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Pat O’Neill
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital.
Pat O’Neill

What is your specific area of expertise?

The specific area of expertise we engage in is musculoskeletal injuries and conditions relating to sport and occupation. The majority of musculoskeletal injuries relating to sport and occupations that require medical treatment would be in the order of 70-80%, with the remaining 20-30% requiring interventional radiology management and/or orthopaedic surgery. We are involved in the assessment examination, investigation and diagnosis of musculoskeletal and orthopaedic injuries and conditions that may not require interventional radiology or orthopaedic surgery.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

The most rewarding aspect of being a specialist in orthopaedic and sports medicine is dealing with players, athletes and sportspersons who are affected by musculoskeletal injuries or patients who are affected by musculoskeletal conditions relating to their work. It is a privilege to assist in optimising their return to athletic, leisure or occupational activity. The other most rewarding aspect of this work is the interaction with sportspersons and sport science professionals including team managers, coaches, trainers, physiotherapists, athletic trainers and therapists strength and conditioning coaches, biomechanists, exercise physiologists, sports scientists, dietitians, nutritionists and sports psychologists.

What is the most common sports injury you see in your clinic?

The most common sports injuries dealt with in the Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Clinic at Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital are the various acute and overuse musculoskeletal sports injuries with the most common injuries affecting the knee, ankle, foot, lower back, hip and groin regions, and to a lesser frequency the upper limb. The sportspersons are invariably enthusiastic and optimistic about making optimal recovery to ensure early and safe return to their sports or other activities. The sports injuries involve two main categories – acute musculoskeletal injuries sustained due to direct or indirect trauma in the sports activity, and overuse injuries due to overtraining, overloading or over participation, generating abnormal or excessive mechanical stresses and strains on the musculoskeletal system of the body.

What are your top tips for a sports injury patient?

The optimal advice for injured sportspersons is to be aware that prevention is of paramount importance with regards to both acute and overuse musculoskeletal injuries and involves the motto that ‘more training does not necessarily mean better performance’. Training and participation should be designed specifically and accordingly with avoidance of overtraining to prevent overload of musculoskeletal structures of the body, particularly tendons, muscles and bones. Good nutrition is also important in optimal recovery following injury.