What Is Sports Medicine?

July 31st, 2020 Becki Andrus
What Is Sports Medicine? by Orthopedic Associates in Flower Mound, TX

It can be disappointing to experience an injury that makes it hard to participate in your favorite sports activities.

Whether you are experiencing chronic pain, or something happened on the field resulting in an unexpected injury, you can benefit from sports medicine services.

Our team at Orthopedic Associates in Flower Mound and Denton, TX offers a full-service approach, with treatments available for professional athletes, weekend warriors, and patients injured in their personal exercise routines.

What is Sports Medicine?

Even active people in great health can experience injury when something goes wrong on the playing field. When someone is injured while participating in a sports event or training, then it’s essential to work with the right doctor as soon as possible. Sports medicine focuses on treating injured athletes to help them get back on the field again as soon as possible.

This specialty concentrates on musculoskeletal problems that can be summarized in two categories:

  • Acute Injuries: An immediate injury that happens during a specific incident. For example, a bone fracture, muscle strain, or an injury to the knee, shoulder, or ankle.
  • Overuse Injury: Instead of the injury occurring in a moment, an overuse injury happens with ongoing use of the injured area during training. Examples include tendonitis, rotator cuff issues, or stress fractures.

Non-musculoskeletal issues can also be treated through sports medicine.

The physician’s goal is to support all aspects of the athlete’s health on the field and can help with other health concerns such as:

  • Acute or chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, or arthritis
  • Injury prevention
  • Performance issues
  • Supplements and nutrition
  • Conditioning exercises
  • Decisions regarding when the athlete can “return to play”

Typically, sports medicine is more than meeting with one doctor about your injury. This treatment involves a team approach with various health care providers including physical therapists, nutritionists, surgical experts, and more.

Is Sports Medicine Only for Professional Athletes?

While sports medicine doctors treat professional athletes, these medical services are also offered to adults, teens, and children who are injured through personal fitness. This health care specialty is available to all people – not just athletes. Additionally, people working physically demanding jobs such as construction workers can benefit from sports medicine.

Anyone can visit a sports medicine doctor if they need medical support recovering from injury. Patients also choose sports medicine services if they want to improve athletic performance or minimize the risk of future injuries.

It can be hard to be sidelined after an injury. If you want to get back to your regular athletic activities and exercise routine as soon as possible, then it can be beneficial to schedule an appointment with a sports medicine expert.

Unique Skills from a Sports Medicine Physician

A physician working in this branch of medicine is someone who has unique training focused both on the treatment of sports-related injuries, as well as prevention of future injuries. These providers complete medical school in another specialty. Then, the doctor goes on to receive additional training in sports medicine to gain additional skills for supporting sports-related injuries.

Most sports medicine physicians have completed the following training:

  • Board certification in another specialty such as family medicine, internal medicine, or emergency medicine
  • 1 – 2 years of additional training through a fellowship in Sports Medicine
  • Holds a certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine, through a national certification exam
  • Is actively engaged in continuing education focused on sports medicine

It’s common for sports medicine physicians to also have surgical training as well. For example, our team at Orthopedic Associates is proud to offer both orthopedic surgery and sports medicine. This combined approach gives patients one location for everything they need to treat sports injuries and stay at the top of their game.

Should You See a Sports Medicine Doctor?

When should you schedule an appointment with a sports medicine specialist, instead of a general medical provider?

Here are some of the injuries that can be treated through sports medicine:

  • Fracture
  • Ankle sprain
  • Concussion
  • Tendonitis
  • Knee injury
  • Shoulder injury
  • Muscle strains

Sometimes sports injuries occur in an instant, due to an accident in the game. Other times, sports medicine services are needed because of ongoing wear and tear on the body because of training.

If you see these signs of a serious injury, then it is smart to schedule an appointment as soon as possible:

  • Inability to put weight on the injury
  • Numbness
  • Swelling
  • Severe pain
  • Severe bruising
  • Limited range of motion or function

If the symptoms are minimal, then the injury might heal on its own. But it can still be beneficial to talk to a sports medicine provider if you experience repeated injuries.

Full-Service Treatment Approach

The benefit of choosing a sports medicine provider is that you gain access to a full-service treatment approach, focused on getting you moving again as soon as possible. Non-surgical treatments are recommended when it makes sense. But there are times when surgery is the right treatment to repair the damage and promote healing.

Common sport injury treatments might include:

  • Rest and a break from training
  • Immobilizing the injury with a sling or cast
  • Pain relievers (over-the-counter or prescription medications)
  • Icing the injured area
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery to realign the bones or fix torn tissue

90% of the time, these injuries can be treated without surgery. This non-invasive treatment approach is prioritized as much as possible, with surgery being an option for severe injuries or conditions that aren’t responding to non-surgical treatments.

Sports medicine can go beyond the treatment of the injury. For example, some athletes work with sports medicine experts to improve strength and performance. Additional services might include recommendations for gaining or losing weight, as well as other physical elements that can impact the athlete’s performance.

Schedule an Appointment with a Sports Medicine Physician in Flower Mound and Denton, Texas

Would you like to talk to a sports medicine expert about an injury or your athletic performance?

Our team at Orthopedic Associates is here to help. We offer personalized services and ongoing care to speed up recovery and optimize your performance on the field. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

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