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Sports Surgery

Sports Injuries Singapore

What are Sports Injuries?

Sports injuries refer to any injury resulting from sports and other intense physical activities. These injuries can be acute, meaning they may occur suddenly due to a single traumatic event; or they may be chronic, developing over time due to excessive use. Sports injuries can affect the muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons; and usually happen due to collisions, sudden twists or impacts, repetitive motions, or poor technique.

What are Some Symptoms to Watch Out For?

Symptoms of sports injuries may be evident immediately following an injury or may develop gradually over a period of time. Depending on the type of injury, common symptoms include:
  • Pain - This can range from mild discomfort to sharp and severe pain.
  • Swelling - Swelling is a common indication of tissue damage due to inflammation or fluid buildup that appears immediately after an injury or develops gradually over time.
  • Limited Range of Motion - Athletes may have difficulty moving the affected body part fully.
  • Weakness - Feeling weak or the inability to bear weight on the knee, leg, feet, or ankle
  • Joint Instability - If the joint feels unstable or gives away, it may be indicative of ligament damage or joint injury.
  • Numbness or Tingling - A numbing or tingling sensation in the injured area may indicate the possibility of nerve irritation or injury.

At the onset of these symptoms, patients should refrain from further physical activity and seek medical attention from an experienced sports injury clinic to prevent further damage and complications.

If you notice these symptoms, contact our sports surgery clinic at 62537111 immediately. Early diagnosis helps in achieving a speedy and effective treatment.

What are Common Causes of Sports Injury?

  • Overuse - Overuse injuries develop when one engages in excessive physical activity without getting adequate rest. Common overuse injuries in sports include stress fractures and tendonitis.
  • Hyperextension - When a joint is forced to move outside its normal range of motion, it can result in ligament sprains, muscle strains, or dislocations. This injury can affect various joints within the body, including the fingers, elbows, and ankles.
  • Inadequate Warm-Up - The risk of sports injuries increases if one does not warm up properly beforehand. A thorough warm-up routine helps prepare the body for the demands of the sport by increasing blood flow to the muscles and improving flexibility.
  • Lack or Improper Use of Equipment - Injuries and accidents may result from the improper use of protective equipment and athletic gear, or the lack thereof. For instance, shoes lacking in proper support and cushioning can result in foot and ankle injuries.

Like many of his patients, Dr Alan Cheung is a keen sportsman, having participated in athletics and rugby at college, and in mixed martial arts (Evolve MMA) currently. He also enjoys golf, skiing and cycling. He is a Ringside Doctor for One Championship and pitchside doctor for international events such as the HSBC Sevens and SuperRugby. He is a member of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, UK.

Which Athletes Do We Treat? – Everyone is welcome

At International Orthopaedic Clinic (IOC), we see many athletes of all ages and abilities involved in all types of sport. These include the weekend soccer player, the ironman competitor in their 60’s, members of national teams, and martial arts World Champions. Our philosophy is the give you the best possible care to get you back to your desired sport as soon (and as safely) as possible. We also understand that not everyone needs surgery and may recover well with physiotherapy alone.

Sports Specific Physiotherapy

We understand that each athlete is different in terms of their body size, shape and how their body functions. Every sport has unique demands that are placed upon different parts of the body. This is why IOC partners with sports specific physiotherapists who are experts in their own sporting fields. This enables patients to understand their injury and treatment better, as well as having someone who understands their sport at a high level looking after them.

What Kinds of Sports Injuries are Seen and will I Need Surgery?

All types of musculoskeletal injury are seen at IOC. These range from sprains and partial tears of tendons or ligaments which may managed without surgery, to full tears, broken bones and worn out or dislocated joints which may require surgery. A careful history and examination will be performed, and you will likely need some form of imaging such as an XR and/or MRI of the affected area. In most cases a trial of non-operative management will be trialled involving sports specific physiotherapy, painkillers and bracing. Steroid injections can sometimes be helpful.


Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

Runner’s Knee or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS) is irritation of the cartilage under the kneecap, resulting in pain at the front of the knee. This typically occurs after long runs, sitting for long periods, or whilst going down hills or stairs. Risk factors include overpronation (excessive rolling of the foot inward), and weak quadriceps or gluteal muscles.

Achilles Tendonitis

The Achilles tendon connects the gastrocnemius muscles (2 large muscles at the back of the calf) to the heel. Repetitive stress may cause inflammation of the tendon (tendonitis). Rapid increases in training intensity and duration, as well as weak tight calf muscles are predisposing factors for achilles tendonitis.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

The iliotibial band is found on the outside of the thigh, running from the hip to the knee. Running causes the iliotibial band to rub on the outside of the thigh bone at the knee causing pain. Foot overpronation, weak hip and abductor and gluteal muscles can contribute.

The plantar fascia is a thick band of tissue in the sole of your foot, which connects your heel to your toes. Small tears in the plantar fascia cause pain along the heel and inside of your foot, particularly in the morning. Runners with excessive pronation or supination (rolling of foot inwards / outwards), abnormal foot arches, and rapid increases in mileage are at risk. Recovery time with complete rest can take 3 months to a year.

Hamstring Injuries

The hamstring muscles are located at the back of the thigh, and help bend the knees. Hamstring pain may occur when the muscles are weak, and overpowered by the stronger quadriceps muscles. The spectrum of hamstring injury includes sprains which may take several days of rest to recover, to a full blown tear which takes months to heal.


Shinsplints or medial tibial stress syndrome refers to pain along the inner border of your shin bone, where muscles attach. They are common in new runners and indicate too much running too quickly, or the wrong type of shoes.

Stress Fractures

These occur through repetitive strain on the bone and commonly occur in the shinbone, feet and heel. Overtraining is a major risk factor. Underlying conditions such as vitamin D and nutritional deficiency, low bone density, and low calorie intake can also be responsible.


For more information on these conditions, please see the SERVICES section of the website.

The menisci are shock absorbing pads that sit between your thigh bone and shin bone. Twisting movements during sports may tear the meniscus and lead to pain, swelling and restriction of knee movement. In this circumstance you may benefit from repair or removal of the torn meniscus.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear (ACL)

The ACL is a rope like structure that prevents the shin bone from sliding out of position during pivoting and sidestepping movements. If you have a torn ACL, and your unstable knee is preventing you from playing sports you enjoy then you may benefit from an ACL reconstruction.

The rotator cuff are a group of muscles that help move and stabilise your shoulder joint. A rotator cuff tear may be extremely painful and stop you from lifting your arm up or behind your back. You may find simple activities like dressing and washing difficult, and playing sports impossible.

Cartilage Injury

Cartilage is the lining of large joints such as the hip, knee and shoulder which allows smooth movement during day to day activities and sports. A fall or injury may injure your cartilage. Cartilage has a poor blood supply and does not heal well. Failure to treat a cartilage injury may lead to osteoarthritis over time. If pain persists despite non-surgical management, you may benefit from a keyhole surgery procedure called microfracture where tiny holes are drilled into the bone to allow cartilage healing to take place.

Achilles tendon tear

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. It is important to allow pushing off motion of the foot (plantarflexion) during walking, running and jumping. An achilles tendon tear can occur spontaneously during sports and can feel a kick to the back of the leg. You will have difficulty walking properly. Your doctor will diagnose the tear through clinical examination and sometimes an ultrasound. You may benefit from repair of the achilles tendon if you play sports involving running and jumping.

Our Sports Injury Clinic in Singapore

The International Orthopaedic Clinic is an established sports orthopaedic clinic that offers a wide range of conservative and surgical treatments. We aim to get patients back to their active lifestyles as quickly as possible.

Call 6253 7111 today to schedule an appointment.

FAQ’s About Sports Surgery
How Big is the Scar?

Most sports surgery operations are through small ‘keyhole’ incisions using a telescope system. Most scars fade away and are not noticeable over time.

Does it Hurt?

You will be asleep during the surgery and will receive strong painkillers after the surgery. Most people can stand straightway following a sports surgery to the leg. Some can go home the same day.

How Long does it Take to Recover?

It depends on the type of surgery you have. Wounds take around ten days to heal and there may be swelling around the joint for several weeks. You will start physiotherapy soon after the surgery. Return to sports can take weeks to months depending upon the procedure. Most can return to work after 2-6 weeks, depending upon their occupation.

What are Common Surgical Treatments for Sports Injuries?

  • Arthroscopy - During this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon inserts a small instrument called an arthroscope through a small incision to visualise, diagnose, and repair the affected parts.
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction - This involves repairing or reconstructing the torn anterior cruciate ligament to restore stability to the knee joint.
  • Meniscus Repair - Here, the surgeon repairs a torn or damaged meniscus, which act as shock absorbers in the knee.
  • Ankle Replacement Surgery - This surgery either fuses the bones of the damaged ankle, or replaces them with artificial parts for increased stability and range of motion.

How can one Prevent Sports Injuries?

  • Perform a proper warm-up beforehand
  • Carefully increase the intensity and frequency of training sessions
  • Allocate adequate time for rest and recovery
  • Ensure proper form and technique
  • Strengthen your core to enhance stability
  • Wear appropriate sports gear and equipment

What are Possible Risks of Sports Surgery?

Sports injury repair, like any surgical procedure, comes with certain risks to watch out for such as:
  • Wound infection
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Blood clots
  • Muscle weakness or nerve damage
  • Numbness

However, these are rare, especially when performed by an experienced orthopaedic surgeon.

Experiencing Pain from a Sports Injury?

With lots of people engaging in sports activities, it’s no surprise that sports injuries are common. To get people back on track again, Dr Alan Cheung tailors a wide range of sports injury treatments for all his patients. As a fellow athlete himself, he understands fully the sentiments of people who’ve sustained sports injuries, and is committed to providing them with the best possible care.