Sports medicine, also known as sports and exercise medicine, is a field of medicine that deals with physical fitness as well as the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries encountered during exercise and sporting activities.
This interdisciplinary branch of medicine particularly involves injury prevention, understanding exercise physiology, optimizing sports performance, and enhancing the rehabilitation of injuries.
Sports medicine is a blend of general medicine, orthopedics, sports science, exercise physiology, sports nutrition, and sports psychology.
What are the duties of a Sports Medicine Doctor?
Sports medicine specialists can be either primary care physicians or orthopedic surgeons with added qualifications in sports medicine. Orthopedic surgeons are specialized to treat non-operative problems, and also operate on athletes if required. Primary-care sports medicine doctors aren’t licensed to perform surgeries but can expedite referral to a surgeon when necessary. Sports medicine specialist surgeons and primary care physicians not only manage professional athletes but also work with children, teens, and adults who play sports to stay physically fit and active. The job duties of sports medicine specialists include:
- Diagnosing and treating sporting injuries
- Prescribing medication when required
- Devising and implementing rehabilitation strategies
- Helping people attain their goals by teaching safe and effective exercise strategies
- Making “return to play” decisions in sick or injured athletes
- Working alongside sports psychologists and sports nutritionists for professional and Olympic level athletes
- Addressing chronic illnesses that can impact physical performance, such as asthma and diabetes
Injuries addressed by Sports Medicine Specialists
Sports medicine specialists are skilled at preventing and treating a wide array of muscle, bone, and joint injuries, such as fractures, joint sprains, muscular strains, and dislocations. They also treat chronic overuse injuries, including shin splints, stress fractures, jumper’s knee, tennis elbow, Achilles tendinitis, and swimmer’s shoulder to name a few. Unlike sprains and strains that occur suddenly, overuse injuries evolve over time due to repetitive stress (micro-trauma) to the bones, tendons, and joints.
When to see a sports medicine specialist?
Minor sports injuries are likely to respond to over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications, rest, icing the injured site, and other conservative treatments over time. Nonetheless, we recommend touching base with your doctor if things don’t rapidly improve, to avoid overlooking any major injury.
At Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle, we have sports medicine doctors like Dr. Charlie Peterson who utilize their expertise and years of experience to treat all manner of sporting injuries, while ensuring that you learn and implement measures to prevent such injuries at the same time. Most injuries certainly don’t require surgery! However, if surgery is necessary for the best outcome, Dr. Peterson is happy to fully discuss this with you, and if you then choose, then expertly operate on the injured area.
Dr. Peterson is an ABOS (American Board of Orthopedic Surgery) certified orthopedic Surgeon with additional subspecialty fellowship training in Sports Medicine. Contact Orthopedic Specialists of Seattle to schedule an appointment with Dr. Peterson or one of our other highly trained Sports Medicine orthopedic surgeons.