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 16 of the season, Dr. Sweitzer weighs in on multiple players experiencing hamstring injuries and why they're the most common injury. Plus, he discusses how Brent Celek is dealing with a "stinger."
Running back Kenjon Barner left Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury and several other players on the team have suffered hamstring injuries this year. Why are hamstrings one of the most common injuries?
As you know these are big, strong, athletic guys, so they are putting a tremendous amount of force across their muscles and joints while playing football.
The hamstring muscle is especially vulnerable to injury because it is such a long muscle, and it crosses both the hip and knee joint on the back of the thigh. Any time the hip is flexed and the knee is extended, the hamstring is stretched and potentially susceptible to injury.
Obviously, that position – hip flexed and knee extended – is extremely common while playing football, especially while running, stopping and changing direction.
As to why it’s seemingly more common in today’s athletes, I’d attribute it mostly to an imbalance between strength and flexibility; but also perhaps in part due to the increased physical demands these players are putting on their bodies every day.
Brent Celek is dealing with a stinger. Can you explain what exactly a stinger is and what the proper course of treatment would be?
A stinger is a common term used to describe an injury when the player feels a sudden sharp stinging pain down their arm after taking a hit.
It is typically due to a stretch of the nerves coming out the side of the neck, called the brachial plexus. As the player’s shoulder is pushed down and their neck is pushed in the opposite direction, those nerves are stretched.
The stinging pain is usually transient, and is often associated with numbness and tingling. Unfortunately, there can also be some muscle weakness, which is really the thing that keeps the player off the field.
An injured player absolutely cannot return until they have full motion and strength after a stinger, so that they are able to protect themselves from further injury. Initial treatments are geared at letting the stretched nerves recover by having a period of relative rest, and decreasing inflammation around the nerve, often times with anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, but sometimes even with a short course of oral corticosteroid medication.
Fortunately, athletes usually return quickly from stingers, and long term neurologic deficits are extremely rare.
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.