It doesn’t matter if you are a professional athlete or enjoy sports as a hobby; having support from a sports medicine doctor can be helpful.
Not only does this specialist help with injury treatment when needed, but they can also offer ongoing support to prevent injuries and improve performance at the same time.
Should you visit a sports medicine doctor? The first step is to learn about this specialty. Then, evaluate your individual needs, and you can decide whether these services fit you well.
Sports Medicine Specialty: What You Need to Know
One of the biggest misconceptions about sports medicine doctors is that they only work with professional athletes. But the truth is that these specialists assist patients who are pro athletes and non-athletes alike.
This type of medical specialty is trained to treat injuries to the musculoskeletal system. In addition to the function of the joints, bones, and muscles, they often help patients with nerve-related issues as well.
Some sports medicine doctors offer surgical treatments. But you don’t necessarily need surgery every time. Instead, the approach is to offer minimally-invasive treatments first and then use surgical interventions when necessary.
Reasons Why You Should Visit a Sports Medicine Doctor
Are sports medicine services a good fit for your needs? There are several common reasons why people choose to schedule with a sports medicine specialist.
Injury Diagnosis and Treatment
If you live an active lifestyle and experience an injury, you will likely benefit from an appointment with a sports medicine doctor. These specialists can help with everything from sprains and strains to broken bones and more serious injuries.
Diagnosis is always the first step. The doctor will use imaging and a thorough examination to evaluate the function, pain levels, and location.
Once a diagnosis is determined, the doctor can design a personalized treatment plan to support your recovery. Treatments range from minimally-invasive options, such as physical therapy and/or electrical stimulation, to more intensive treatments like surgery.
Chronic Pain and Functional Concerns
Sometimes, patients find working with a sports medicine expert for chronic pain issues beneficial. Maybe you have chronic pain after participating in sports for many years. Or, this pain could be due to another cause, but it has an impact on your daily lifestyle.
If you are living with chronic nerve pain or musculoskeletal system issues, you might benefit from a consultation and treatment plan with a sports medicine doctor.
Another common reason why people with an active lifestyle visit with a sports medicine doctor is because they want to prevent injury. The physician can evaluate the function and joint mobility, then recommend exercises and other practices to reduce the risk of injury.
Applying these recommendations from a sports medicine expert helps you stay safer on the field. Many professional athletes take a proactive approach to sports medicine to minimize the risk of injury. Hobby participants and other non-athletes can also benefit from these services.
Athletes often find it helpful to work with a sports medicine doctor to improve overall performance in their game. These services go beyond injury treatment and prevention.
Instead, the sports medicine doctor is helping optimize physical function and movement, allowing the athlete to find their peak performance levels.
It’s common for pro athletes to be working with a sports medicine doctor, as well as athletic trainers, nutritionists, and more.
Finally, patients of all ages and fitness levels often find it helpful to talk to a sports medicine specialist to learn more about healthy and safe ways to exercise.
If you are starting a new exercise plan, it can be a great time to consult a sports medicine expert.
Or, if you are looking to improve your exercise intensity or frequency, consider a consultation with a sports medicine doctor.
This specialist will help you determine the ideal types of exercises to match your current fitness levels and help you achieve your goals. Through this process, you will experience incremental improvements in your performance, which has an undeniable impact on when you are on the field.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sports Medicine Doctors
Learning about the field of sports medicine can be an effective way to help you determine whether these medical services are a good fit for your unique needs.
What Is a Doctor of Sports Medicine Called?
Doctors with a sports medicine specialty can be referred to by many different names.
- Sports medicine specialist
- Sports medicine doctor
- Sports medicine physician
- Sports and exercise specialist
- Orthopedic specialist
What Is the Difference Between a Sports Medicine Doctor and an Orthopedic Doctor?
Both sports medicine doctors and orthopedic doctors help patients by treating nerve-related issues and problems with the musculoskeletal system (the joints, bones, and muscles).
The biggest difference between these specialties is that an orthopedic doctor often offers surgical interventions for these physical concerns, while a sports medicine physician focuses on other minimally-invasive treatments.
As many as 90% of sports-related injuries can be treated without surgery. So, patients often prefer to meet with a sports medicine doctor first for minimally-invasive treatments. Then, they can move on to surgical options if the initial treatments aren’t working.
Do Sports Doctors Go to Medical School?
Yes, sports medicine doctors go through many years of professional education and training before they can work in the industry.
- 4 years in an undergraduate program
- 4 years of medical school
- 3 years of residency
- 1 year (minimum) of fellowship
Once this education and industry training is complete, then the student must pass a national certification examination to become an official sports medicine provider. Also, it’s common for these doctors to become board-certified.
What Does a Sports Medicine Physician Do?
Many conditions can be treated by a sports medicine doctor, including muscle strains, sprains, broken bones, fractures, overuse injuries, joint injuries, concussions, tendinitis, osteoarthritis, and more.
A sports medicine doctor offers a range of services and support for patients of all ages and fitness levels.
- Diagnosis for injuries and chronic pain
- Treating injuries and supporting recovery
- Managing injuries to help athletes stay in the game whenever possible
- Educating patients about exercise, strength-building, and injury-prevention techniques
- Providing medical support during games
- Determining the ideal timeline for recovery and when an athlete can return to play
Schedule a Consultation with a Sports Medicine Specialist
Are you ready to learn more about sports medicine? If you want personalized recommendations, our team is always here to assist.
You are invited to schedule a consultation with a sports medicine doctor. Reach out to us at Orthopedic Associates for support with injury prevention, sports performance, chronic conditions, and more. Book an appointment at your convenience by calling (972) 420-1776.