When you experience a musculoskeletal injury, immediate treatment is essential to ensure proper healing and recovery. It doesn’t matter if this injury happened on the playing field or was an unexpected accident somewhere else: limited mobility and pain can take a toll on all areas of your life.
If you are an athlete, you want to get back in the game as soon as possible. A sports medicine doctor can be a great resource to help you manage the pain and speed up healing.
Sports Medicine Doctor vs. Orthopedic Surgeon
While general physicians can offer support with pain relief, they don’t have the specialized training you need. So, primary care physicians will often refer you to a sports medicine doctor or orthopedic surgeon.
Both of these specialties overlap, but there are notable differences to consider, and you need to understand what sets them apart.
Sports Medicine Doctor
These specialists focus on nonsurgical treatment options to promote healing in a minimally-invasive way. But there are times when surgery is necessary because of physical trauma that must be repaired.
Some sports medicine doctors are also orthopedic surgeons, which means you can access a full range of treatments from one provider. In addition, if your sports medicine doctor doesn’t have surgical training, they often work alongside another orthopedic surgeon who can provide the necessary surgical care.
The benefit of visiting a sports medicine doctor is that they have specialized knowledge for a variety of injuries relating to sports activities: acute injuries, chronic pain, and overuse injuries.
Not only do sports medicine doctors treat injuries and pain, but they also partner with patients to help with performance improvements and steps to prevent injuries in the future. The goal is to boost overall performance on the playing field and protect the athletes as much as possible.
A doctor with orthopedic surgery experience has completed medical school and continued their training for an additional 5+ years of residency beyond medical school. Many orthopedic surgeons have subspecialties, such as a specific part of the body, like the back or feet.
Talk to your sports medicine doctor about referral options if your injury requires surgical intervention. Your sports medicine provider might be able to offer the surgical treatments that you need. Otherwise, they likely have a trusted surgeon for a referral.
Keep in mind that meeting with a sports medicine provider who is also trained in orthopedic surgery doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be going under the knife. In fact, our team of doctors always prioritizes minimally-invasive treatments first. Then, if the nonsurgical treatment methods aren’t enough, the doctor will discuss surgery with the patient.
While sports medicine doctors typically work with athletes, orthopedic surgeons often have a broader patient base. They treat a range of conditions, including arthritis, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel, back pain, bone tumors, and more.
The surgeon can help with different types of tissue repair, as well as spinal surgery, joint replacement, and any other surgical interventions necessary for improving a patient’s movement and function.
Can a Sports Medicine Physician Perform Surgery?
The skillset and training vary from one sports medicine doctor to the next. All of these doctors have an understanding of orthopedics and know the nuances of sports injuries and treatments.
Sports medicine doctors offer a comprehensive approach to assist in the healing and recovery process, including treatments paired with dietary recommendations and exercise/training regimens.
It’s common for sports medicine doctors to focus on nonsurgical options. However, some of these specialists might be surgically trained as well.
Certain doctors can perform micro-invasive surgical procedures but don’t perform large open surgeries. If major surgical intervention is necessary, then they will refer you to meet with another provider. When you meet with a sports medicine doctor for your initial consultation, ask about their training and available services.
One of the benefits of choosing Orthopedic Associates is that we have a team of doctors with the full range of skills. Our goal is to provide everything you need in one convenient location. Your provider works closely to offer a customized treatment plan, with options available to bring in another in-office provider if additional treatments or services are needed.
Should You See a Sports Medicine Doctor?
A sports medicine doctor can be a great resource if you participate in any sports. It doesn’t matter if you are a pro athlete or a weekend warrior – sports medicine helps people of all ages and ability levels.
The benefit of visiting with a sports medicine doctor first is that you have access to a specialist who understands the nuances of injuries, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention for sports-related injuries.
Many of these sports medicine doctors can offer surgical treatments as needed. If they don’t have the specialization for surgery, they likely have a colleague who can assist with the treatments you need.
Sports Medicine: Injury Treatment and Beyond
An injury might seem like an unavoidable aspect of participating in sports. But the truth is that you don’t have to be at risk when you are in the game. Proactive training and care can be an effective way to minimize the chances of injury on the field.
Sports medicine doctors are passionate about helping athletes overcome their injuries. At the same time, these specialists like to take a proactive approach to help athletes who also want to prevent injuries in the future.
There are many ways to prevent injury through stretching and exercise. Your sports medicine physician can put together a personalized plan to improve your results going forward.
Full-Service Care for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics
Our team at Orthopedic Associates understands the importance of full-service care to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.
Not only do you have access to a sports medicine expert, but your provider also works alongside orthopedic surgeons as well as nutritionists, athletic trainers, and physical therapists.
You can be confident knowing that your treatment plan is designed to help you achieve the best results possible. Every patient receives personalized services from a team that understands the details and nuances that impact a successful recovery.
Schedule a Consultation with a Sports Medicine Doctor
If you are experiencing chronic pain or have an acute injury from your training, we invite you to schedule a consultation with a sports medicine expert. Reach out to our team to book an appointment.
Not only do we assist with the diagnostic and treatment process. But our providers partner with each patient to offer ongoing care that will improve sports performance going forward.