Many individuals have been taking notice to the numerous benefits available through sports medicine. There is a diverse community of professionals catering to the wellness and performance needs of those who enjoy an active lifestyle. The primary focus of all that is sports medicine is post-injury rehabilitation and injury prevention. Ranging from medical doctors to physical therapists, surely there is a practice that is suitable for you!
What Career Paths Are Classified Under Sports Medicine?
As previously mentioned, there are various professions that fall within the spectrum of sports medicine. Here is a breakdown of the expert individuals you may encounter while pursuing treatment or advice regarding wellness and athletic performance.
Primary care doctors and orthopedic surgeons: While a majority of injuries can be well-assessed by a primary care physician, there is a sports medicine fellowship available to doctors and orthopedic surgeons after they have completed residency in another area of study. After completing this fellowship, however, primary care doctors still won’t be qualified to perform surgery. This is where orthopedic surgeons come in! There are other specialized fields worthy of mention such as osteopathic physicians, who concentrate on musculoskeletal therapy and bariatricians, who assist in patient’s weight management.
Physical therapists: Oftentimes doctors or surgeons will refer patients to follow up with a physical therapist. They evaluate every injury and prescribe a tailored treatment plan for your path to recovery. In addition to the exercises during each appointment, physical therapists will also provide you with an assortment of exercises to perform at home.
Chiropractors: The spine can become misaligned in various scenarios. The most publicly acknowledged is the shifting of vertebrae from an accident or fall. It’s not difficult to understand how the neck and back can be shifted from optimum alignment. Chiropractors are trained to make necessary adjustments in the upper or lower spine to relieve symptoms of chronic discomfort or pain that may hinder your range of motion or athletic capabilities.
Certified athletic trainers: You may first be seen by a certified athletic trainer (also referred to as an AT) if you become injured while participating in a sport at school or on any type of team. These sports medicine authorities are often the first to analyze an injury. In turn, they issue first aid, including taping or bracing to further protect injuries. They also are responsible for referring athletes to a suitable physician. What’s more, they determine when an injured player will be capable of participating again.
Nutritionists: The importance of diet has become a popular topic in recent years. Many people have gained a strong interest in how the consumption of select nutrients benefits the body. This undoubtedly translates into athletic performance as well! Nutritionists, also referred to as dietitians, are certified to deliver advice in regards to healthy eating and often will plan meals for individuals or entire sports teams.
Podiatrists: A podiatrist is a medical doctor responsible for diagnosing and tending to all conditions involving the foot along with the ankle and leg. Since an athletic lifestyle carries some inherent risk of injury, podiatrists often see active types as patients. Some injuries require highly specialized knowledge, and aches and pains due to sports or physical activity are most likely to occur in this region of the body.
As you can see, there are so many accessible options within the sports medicine category. The first step is to determine your personal needs and goals. The right professional will be happy to guide you along the path to a speedy and lasting recovery (or injury prevention)!
This guest post was provided by Biddulph, Huntsman & Dalling Orthopedic Surgery, serving Eastern Idaho for over 30 years.