Sports Medicine is a division of internal medicine that usually deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases associated with physical activity and athletics. It includes assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of athletes’ health and injury histories. Common diseases that are commonly included in sports medicine are arthritis, migraine, cardiac problems, bone fractures, Lupus, tendonitis, shoulder pain, and facial muscle strain. It is also known to treat common problems such as dehydration, heat stroke, and head trauma. The most commonly performed surgical procedures on patients who require medical attention for this field are orthopedic surgery, cardiopulmonary surgery, and neurosurgery.
Sports injuries are usually the result of physical abuse that takes place during an athletic competition or a recreational activity. Usually, minor injuries can be treated at home using ice, rest, and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or aspirin. However, serious injuries require prompt medical attention. Sports medicine services provide emergency care by evaluating the situation and then administering the appropriate treatment depending on the severity of the injury. This medical group specializes in treating acute injuries, preventing further injury, and providing rehabilitation services after an injury.
Sports accidents and injuries can occur in any contact sport, from basketball to swimming. Many of these accidents occur in competitive sports like football, basketball, track and field, softball, hockey, tennis, and lacrosse. In fact, there have been several recent reports of athletes sustaining traumatic brain injuries and death due to sports-related concussions and head injuries. Because the incidence of these accidents is very high in competitive sports, it is essential for every individual, especially athletes, to have a personal physician who is trained and specializes in sports medicine.
A personal physician can treat and diagnose traumatic injuries in athletes with the help of specialized technology. During the evaluation, the doctor will determine the nature of the injury, its location, severity, and implications for the patient. He will also examine the history of the sporting event and study the athlete’s practice habits and recovery time. This examination can tell the doctor if the patient requires surgery or if they can proceed with the physical therapy. Based on the exam results and consultation with the sports medicine specialist, the appropriate treatment is prescribed.
The basic function of the doctor is to help patients manage their symptoms and injury properly. They ensure that athletes are always examined thoroughly to spot any kind of sports-related injuries that can lead to long-term complications. The physical examination involves testing muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance. The doctor may ask the patient to complete a battery of tests, including laboratory tests, x-rays, and blood tests. An ECG or electrocardiograph is also used to detect possible heart problems.
One of the most common treatments recommended by the sports medicine specialist is exercise and rehabilitation. It is common for people to suffer from swelling, pain, and fractures as a result of strenuous exercise or physical contact. For athletes suffering from shin splints, for instance, orthotics is often recommended. These devices help to correct misalignment that can lead to stress fractures. Other common devices used by orthopedic doctors for treating shin splints include customized shoes and braces.
Orthopedic sports medicine services are also very popular. This field is focused on preventing injuries from occurring. In doing so, it helps to reduce the number of sports injuries, which in turn, prevents athletes from missing time from practices, games, and events. For some, orthopedic doctors are called upon to treat sprains, strains, ligament tears, dislocations, bruises, and ankle sprains. Some of these injuries require surgery, but most can be treated without any intervention. For people suffering from torn ligaments, for example, physical therapy combined with conservative measures such as ice, compression, and elevation can often cure the condition without any intervention.
Many athletes and active individuals wonder when they should see a sports medicine healthcare provider for treatment. The answer is almost always as soon as possible after an injury occurs. Injuries can occur at any time, even while participating in an athletic competition. For that reason, it is important to be seen immediately following any injury, whether it involves a fall or a hit. With the right care, injured individuals can get back to the physical activity they love and avoid unnecessary pain and suffering.