Active Living

From youth through adulthood, Indiana University Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine keeps you living an active lifestyle.

Select an area of the body to learn more.

Head

For athletes who compete in contact and collision sports, concussions are a common injury. Evidence-based research is changing the way we diagnose, treat and manage concussions. It used to be common for a patient to return to activity as soon as symptoms cleared. Today that is not the case.

Concussion Definition & Symptoms

A concussion occurs when the brain is "concussed" inside the skull, experiencing direct impact or a whiplash motion. Concussions are widely underreported because it is a common belief they are strictly a result of becoming unconscious. When in fact, a patient suffering from a concussion may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Delayed verbal/motor response
  • Confusion/difficulty concentrating
  • Disorientation
  • Slurred or incoherent speech
  • Incoordination
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Inability to remember recent or past events
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Sensitivity to loud noises
  • Fogginess

Concussion Treatment & Recovery

Concussion treatment has advanced significantly in the past few years, creating longer recovery times and additional testing standards. Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) is now required by law for all Indiana high school athletes. This standardized test is used as a baseline measurement tool prior to play, allowing physicians to better understand brain function if injured. It is often the deciding factor in whether a patient is ready to return to play or not.

Shoulder

We treat a wide range of shoulder injuries, ranging from a torn rotator cuff to labral tears.

Torn Rotator Cuff Definition & Symptoms

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles working together to stabilize and move the shoulder joint. Sports that involve extensive shoulder rotation (tennis, baseball, swimming, kayaking) put these muscles under stress and can lead to damage. A torn rotator cuff is classified as any disruption to the connection between the tendon, muscle and bone. Patients suffering from a torn rotator cuff may experience loss in range of motion, shoulder pain and weakness.

Torn Rotator Cuff Treatment & Recovery

A torn rotator cuff can be treated through surgical or nonsurgical options. Nonsurgical options focus on pain relief and increasing function while avoiding the complications of surgery. On the downside, nonsurgical options will not repair the torn tendon. Surgical options rebuild this tendon, speed up the recovery process and provide faster pain relief. Our team has extensive experience in repairing these types of injuries. Upon recovery, a patient's return to activity is largely dependent on the severity of the original tear. The physician will determine this timeline through tests and rehabilitation that focus on decreasing the risk of injuring the shoulder again.

Labral Tear Definition & Symptoms

The labrum is a thick tissue in the shoulder that forms a cup for the humerus bone to move within. Labral tears can range from slight to severe depending on the location and depth of the tear. Symptoms include pain with certain activities, catching of the shoulder during movement, or an aching sensation in the shoulder.

Labral Tear Treatment & Recovery

Most labral tears do not require surgery, but instead a specialized rehabilitation program. Our team takes pride in knowing every labral tear gets the attention and therapy it deserves.

Shoulder Joint Pain Definition & Symptoms

Shoulder joint pain is often the result of osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. This condition causes "wear and tear" to your joint cartilage after many years of constant motion and pressure. If the cartilage becomes too worn, it may become inflamed, causing severe pain and a decreased range of motion.

Shoulder Joint Pain Treatment & Recovery

At IU Health we offer both surgical and non-surgical treatment options to relieve shoulder pain, depending on the severity of your condition. Non-surgical treatments may include medication, physical therapy or lifestyle changes. You may be a shoulder replacement candidate if your shoulder pain is affecting your quality of life, making it difficult for you to do normal activities. Shoulder replacement replaces the damaged parts of the shoulder, to recreate natural, comfortable movement. After surgery, you will go through physical therapy to help you regain fluid motion in your shoulder and get you back to as close to normal as possible.

Shoulder Joint Pain Jack's Patient Story

Back

For patients living an active lifestyle, it's common to experience occasional back pain caused by a back strain.

Back Strain Definition & Symptoms

A back strain is the result of a muscle strain, which is caused by the abnormal stretching and tearing of muscle fibers. Because back muscles consist of a large group of very small muscles, they are more susceptible to tear. These tears cause patients to experience difficulty standing, sitting and lying down.

Back Strain Treatment & Recovery

Treatment for back strains involves a multi-phase exercise rotation. Early treatment should focus on decreasing pain, minimizing swelling and relieving the muscle spasms. As the muscle spasms end, it is important to help align the new tissue to its original position in the direction of the muscle fibers. The final stage of exercises is designed to help the patient rebuild strength in preparation for return to activity. In most cases, a patient can return to activity when they regain pain-free, full range of motion in all back muscle areas.

Elbow

We are experienced in treating a wide range of elbow conditions such as tennis elbow and ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear.

Tennis Elbow Definition & Symptoms

Tennis elbow, also known as Extensor Teniopathy, is caused by damage to the small group of muscles that originate just above the elbow and are used to extend the wrist. Any overuse of the wrist can cause deterioration of these tendons, resulting in pain in this area. The term "tennis elbow" is commonly used because this condition is worsened when a racket is placed in the hand – putting additional forces on the wrist and elbow. In addition, specific repeated motions performed while playing tennis also cause stress to these tendons.

Tennis Elbow Treatment & Recovery

As a soft tissue injury, tennis elbow is treated with a few basic practices that focus on controlling pain and inflammation first, and then working to restore mobility and flexibility. Upon returning to play, it is important for patients to complete training and drills to increase the strength of these damaged tendons. Our team is dedicated to helping patients with tennis elbow avoid becoming injured again.

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Tear Definition & Symptoms

In the elbow, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is crucial for stability. Because of this central role, the UCL is very important for activities involving a throwing motion, primarily seen in baseball. A UCL tear is often the result of repetitive throwing and overhead motions, which can cause insistent pain and instability.

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Tear Treatment & Recovery

At IU Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, many UCL tear patients are treated with a rigorous rehabilitation program for approximately three to six months. In more severe cases, involving acute tears or chronic instability, surgery is recommended to repair the UCL. We take a custom approach to treatment based on patient condition to ensure a full recovery is made.

Wrist/Hand

We have expertise in treating a wide range of wrist and hand injuries including sprained wrist and Bennett's fracture.

Sprained Wrist Definition & Symptoms

A sprained wrist is a fairly common injury that is often the result of a fall on an outstretched hand. The wrist is made up of several tiny bones and ligaments that give the joint its strength and flexibility. A wrist sprain is simply an injury to the ligaments. A patient suffering from a sprained wrist may experience mild swelling and discomfort during movement.

Sprained Wrist Treatment & Recovery

Treatment for a sprained wrist is similar to treatment for other ligament injuries. Immediate steps are taken to reduce pain and swelling, followed by exercises to rebuild strength in the ligament. Our team engages patients in a thorough rehabilitation process to be sure the patient is fully recovered before returning to activity. This is crucial in making sure the patient doesn't injure the wrist again and cause further damage.

Bennett's Fracture Definition & Symptoms

Bennett's fracture is named after Edward Hallaran Bennett who was the first to recognize the significance of this injury in 1882. A Bennett's fracture is a fracture of the joint between the hand's metacarpal bones and the wrist bone. It is most common at the base of the thumb and often occurs in contact sports like rugby, boxing and football. A patient with this fracture will experience pain and swelling near the base of the thumb.

Bennett's Fracture Treatment & Recovery

There are several treatment options for a Bennett's fracture – ranging from a cast treatment to surgery, depending on the severity of the injury. We evaluate each Bennett's fracture patient individually to determine the best path for treatment. Our extensive experience in treating Bennett's fractures allows us to provide the highest level of care possible. The length of time required before a patient can return to activity is largely reliant upon the severity of the injury and which hand was injured. By injuring the non-dominant hand, it may be possible to begin activity again wearing a padded cast or splint.

Hip

IU Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine treats a wide range of hip conditions including hip arthritis – a common condition among aging adults.

Hip Arthritis Definition & Symptoms

Just like other joints that carry body weight, the hips are at risk for osteoarthritis or "wear and tear" arthritis. This is a result of the cartilage being worn away from the ends of the bones, resulting in friction and causing pain. At first this pain may feel like stiffness in the groin, buttock or thigh and can be relieved with rest. As time goes on and the cartilage continues to wear, the pain will become more intense and cannot be relieved with rest. Eventually it will become very painful to move.

Hip Arthritis Treatment & Recovery

Treatment for early stages of hip osteoarthritis includes nonsurgical activities such as rest, exercise and pain relief medications. Patients in the later stages of osteoarthritis may be candidates for a total hip replacement surgery. Whether the pain is constant or only present in acute flairs, treatment is available for every stage.

Learn more about Joint Replacement

Knee

Our team has the expertise to treat a wide range of knee conditions including ACL tear, meniscus tear and cartilage defects.

ACL Tear Definition & Symptoms

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the four important ligaments connecting the bones in the knee. The ACL helps control the way the knee moves by providing stability and alignment. An ACL tear is simply a tear in this ligament. At the time of injury, a patient suffering from an ACL tear will often hear a distinct pop followed by significant swelling. The knee will also feel unstable and even wobbly.

ACL Tear Treatment & Recovery

Our team has extensive experience treating ACL tears. This depth of experience has allowed the team to become experts in ACL reconstruction surgery and rehabilitation. IU Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine takes a collaborative approach to ACL tears, allowing patients to get back to activity faster.

ACL Tear Josh's Patient Story

Meniscus Tear Definition & Symptoms

Menisci are wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage in the knee that have several functions including shock absorption, stability, lubrication and nutrition. A meniscus tear is any tear in this cartilage, also known as a cartilage tear. Often times, a meniscus tear is accompanied by other knee injuries or tears to other nearby ligaments. Some patients suffering from a meniscus tear will feel a popping sensation, followed by pain along the joint line, swelling, weakness, and locking or catching in the knee.

Meniscus Tear Treatment & Recovery

We are proud to offer many minimally invasive treatments for meniscus tears. Treatment plans often include surgery in order to restore the full function of the meniscus. The recovery time needed before a patient can return to activity depends on the severity of the meniscus injury.

Cartilage Defects Definition & Symptoms

It is a common misconception that cartilage defects are the same as osteoarthritis. It is important to know they are very different. Just as the name suggests, a cartilage defect is a group of cartilage that is damaged by trauma, osteonecrosis (loss of blood supply in the bone) or osteochondritis (defects in the bone's surface).

Cartilage Defects Treatment & Recovery

Cartilage defects are treated very differently than arthritis. IU Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine is keenly aware of the differences and the importance of making the correct diagnosis. Initial cartilage defect treatment may include medication, physical therapy and injections. If pain still exists, surgery to repair, replace or regrow the cartilage may be necessary.

Ankle/Foot

Our team is experienced in treating a wide range of ankle and foot conditions, including ankle sprain, ankle fracture and Lisfranc fracture.

Ankle Sprain Definition & Symptoms

A sprained ankle is an injury to the ligaments in the ankle, commonly on the outside of the ankle. These ligaments are crucial in providing stability and balance. Symptoms of a sprained ankle include: pain, swelling, bruising, stiffness and difficulty walking.

Ankle Sprain Treatment & Recovery

In most cases a sprained ankle can be treated without surgery. However, it is important to begin simple treatment practices early to help the ankle heal faster and avoid chronic ankle instability. The most important thing a sprained ankle patient can do immediately upon injury is rest, ice and elevate the ankle to reduce swelling, pain and muscle spasms. In most cases, if treated properly, patients can return to activity in five to seven days. This time period may increase depending on the severity of the sprain. Our therapists, physical therapists and trainers are skilled and experienced in treating ankle sprains and getting patients back to a healthy, active lifestyle.

Lisfranc Fracture Definition & Symptoms

The Lisfranc injury of the foot is a result of broken bones or torn ligaments in the middle of the foot. This injury is easily mistaken for a simple sprain, but it is important to recognize the distinction between the two given a Lisfranc injury may require surgery and many months to heal. Symptoms of Lisfranc injury include swelling and pain on the top of the foot, bruising on both the top and bottom of the foot (especially the bottom) and increased pain upon walking or standing.

Lisfranc Fracture Treatment & Recovery

If there are no dislocations or fractures in the joint and the ligaments are not completely torn, treatment may be possible without surgery. Surgery is recommended when any of the bones in the middle of the foot are fractured. Our team uses X-rays, an MRI and even a CT scan to determine if surgery is necessary. Return to activity is often achievable, but full recovery is not always possible. Arthritis may develop in the joint despite the work of a highly skilled team.