When it comes to physical fitness, medical professionals who specialize in sports medicine have a broad range of skills and knowledge that can help patients maintain optimal health. They can also provide treatment for injuries related to exercise and activity. They are often multidisciplinary specialists, working with other experts in a variety of fields to ensure that patients get the best possible care and recovery.
Many people assume that a physician who practices sports medicine specializes in orthopedics, but they are actually trained to treat any musculoskeletal condition that arises from athletic or recreational activities. These can include injury to the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. They are also skilled in preventing injury by helping athletes understand what factors increase their risk, such as technique or anatomy, and how to train safely.
Specialists in sports medicine have a wide range of responsibilities and work with a team of professionals including orthopedic surgeons, emergency physicians, primary care doctors, physiatrists, gynecologists and cardiologists. Physiotherapists, physical therapists and certified athletic trainers are also important members of the team.
While a sports medicine doctor may work with professional athletes, they are also trained to help the “weekend warrior” who sustains an injury from their physical activity and needs expert guidance to return to their sport or exercise program quickly. In fact, many non-athletes seek out the care of a sports medicine professional because they want to avoid injury or improve their performance in the activities they enjoy.