Einstein's own sports medicine expert Brett Sweitzer, MD, joins Ike Reese on Sportsradio 94WIP this week to discuss the most important injuries of interest to Philadelphia football fans. Going into week 14 of the season, Dr. Sweitzer weighs in on Ryan Matthews' return to action after a sprained MCL. Plus, he discusses Dorial Green Beckham's oblique contusion and the best way to quickly heal that type of injury.
Dorial Green Beckham suffered an oblique contusion in last week’s game. What’s the best way to get that healed as quickly as possible?
The last thing the Eagles need on offense is for their receivers to be even more depleted of talent, so the medical team will be doing everything they can to get DGB back on the field. Unfortunately, these oblique injuries can be challenging and nagging injuries. The oblique muscles in the abdomen allow us to twist side-to-side as well as bend up-and-down. They’re critical for most athletic movements, especially for a wide-receiver. The obliques are important for both balance and core strength, which obviously are important for running routes and going up to catch the ball.
The good news is that the injury is being described as more of a contusion, rather than a strain. A contusion is essentially a deep bruise to the muscle without disrupting the actual integrity of the muscle.
The key to having this injury heal will be to minimize any inflammation within the muscle - as much and as quickly as possible. Initially, that means icing the area and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen. Once the initial inflammation and pain quiet down, heat and gentle stretching can keep the muscle from tightening up and becoming painful again. It’s really a balancing act between ice, heat, rest, and stretching. I certainly wouldn’t recommend any injections at this point, such as steroids, but a brace upon return to football could be helpful. This definitely will be a day-to-day type of injury and I’d expect we’ll see him back on the field soon. Hopefully, it doesn’t become a nagging injury the rest of the season.
Ryan Mathews has been trying to recover from an MCL sprain. How much of returning to action has to do with pain tolerance?
A return to action with an MCL sprain almost entirely depends on pain tolerance. The MCL is the Medial Collateral Ligament, and is a thin flat ligament on the inside of the knee, just outside of the joint, that prevents the knee from bending inward. The MCL most often readily heals without surgery, and players are usually able to return to the field well before the injured ligament completely heals.
The typical treatment is bracing with rehab and a return to sport typically within a few weeks, and sometimes even sooner. Because knee braces are quite effective at stabilizing the MCL-deficient knee, the player can return to play while wearing a brace once they are able to run, cut and jump comfortably at full speed. Basically, once their motion and strength return toward normal, and their pain is at a minimum, these athletes can safely return. Stability of the knee typically isn’t an issue, as long as they are wearing the brace, and eventually the MCL will completely heal on its own. I’d be surprised if Mathews isn’t on the field this week, or certainly soon.
Be sure to check back soon for next week's report. Have questions about your favorite NFL player's recovery? Post them here and our sports injury experts may be able to answer them on next week's show.