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Nerve Injuries in Athletes

Post by Brian Yee PT, MPhty, OCS, FAAOMPT

If you know me, you know I’m a big Lakers fan! I was absolutely excited when the Lakers traded for Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns two years ago. Steve Nash has been one of the best point guards of our time. However, last year Steve had a freak injury that fractured his fibula and caused nerve damage in his leg as well. It took him out of a large chunk of games last year to recover.

I will be the first to say that I am not his Physical Therapist, nor do I even know the extent of his injury. In this article, he does state that the team’s Physical Therapist is doing some great work with him. So I hope the best for his recovery.

I cited this article to talk about nerves and how nerve injuries, whether it be due to fractures like Steve Nash’s or nerve injuries from herniated discs in the back or neck, do not heal as simple ankle sprains or muscle strains do. Nerve injuries require a much more comprehensive rehabilitation plan.

His quote in the article, “It’s like the nerve system and nerve roots are on guard. So the whole system in a way is different now. It’s just a little more sensitive and you face different things because of it”… just about sums up the extent of what nerve injuries and pain cause. Unlike a simple muscle strain, anytime the nerve gets irritated the entire nerve becomes irritated. More importantly, as the entire nerve becomes irritated, any structure of your body that the nerve innervates can become irritated as well. This would include muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Now you can have an entire leg or arm that originally started from a nerve injury become affected. You may experience pain, numbness, or tingling, but also have strength and flexibility changes. Your overall movement of that extremity may change as well, making it hard to use it correctly in daily life and sport.

At Motion Stability, we see patients with several types of nerve injuries, whether it be from a trauma, back surgery, or a chronic condition. We have patients come see us not only to relieve their nerve symptoms, but also the associated orthopedic pain and dysfunction that comes along with it. In cases like these, we think it is important to improve the health of the injured nerve through techniques called neurodynamics, as well as treat the entire affected extremity. We accomplish this by improving the flexibility, stability, and movement of the affected extremity to restore the patient back to their daily lives and sports. In addition to the nerve itself, we also treat the affected tissues to restore your strength, flexibility, and movement. Only then will patients feel fully back to their normal selves.

So if you have an injury like Steve Nash or some other ongoing nerve injury, we welcome you to contact us and ask how we might be able to help you.

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