Specialists in physical management, such as doctors and trainers, conduct medical checkup. This is mainly a body check of the athletes.
Medical checkups are health checkups for athletes before exercise. These checkups are useful not only for health management, but also for the prevention of sports injuries. In addition to acute (sudden) injuries, many chronic disorders are caused by overuse. However, the diagnosis is difficult because players often remain in pain (due to a lack of awareness of the injury). Therefore, the significance of individual medical checks for athletes is high.
What is a medical checkup?
This is mainly a body check of the athletes, conducted by a physical management specialist, such as a doctor or trainer. Questionnaires are the most important checklist and are available not only at hospitals but also at sports sites. The doctor checks the current problem (site of pain), previous injury, previous sport history (including level of competition, training time, and position), previous treatment (such as surgery), current position, previous sport history, dominant hand (dominant foot), muscle tightness, joint laxity (body stiffness), alignment of the lower extremities, range of motion, tender points, and muscle strength. The location of the injury may vary depending on whether the person is junior or adolescent, recreational, or competitive. When necessary, doctors can examine height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse (athletes may have a slow pulse), blood (peripheral blood, such as anemia), biochemistry (such as blood sugar and liver function, cholesterol, and uric acid levels), urine (such as sugar in the urine and protein in the urine), X-rays (such as the heart and lungs, seen on chest X-rays), electrocardiograms (such as abnormal heart rhythms at rest), and exercise electrocardiograms (such as pulse changes during exercise on a treadmill or exercise bike). Athletes are characterized by an unexpectedly higher incidence of anemia (iron deficiency) than the general population.
Practice of checkup
In Japan, medical checks at public medical institutions are mandatory once a year for national team-level athletes. The content is broadly divided into internal medicine and orthopedics (see above). At the spring-summer National High School Baseball Tournament held in Koshien Baseball Stadium, an X-ray check of the elbow joint is mandatory for pitchers. If an abnormality is found, the doctor’s order to stop will be applied.
Checkup methods and characteristics by sport
Various types of sports are characterized by the duration of game, contact sports, and the need for unique actions (such as pitching and shoulder pain) that can cause injuries. The problem is that exercise pain is more common than spontaneous pain, so the examiner needs to check to induce the expected specific disorder (pain).
Marathon: Lower extremity, particularly knee disability checks, Achilles tendon inflammation, shin splints, lower extremity alignment, plantar aponeurosis, and sports anemia checks.
Football (soccer): hip joint flexibility, Osgood-Schlatter disease of the knee (growth period), knee meniscus injury, history of ankle sprain, and checking for low back pain (e.g., trunk flexibility).
Volleyball: Tall athletes are more likely to be scouted because the body does not come into direct contact with the other players, and it accounts for much of the athletic population. They often have Marfan syndrome -like elements (blurred vision, long extremities, emaciation, cardiovascular abnormalities). It is a sport in which is easy to generate characteristic disorders for each action, such as lumbar, knee, and ankle joint failures by jump landing, shoulder and elbow injury by the attack and serve (Photo 1), finger failure by a pass (Photo 2), shoulder and elbow failures by receiving, Achilles tendon fracture (inflammation). Particularly in jumper’s knee (Photo 3), checking the characteristic tender points in the lower part of the patella and checking the quadriceps muscle flexibility are helpful.
Swimming: Check for shoulder disorders (fluctuation and impingement), knee meniscus disorders, pes anserine bursitis, medial collateral ligament inflammation (breaststroke knee ), and low back pain in addition to ears (e.g., otitis media), and eyes (conjunctivitis).
Baseball: Check shoulder disorders by throwing (front, side, back), presence of absence of pain on the mediolateral side of the elbow represented as baseball elbow, and ankle sprain, low back pain, etc.
Photo: He was a right-handed ace attacker on the volleyball team. The right shoulder joint external rotation muscle force was decreased on the medical checkup. Scapular nerve palsy resulted in infraspinatus muscle atrophy.
Photo: Fracture within the DIP joint. The thumb was sprained but actually also fractured.
Photo: In a medical checkup of elite junior high school players, the typical tender part of the lower pole of the patella was recognized.
Procedures of medical checkup
Examine the upper extremity (shoulder, elbow, and finger) initially in a sitting or standing position, then regions of back, and examine the hip, knee, and ankle joint in a supine position, and finally examine the lower back, heel-buttock distance, and Achilles tendon in a prone position, to cover the entire body. Exercise is prescribed in consideration of the problems noted above.