What Is Sports Medicine?
If your child is injured while exercising, participating in a sport, or doing any
type of physical activity, you may be advised to see a sports medicine healthcare
provider for treatment.
About sports medicine specialists
Sports medicine healthcare providers have special training to restore function to
injured patients so they can get moving again as soon as possible. They are experts
in preventing illness and injury in active people. Sports medicine healthcare providers
do work with professional athletes. But they also treat children and teens involved
in sports and adults who exercise for personal fitness. Plus, they treat people who
have physically demanding jobs, like construction workers.
Sports medicine is not a medical specialty in itself. Most sports medicine healthcare
providers are certified in internal medicine, emergency medicine, family medicine,
or another specialty. They then get additional training. Others specialize in treating
injuries in children and teens, whose growing bodies can be quite different from those
of adults. They are generally board-certified in pediatrics or family medicine with
additional training in sports medicine. Some, but not all, sports medicine healthcare
providers have surgical training, too, usually as orthopedic surgeons.
Other experts who are not medical doctors may work with a sports medicine specialist
to provide care including:
Physical therapists. They help people rehabilitate and recover from injuries.
Certified athletic trainers. These trainers provide rehab exercise routines to help patients regain strength. They
also develop conditioning programs to prevent future injury.
Nutritionists. They may help with needed weight loss or weight gain. They can provide dietary advice
to help people improve their physical functioning.
Reasons to see a sports medicine specialist
Your child may see a sports medicine healthcare provider for an injury such as:
Knee and shoulder injury
Sports medicine healthcare providers can also give advice on nutrition, supplements,
exercise, and injury prevention.
When to call a sports medicine healthcare provider
If your child has a major injury during exercise or sports, it's probably best to
seek care right away at an emergency room. Don't wait to see a sports medicine specialist.
Signs of a major injury include severe pain, swelling, numbness, and an inability
to put any weight on the injured area. If none of these symptoms are present, have
your child rest at home and call your child's healthcare provider for guidance. You
may want to ask for a referral to a sports medicine specialist.
Most sports injuries don't need surgery. Treatment for a sports injury can include
taking pain relievers, putting ice on the injured area, and keeping it immobilized
with a cast or sling. In some cases, surgery may be needed to fix torn tissue or realign