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Sports medicine: practical guidelines for general practice
  1. A K BHALLA, Consultant in Rheumatology
  1. Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, London, UK

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    Sports medicine: practical guidelines for general practice, Domhnall MacAuley. Butterworth Heineman, 1999. £ 22.50, paperback. ISBN 0 7506 3730 7.★★★★

    The public is constantly being made aware of the benefits of sports to good health. As a result, increasing numbers are taking part in sports, with the result that many are sustaining injuries with which they present to their general practitioner (GP). GPs have to develop experience in the diagnosis and management of sporting injuries, and know when to consider referral to a specialist. Furthermore, the understanding of sports medicine requires some knowledge of the sports being undertaken, and also about the physiology and mechanics of the body in motion. Patients who present to their GPs with sporting injuries often wish to resume the activity and will depend upon their GP giving them appropriate advice about rehabilitation and resumption of the sport.

    This book on sports medicine for the GP is well written and easy to read. It starts with a discussion on the benefits of exercise and basic physiology. It then discusses how minor injuries are treated, followed by the expertise required in managing emergencies and being fully aware of the cardiac risks associated with sports. It also explains the principles for managing injuries to the head and spine, although these are not sufficiently detailed. For example, the role of magnetic resonance imaging, the investigation of choice for excluding nerve root injuries in the spine, is not adequately discussed. Injuries to the various parts of the body are described in individual chapters, together with their management. These sections could have benefited from more figures demonstrating the anatomy of structures likely to be damaged, for example, in the hands. Similarly, the section on injecting soft tissue injuries like lateral epicondylitis, tenosynovitis and carpal tunnel syndrome, are described, but these would benefit from illustrations. The author is incorrect in suggesting that the physician should use gloves when injecting, as there is no evidence that the use of gloves reduces the risk of infection; it is more important to emphasise the use of the ‘no-touch’ technique.

    Apart from these minor draw-backs, this book is very readable and discusses topics which are not often dealt with in other books on sports medicine, such as diet in sport and women in sport. I think this is an excellent book, which provides good value for money for any GP who treats, or wish to treat, patients with sports injuries.