A sports medicine specialist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats conditions of the musculoskeletal system, including your bones, muscles, and joints. Unlike an orthopedic surgeon who treats musculoskeletal system disorders, sports medicine specialists focus on more conservative and non-operative therapies to treat and prevent injuries.
What conditions do sports medicine specialists treat?
Despite its name, sports medicine specialists treat a wide variety of conditions that affect various people. Some of the common conditions sports medicine specialists treat include:
What procedures do sports medicine specialists perform?
A sports medicine specialist’s goal is to help you prevent and recover from injury without needing an operation. Some of the procedures they perform include:
In the event surgery is necessary, a sports medicine specialist can refer you to an orthopedic surgeon.
When should I speak with a sports medicine specialist?
Some of the most common reasons for speaking with a sports medicine specialist include treatment for acute and chronic sports injuries.
Acute sports injuries happen suddenly, often when exercising, playing a sport, or completing compound movement activities. Symptoms of acute injuries include:
Chronic sports injuries worsen and develop through repetition and time, usually from regularly performing an activity or training too hard. Symptoms of chronic injuries include:
What can I expect from my first sports medicine specialist appointment?
A typical first exam with a sports medicine specialist will include a physical exam that tests your ability to perform activities safely. Your doctor will show you a combination of exercises and any required equipment. Typically, your sports medicine specialist will also provide information about nutrition and other healthy lifestyle activities.
What questions should I ask my sports medicine specialist?
It’s important that you prepare for your appointment with a sports medicine specialist. To help you get started, we’ve created a list of good questions to ask your doctor for some of the most common visit types:
Diet and nutrition
You may use these questions as a starting point, but feel free to add your own. A good practice is to also ask for additional information and take notes during your appointment.