Athletes come in all sizes, ages, levels, and from all types of backgrounds. However, one thing that is problematic with almost all athletes at any level of competition is their lack of understanding about the benefit of seeing a sports medicine specialist.
Most athletes who are not competing at a professional level may not even realize there are specialists in sports medicine. Most athletes, including kids involved in sports, simply end up seeing their family doctor or, in some situations, going to an emergency room for x-rays if a fracture is suspected.
When to Choose a Sports Medicine Doctor
To help athletes understand when to see a sports medicine specialist, think of the typical model for medical treatment. For a minor injury, you would first go see you family doctor, particularly if your insurance plan requires you to do so. Then, if the doctor believes there are complications or issues beyond his or her expertise, a referral to a specialist is in order.
Additionally, if you have seen your family doctor and the pain, discomfort, swelling, or joint mobility is worse or not improving, a sports medicine specialist can provide a good second opinion.
Expertise and Training
There is no specific board certification available for those doctors offering sports medicine specialization, but there is a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine available to doctors.
Most doctors with this designation will have extensive knowledge of kinesthesiology, or the study of movement, as well as biomechanics, which is the specifics of how each part of the musculoskeletal systems works when we walk and move.
Not all health care providers offering specialization in sports medicine are doctors. They may also be physical therapists who specialize in working with patients recovering from muscle strain, sprains, and injuries, as well as broken bones and other types of injury, disease or trauma.
Often, these professionals teach the individual how to move more efficiently to minimize the chance of re-injury, especially if the problem was created by repetitive movement. This is particularly true with sports such as tennis, baseball, or even basketball where the same movements are repeated over and over again.
Stretching, biomechanics, and rebuilding muscle are also included in physical therapy. These sports medicine professionals may work with athletes at all competitive levels, including people who may have had a one-time injury or have suffered for a longer period with joint or muscle stiffness or pain.
To book an appointment with one of our sports medicine professionals, see us online at www.suburbanortho.com. At Suburban Orthopaedics, we work with athletes of all ages and levels to provide a customized treatment plan for recovery.
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