Could an injured athlete, by inhaling pure Oxygen, accelerate the healing process - recovery - return to his activities and pre-injury performance?

The answer is yes - as shown by the knowledge of the mechanism of action of Hyperbaric Oxygen (pure Oxygen in conditions of increased ambient pressure) and at the same time it is recommended by scientists in the field of sports.

But the same goes for non-athletes. The average working person, who has an injury after many years of abstinence from regular exercise, decides to do something good for his health and returns to the courts (usually in team sports) to combine fun with sports. The problem here is not the amount of physical activity and strain compared to the athlete. It is the lack of preparation and the reduced endurance of the musculoskeletal system to meet the requirements of activities that were almost a daily habit in childhood. The need to return to daily activities and work is similar to an athlete.

The headline "sports injuries" should not surprise us. It contains injuries that come from sports activities and can include muscle fractures, tendon & ligament injuries to fractures - diseases common in Orthopedics. They might be caused due to a "bad moment" of high-intensity exercise or to systematic - regular - stress due to increased championship requirements.

It also includes diseases that are less understood and without a well-established routine of treatment (usually not treated surgically), such as bone swelling, fatigue fracture, periostitis, etc. leading to abstinence from activities - resumption of exercise / training - recurrence of symptoms leading to abstinence from activities and so on. Finally, similar problems can be faced by people in a period of systematic stress of increased demands but not sports, as we have seen in trainees in the special forces and the school of submarine destroyers.

In summary, HBO2 is successfully used in Sports Injuries in a broader treatment plan in order to:

  • Faster healing of non-surgical injuries.
  • Faster - better recovery postoperatively.
  • Interruption of a vicious cycle of hypoxia - inflammation - edema in the treatment of chronic intractable problems.
  • Faster return to activities and in combination with appropriate physical therapy, depending on the problem.
  • It has a place in the preparation with progressively increasing intensity exercise - strain, especially after periods of abstinence from regular exercise, as it maintains the energy reserves of cells and reduces the production of lactic acid.

Vassilios N. Kalentzos MD, MPH