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A sports medicine doctor is a medical doctor who specializes in the prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries. These doctors often work with athletes, but they can also help patients who are not active in sports. Orthopedic surgeons are typically the type of sports medicine physician that people think of, but there are other types of specialists who may fall under this category as well. In this article, we will discuss what sports medicine physicians do and how they can help you stay healthy and injury-free!
What Does a Sports Medicine Physician Do?
A sports medicine physician, or an orthopedic sports surgeon, specializes in the prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries. They are trained physicians who work with athletes to treat injuries to bone, muscles, and joints. Injuries can occur during training or while playing a sport or game. Some sports medicine physicians have specialized areas such as knee surgery, ankle injury repair, and sports concussion treatments. Other sports medicine physicians may focus on athletic performance for specific sports like swimming and gymnastics. Sports medicine often involves physical therapy sessions to evaluate the injured area’s progress over time toward recovery goals that were set by the physician at diagnosis of the injury. For example, if you tear your ACL during baseball practice you would need surgical repair and then physical rehabilitation afterward to regain strength in your knee.
What kind of education is required to become specialized in sports medicine?
The field of sports medicine is a highly specialized career that requires years of education. After completing medical school, doctors typically undergo a five-year residency in orthopedic surgery. This type of residency provides intensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. After residency, orthopedic surgeons will pursue further certification by becoming board certified. Other pathways include following a sports medicine fellowship, which is an additional one or two years of training in sports-related injuries after a residency in emergency medicine, family medicine, or internal medicine.
Prevention of sports injuries
A sports medicine physician can help athletes prevent sports injuries through nutritional advice, exercise plans, protective gear recommendations, and safety tips. Injury prevention is an important responsibility for many sports teams. Many teams hire sports medicine physicians who are on call for emergencies at practices or games when accidents occur unexpectedly such as falling off balance while running towards first base after hitting a ground ball into right field (or foul territory). The physician will evaluate any type of injury from head trauma caused by an impact like getting hit with an elbow during a basketball game, to ankle sprains that commonly occur when people twist their foot while playing soccer.
Common Injuries that Sports Medicine Physicians Treat
The sports medicine physician will diagnose and treat the common sports injuries that can occur during sports and games. These injuries include:
– Ankle sprain: This is a common injury that occurs when the ankle twists or turns beyond its normal range.
– Knee sprain: This is another common injury that can occur when the knee is twisted or turned.
– Shin splints: This injury is usually caused by overuse and can result in pain along the shinbone.
– Shoulder Injuries: This is an injury that may occur due to the overuse of sports equipment or improper technique when playing sports.
– ACL tear: This can be a result from twisting one’s knee while playing sports and will require immediate medical attention from sports medicine doctors who specialize in treating these injuries.
– MCL injury: These are usually caused by an impact, such as a fall, and can result in pain, swelling, and instability in the knee.
– Tendonitis: This condition is caused by inflammation of a tendon and can result in pain and swelling.
– Muscle strain: This type of injury occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn.
– Broken bones (fractures)
– Sprains or strains of ligaments, tendons, joints, or muscles
– Dislocations of a bone from its normal position in relation to other bones cause pain and trouble moving joints
– Concussion: This is a type of head injury that can occur when the head hits an object or is hit hard.
Treatment of sports injuries
Sports medicine doctors use various treatments to help athletes recover from sports-related injuries. Treatment plans may include ice and heat therapies, electrical stimulation, ultrasound therapy, and massage. Surgery is not always necessary for sports-related injuries. If the injury is severe enough, the sports medicine doctor who is an orthopedic surgeon can help you diagnose and treat these injuries. In most cases, physical therapists will be needed to help after surgery in order to restore function and range of motion in the injured area.
Some sports medicine doctors use the following treatments to help athletes recover from sports-related injuries:
- Physical Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- ACL reconstruction
- Meniscus Repair
- Arthroscopic Surgery
- Ankle Stabilization or Ligament Reconstruction
- Cartilage Restoration Techniques (Microfracture, OATS)
- Fracture Repair
- Splinting and Casting
- Joint Replacement Surgery
- Muscle Repair or Transplantation
- Tendon Repair (e.g., Achilles tendon)
How can sports medicine help me?
If you are an athlete or just like to stay active by playing recreational sports occasionally, then it is important to have a sports medicine physician as part of your healthcare team. They can help you prevent injuries from happening in the first place and provide treatment if an injury does occur. Many sports medicine doctors are also orthopedic surgeons, so they can perform surgery if necessary. Having a sports medicine doctor as part of your healthcare team gives you the best chance for staying healthy and injury-free while participating in sports or any physical activity!
If you are an athlete or just like to stay active by playing recreational sports occasionally, then it is important to have a sports medicine doctor as part of your healthcare team. They can help you prevent injuries from happening in the first place and provide treatment if an injury does occur. In some cases, physical therapy will be needed after surgery in order to restore function and range of motion in the injured area.
Sports medicine doctors are an important part of any athlete’s health team. They can help prevent injuries from happening and provide treatment if they do occur. Sports medicine doctors are also orthopedic surgeons, so they can perform surgery if necessary. Having a sports medicine doctor as part of your healthcare team gives you the best chance for staying healthy and injury-free while participating in sports or any physical activity!