If you live a particularly active lifestyle, you’ve probably heard the terms “sports medicine” and “sports medicine physician” or even “sports doctor.” You might have also assumed that these physicians and specialists only treat professional or college-level athletes.
A sports medicine physician actually specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and high-impact injuries of all kinds, whether the injuries were sustained while playing sports or cleaning the house or working on the yard. Musculoskeletal injuries involve the muscles, bones, joints, and all related tissues, while sports injuries also include cuts and concussions.
A sports medicine physician does not just diagnose and treat sports-related injuries, they can also help you prevent injury and excel in the activities you enjoy the most. Essentially, they treat and maintain the health of the whole person, not just repairing the injury.
Injuries Treated by Sports Physicians
A sports medicine physician is specially trained to treat emergency-level injuries as well as overuse injuries. They are ready to handle musculoskeletal issues, superficial injuries, and internal injuries due to impact.
These injuries can be categorized as an acute injury (due to sudden impact) or an overuse injury. Let’s take a look at the differences between these injuries and how they’re treated:
A sports medicine physician can treat injuries that are often a result of a single traumatic event, such as a fall or a collision. Acute injuries can affect any tissue or organ in the body.
Some examples of acute sports injuries are:
- Sprained ankle
- Strained hamstring (calf muscle)
- Broken wrist
- Cuts and bruises
- Torn ligaments
- Dislocated joints
Not only will you receive treatment by these specialized doctors, but sports medicine physicians are also trained in injury prevention. A sports medicine practice will have a physical therapist available to teach you physical therapy exercises that can help to provide strength training for preventing injury, as well as exercises and stretches to regain full functionality after an injury.
Unlike acute injuries, overuse injuries develop over time. For instance, improper training and poor technique can lead to overuse injuries.
Rapid acceleration is one of the most common causes of overuse sports injuries, such as jumping into play without warming up or an abrupt increase in intensity of activity. The pressure builds on a specific part of the body, which eventually can cause pain.
Overuse injuries may also be due to anatomical factors such as too-high or too-low arches in the feet. Examples of overuse sports injuries are:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfer’s elbow
- Achilles tendonitis
- Jumper’s knee
- Shin splints
- Rotator cuff tendonitis
An overuse injury tends to get worse over time without proper treatment or intervention. This may include cutting down the intensity of the activity or cross-training to allow recovery of the injury.
Overuse sports injuries are challenging for doctors to diagnose and treat, which is why it’s best to leave it in the specialized care of a sports medicine physician.
Sports Medicine Podiatrist for Foot and Ankle Injuries in South Texas
If you’ve sustained a foot or ankle injury from playing sports, exercising, or generally being active, our sports medicine podiatrists at The Podiatry Group of South Texas are here to provide the highest level of podiatric care. We treat sports-related foot injuries such as ankle sprains, foot trauma, fractures, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis. We also treat other foot injuries such as diabetic foot.