An orthopedic sports medicine specialist treats and helps prevent orthopedic injuries caused by participation in sports or exercise. You do not need to be a professional in sports or athletics to benefit from treatment by a sports specialist. Sports medicine as a distinct medical profession has existed in professional sports for decades, but since the late 20th century has become more widespread and available to anyone who exercises, takes part in any physically demanding activity, or plays sports at any level.
Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that treats injuries of the skeleton and associated joints, ligaments, and muscles, and many orthopedic clinics now employ sports medicine specialists.
One of the major services of an orthopedic sports medicine specialist is to treat injuries occurring during sport or exercise. Typical injuries include tears and sprains in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee, muscle cramps and strains, ankle sprains, torn or sprained tendons, and joint dislocations.
As well as treating injuries, an orthopedic sports medicine clinic will also help condition and train athletes at all levels and give advice on how to improve fitness levels. Rehabilitation after serious injuries is another important service offered and its aim is to return to body to its optimum fitness and mobility as quickly as possible.
Orthopedic sports medicine specialists perform surgery when required. Operations include foot and ankle surgery, joint replacements and joint reconstructions.
Modern-day orthopedic surgery is as minimally invasive as possible and is often computer-assisted. One technique used is arthroscopic surgery, in which an arthroscope is inserted into the joint through a tiny incision. The surgeon can examine the joint and often treat the damaged tissue without any further incisions.
These advanced techniques reduce healing and rehabilitation time and allow patients to recover fully and return to their sport or exercise activities more quickly.
A period of rehabilitation is usually necessary during the time when the injury is healing. Accelerated rehabilitation programs ensure patients can return to their normal activities quickly but without jeopardizing complete healing.
Goal of Treatments
The goal of an orthopedic sports medicine specialist is summed up by Atlantic Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, who say their “greatest satisfaction comes from having the skill, ability and experience to give patients and athletes the opportunity to return to activities and sports they love.”
Orthopedic clinics often operate programs to help prevent sports injuries. One example is the Center for Orthopedic Research and Education (CORE Institute), which has as its motto: “Keep Life in Motion™!” As part of their commitment to the local region, the CORE Institute delivers educational lectures at high schools, work places, and sports clubs to help train people in how to avoid being injured. The lecturers also demonstrate how to play sports and exercise safely and efficiently.
The overall aim of orthopedic sports medicine is to help the body achieve the level of fitness it had before being injured and to prevent further injury. If you are injured while playing any sport, doing any form of exercise or physically demanding movement, then an orthopedic sports medicine clinic is the best place to seek out an experienced specialist.