Sports medicine can benefit more than just athletes

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Sports medicine is not just for competitive athletes. It can also benefit non-athletes.

Sports medicine is a broader term for a specialty of medicine that treats sports and non-sports injuries. These specialists provide care to everyone from professional athletes and “weekend warriors” to people who want to become active or begin an exercise program.

The goal of a sports medicine doctor is to help people get active or stay active, especially when they are sidelined by injury. As experts in physical activity and pain-free movement, they can treat every-day health conditions, including arthritis.

According to the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, a primary care sports medicine physician can be one who is board certified in emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or physical medicine/rehabilitation. They provide non-surgical treatment for musculoskeletal conditions.

Commonly, orthopedic surgeons are also trained in sports medicine and perform surgery.

Sports medicine physicians and orthopedic surgeons often serve as team physicians for sports programs competing at various levels. They can provide pre-participation physicals, and injury assessment and management. They coordinate care with other sports medicine team members, including athletic trainers, physical therapists, and surgical specialties.

Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania suggests seeing a sports medicine physician for any of the following conditions:

  • Acute injury – The physician can determine whether or not a sudden injury requires surgery.
  • Chronic Injury – Long-lasting injuries often improve or resolve with appropriate rehabilitation. The physician can identify and correct training errors or biomechanical abnormalities that hinder performance.
  • Injury Prevention – The physician can help individuals understand why they suffered an injury and how they can stay injury-free.
  • Performance Enhancement – Whether starting a new fitness program or seeking to maximize performance, the physician can connect individuals to a team of professionals, including physical therapists, registered dietitians, podiatrists, and more.