Health & beauty |

Tackling Sports Injuries

health & beauty | 30 August 2017

Exercise and engaging in sports is a great way to stay in shape. But there is always a risk of accidents and injury as well.

Orthopedic Surgeon and Traumatologist DR. dr. Andri M. Lubis, Sp.OT(K) specializes in Orthopedic Sports Medicine. In the mornings, he teaches at the Faculty of Medicine at University of Indonesia, and in the afternoons, he practices at MRCCC Siloam Hospitals Semanggi.

He spoke to NOW! Jakarta about the most common sports injuries, the best options for treatments and how to prevent them.

Why did you decide to go into this field?
When I finished medical school in 1994, there weren’t many doctors who were interested in Orthopedics. It wasn’t really popular at that time. Outside of Indonesia, it was different, but here, people would ask “Orthopedics? What is that?” Later on, it became more popular, but most doctors choose spine surgery as sub-specialty. Not so many would go into Orthopedic Sports Medicine. That’s why I think it is a good field and nowadays, around the world, Orthopedic Sports Medicine has become very popular since more and more people need the treatment. I’m not only talking about athletes - of course they need us as well - but also ordinary people who do sports get injured or have accidents. I myself focus on the knees and the shoulders.

What are the most common sports injuries?
If we are talking about the joints, most of the sports injuries that I treat occur in the knee (70 percent) and the shoulder (30 percent). The most common one is an injury to the soft tissue of the knee, like the ligaments, the meniscus and the cartilage.

This can happen to anybody, not just professional athletes. As a matter of fact, in most cases, injuries happen to ordinary people doing sports.

Of course, competitive athletes have a higher risk. We divide sports into contact and non contact sports, and contact sports have a higher risk. Sports accident mostly happen during futsal. It often happens that people want to play futsal directly after office hours and start playing immediately, without any stretching or warming up first. After futsal, the sports with the highest number of accidents and injuries are basketball and soccer.

How do you treat the injuries?
If we have to perform surgery, we usually do a minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery is becoming more and more common in hospitals. These procedures are performed through tiny incisions instead of one large opening. Because the incisions are small, patients tend to have quicker recovery times and less discomfort than with conventional surgery - but they have the same benefits. Specifically in Orthopedic Sports Medicine, we use a procedure called arthroscopy. The arthroscope is an endoscope that is inserted into the joint through a small incision. Arthroscopy, which was first developed by a professor in Japan, was introduced to Indonesia around 20 years ago, but the technique has become more advanced over the years. Orthopedic Sports Medicine is a branch that develops very fast.

Do you have any advice on how to prevent sports injuries?
If people do sports, they need stretching and warming up first to relax the muscles. But of course, if you engage in competitive sports, you can’t go and say “I need to win but can’t get injured” because then you are not able to give 100 percent. This is especially tricky for contact sports, like basketball and futsal. You can wear protective gear like shin guards, helmets or shoulder pads, but some sports don’t even allow any protection at all, like Australian Football.

Is there a difference between children and adults? At what age are we most prone to sports injuries?
When we talk about fractures, they are more common in children or teenagers. Their bones are still weaker. However, when it comes to the ligaments, the risk of injury is higher for adults. Of course, there are also more adults than children who engage in competitive sports.

You mentioned earlier that you mostly treat injuries that happen during futsal, basketball and soccer. Are these the most common sports injuries around the world, or are they specific to Indonesia?
Actually, these are very common in other countries as well. One more sport with a high risk of injury is ski - which is not available in Indonesia. Ski is a high impact sport, and even though it is non-contact, it always presents a risk to the cartilage.

We often call athletes young people with old knees. They may be in their 20s or 30s, but we if we do an X-ray and only take a look at the result without knowing their age, we could think that the patients are already in their 50s. 

How do you keep updated on the latest progress in your field?
I am, among others, a member of ISAKOS, the International Society for Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopedic Sports Medicine and ICRS, the International Cartilage Repair Society. There are a lot of collaborations among the members, we share our knowledge and learn from another, because as I mentioned earlier, Orthopedic Sports Medicine grows very fast.

At the moment, there are around 100 doctors in Indonesia working in the same field as me, most of them are based in Jakarta and other big cities. If you compare this number to the population of the country, I would say it is still a small number. That’s why I also teach at the university, and I can see that the interest is growing.

MRCCC Siloam Hospitals Semanggi
Jalan Garnisun Dalam Kav. 2-3, Karet Semanggi
T: +62-21 29962888
Emergency: 1-500-911
Call Centre: 1-500-181
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