What Does a Sports Medicine Doctor Do?

Being a physical person or enjoying athletic sports means you’re likely familiar with sports medicine doctors, whether you’ve been to see one or told that you may need to. People have a lot of preconceived notions regarding sports medicine physicians, a popular one being that you likely only hear of them as working for professional sports teams or in athletic programs for universities. 

To help clear up some ideas regarding sports medicine doctors and better equip you in the event you may need one, read below and learn exactly what a sports doctor does.

What is a Sports Medicine Doctor?

A sports medicine doctor is a type of primary care physician who is specially trained to diagnose and treat injuries that occur while playing sports or have a type of musculoskeletal injury. A doctor who specializes in these types of injuries falls under the orthopedic doctor category, which means if you’ve ever seen orthopedic physicians before, then you’ve likely been treated by a sports medicine doctor as well. 

You could consider sports medicine doctors as the midway between a primary care doctor and an orthopedic surgeon, as they do their best to avoid surgery wherever possible. This doesn’t mean that a sports medicine doctor isn’t trained in surgical procedures. Some physicians specialize in sports-related injuries and perform surgery, but they often recommend an orthopedic surgeon when a procedure is unavoidable, usually in the same practice as themselves. 

Are Sports Medicine Doctors Only For Athletes?

Not at all, sports medicine physicians are trained to treat and provide therapy for musculoskeletal injuries that occur during a range of exercises and sports. They are also well versed in sharing how to prevent these injuries, whether it be for children in an athletic program or adults who are active in working out, yoga, or sports. A sports medicine physician is an orthopedic doctor who is deeply familiar with musculoskeletal injuries that happen in the course of these activities, which is where they derive the name. A sports doctor is, essentially, an orthopedic doctor. 

Injuries Treated by Sports Medicine Physicians

There is a wide range of injuries that can occur while playing sports or working out, but some are more common than others. To give you a clearer idea of what a sports medicine doctor does, here are three injuries that are frequently diagnosed and treated by them:

Achilles Tendon Rupture
When an extreme amount of pressure is placed on the back of the lower leg or via foot impact, like a landing jump, you can rupture or tear your Achilles tendon. This is often accompanied by a sudden and sharp pain in the heel with a snapping sound heard. 

Ankle Sprain
This injury is due to the ligaments that connect and surround the bones of the ankle being stretched or twisted severely in an unusual way. The ligaments can be torn with a sprain and symptoms of an ankle sprain include swelling, pain, and limited range of motion.

Rotator Cuff Tear
This injury affects the group of muscles and tendons that support the shoulder joint. It’s caused by repetitive over-the-head motions, like tennis players or baseball pitchers throwing. A torn rotator cuff is especially likely if the repetitive motions are done incorrectly and come in two varieties: a partial tear or total tear, the latter almost certainly requiring surgery. A rotator cuff tear usually causes a dull pain or ache in the shoulder, sleeping difficulty, and arm weakness to the point where putting on a shirt or jacket is difficult. 

When to See a Sports medicine Doctor

Like visiting your primary care doctor for a wellness visit or check-up, you don’t have to be suffering from an injury to see sports medicine physicians. Many active people and athletes will visit their doctor to improve their overall fitness, learn to enhance their performance in an activity, learn techniques to avoid sports-related injuries, and how to maintain their active lifestyle in later life. 

We at Proliance Surgeons Everett Bond & Joint are dedicated to treating sports-related injuries and ensuring our patients have the knowledge to avoid them entirely. By delivering the highest quality of care and expertise, we better the community and keep our neighbors active for as long as they can and choose to enjoy athletics. If you are interested in learning how to protect your bones and joints or are suffering from an injury, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Scroll to Top