Sports Medicine Physicians: What They Do and How They Help

On an average more than eight million sports related injuries occur every year in the U.S. and 65% of these injuries occurred in the age group between 5 and 24 years. More men sustain sports related injuries than women. More than one third of such injuries occurred in athletic fields, sports facilities and playgrounds. Almost all highly-active athletes see sports medicine physicians in order to keep there body healthy and avoid injuries that come from overuse, misuse, and a lack of proper training.

According to the National Health Statistics report, most of the sports injuries are sustained during general exercise. Football, basketball, cycling and aerobics account for most other injuries.

Sports medicine physicians help with diagnose and treat activity or sports related injuries and ailments. They use manual techniques and work with physical therapists and trainers to prevent worsening of injuries, besides focusing on rehabilitation.

What Are The Services Offered By A Sports Medicine Physician?

Sports medicine physicians are trained in treating conditions related to head and neck, arm, shoulder, knee, leg, back and other conditions like exercise-induced asthma. Some of the specific services these physicians can treat include the following:

  • A pre-participation physical examination for athletes and physically active people
  • Assist in improving athlete and physical performance
  • Injury prevention
  • Treatment of acute conditions including joint sprains, dislocations and mild fractures
  • Rotator cuff tears and injuries
  • Shoulder impingement and frozen shoulder
  • Ankle sprains and ligament tears
  • Stress fractures
  • Concussions and brain injuries related to sports
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Exercise prescriptions for people who want to get fit and become more active
  • Helping athletes with decisions on returning to competitive sports

Shoulder injury: Shoulder impingement is one of the most common sports related injuries. Overuse of the shoulder in sports including swimming, tennis, golf and in occupations such as painting and carpentry often result in impingement. Impingement occurs when the rotator cuff tendons and the bursa become irritated and inflamed causing stiffness and pain.

Elbow injury: Overhand throwing particularly in activities like pitching in baseball or throwball leads to stress of the elbow joint. With continuous practice sessions and matches, the elbow does not get time to heal or recover, resulting in chronic stress. Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury and flexor tendinitis are some conditions that cause pain on the inside of the elbow while throwing or pitching.

Rotator cuff injury: The four muscles including supraspinatus, teres minor, infraspinatus and subscapularis form the rotator cuff and aid in providing stability and movement of the shoulder joint. These muscles are supported by tendons and the bursa which is a sac filled with fluid that can cushion the bones and muscles.

Falls and accidents can cause acute injury to the rotator cuff muscles and tendons resulting in surgery for rotator cuff tears. Pain while trying to lift the arm, or while sleeping at night and stiffness of the arm are the common symptoms.

The sports medicine physician usually orders a set of diagnostics including X-rays and MRI as needed along with other tests to determine the root cause of the injury.

Along with prescribing the necessary course of analgesics or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, the physician recommends the rehabilitation exercises and home exercise programs. The physician will also advise on surgery if needed and the time needed for recovery and rehabilitation.

If you are experiencing any symptoms or pain, take the time to see a registered sports medicine physician. It’s important to take proper care of your body, ensuring you’re healthy for the long run!

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