Sports Medicine, also known as sports and exercise medicine (SEM), is a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment and prevention of sports and exercise-related injuries and improving fitness and performance. The main objective of sports medicine is to help individuals engage in sports and exercise in a safe and effective manner to accomplish their training goals.
A sports medicine team may comprise medical and non-medical specialists, such as physicians, surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, sports psychologists, nutritionists, coaches, and personal trainers. Most sports medicine physicians deal with non-operative musculoskeletal conditions. Others are orthopedic surgeons who have decided to focus their practice on the surgical treatment of sports injuries.
Sports medicine is not a medical specialty in itself. Most sports medicine doctors are certified in internal medicine, emergency medicine, family medicine, orthopedics, or another specialty and then acquire additional training with a 2-year fellowship in sports medicine to be certified as a sports medicine specialist.
Sports medicine specialists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of sports- or exercise-related injuries and illness. A sports medicine specialist focuses on the medical, therapeutic, and functional aspects of exercise and works directly with athletes to improve their overall sports performance. Although sports medicine specialists work exclusively with athletes, the majority will treat anyone who needs treatment for a sports or exercise-related injury.
Sports medicine specialists treat a wide range of physical conditions, including acute traumas such as fractures, sprains, strains, and dislocations. They also treat chronic overuse injuries including tendonitis, degenerative diseases, and overtraining syndrome.
Sports injuries are injuries sustained while playing indoor or outdoor sports such as football, basketball, hockey, baseball, and tennis, or while exercising. Sports injuries can result from sports accidents, inadequate training, improper use of protective devices, or insufficient stretching or warm-up exercises. Common sports injuries include bone, muscle, ligament and tendon injuries that commonly involve joints such as the shoulders, knees, hips, ankles and feet.
Some of the common types of sports injuries treated by sports medicine specialists include:
Treatment includes management of bruises, strains and sprains, fractures, dislocations, chronic injuries, torn shoulder ligaments, ACL ligament repair in the knee as well as cartilage and meniscal repairs. Surgery is mostly accomplished by minimally invasive methods and healing is expedited by physical therapy and a rehabilitation program to ensure a quick return to your sporting activities.
The most common non-surgical or conservative treatment recommended for sports injuries include:
Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) Therapy
Surgical treatment is employed when an individual has sustained serious sports injury by means of a severe fracture, bone displacement, and soft tissue tears not amenable to conservative treatment.
Some of the common surgeries performed on athletes include:
Some of the measures employed and advised by sports medicine specialists to prevent sports-related injuries include:
Severe pain in the shoulders while playing your favorite sports such as tennis, basketball and gymnastics may be because of torn ligament in shoulder or shoulder dislocation. These may be caused by overuse of shoulder while playing sports.
Fractures of the femur bone, labral tear and hip dislocation are some of the common sports injuries affecting the hip. Hip joint bears more weight and is more susceptible for injuries while playing sports. Hip injuries require immediate medical intervention to avoid further complications.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is major stabilizing ligament in the knee which may tear with over use of knee for playing sports. The ACL has poor ability to heal and may cause instability. Other common sports injuries in knee are cartilage damage and meniscal tear.
UPPER EXTREMITY AND HAND
Common sports injuries that may affect the hands and wrists include finger fractures, mallet finger, jammed finger, wrist sprains, tendinitis, and wrist fractures. Elbow injuries include Tennis elbow and Golfer’s elbow.
Foot and ankle injuries include the injuries in the leg below the knee and they are common while playing sports such as football, hockey, skating and in athletes. Common sports injuries include sprains and strains, ankle fractures, and Achilles tendinitis.