy as part of your treatment plan. With guidance from a Novant Health physical therapist, you'll develop a regimen of targeted exercises specifically designed to increase your strength and flexibility. Your therapist will demonstrate the exercises and teach you how to avoid overexertion and reduce the risk of reinjury.

The occupational therapists at Novant Health can help you adjust your habits after an injury. For example, if you have a concussion, bone fracture, arthritis or nerve damage, your provider may recommend occupational therapy to regain your independence.

Occupational therapy techniques can help you relearn how to move and perform daily activities. This might involve manual therapy, support braces for stabilization or improving your motor skills. The goal is to get you back to your lifestyle.


What if I suffer an injury?

If you're not in a lot of pain, don't assume your injury is minor and will simply disappear. You should get checked out to rule out an underlying issue. Minor injuries can usually be treated at home. Self-management techniques include over-the-counter pain medications, heat or ice, support braces and rest.

When should I see a specialist?

Always seek medical care if you suspect you have a concussion or a painful injury like a fracture or torn ligaments. If your condition doesn't improve within several days or the pain intensifies, talk to our sports medicine specialists. They'll give you an assessment and help you plan a course of action.


What is nonoperative sports medicine?

Nonoperative sports medicine refers to any orthopedic treatment that doesn't involve surgery. Nonsurgical sports medicine providers treat a wide range of sports and exercise-related injuries such as concussions, tendonitis, fractures, sprains and nerve compression.

When to see a nonoperative specialist

You'll find a number of sports medicine specialists at Novant Health who can diagnose and treat your sports or exercise-related injury. If sudden or chronic pain keeps you from your everyday lifestyle, schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic experts and get back to doing what you love.

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Explore Our Sports Medicine Guide.

Our guide to sports medicine is an invaluable resource for athletes of all levels. Find common questions about sports injuries, treatment options, recovery methods and reinjury prevention.

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