Sports Medicine – All You Need to Know
Sports Medicine is used to help sports persons improve their athletic performance or recover from an injury and prevent future injuries. Whether you are an amateur athlete that wants to increase athletic performance or a professional athlete that has suffered an injury and want a quick recovery, sports medicine specialists can help you out in many ways. Here is a detailed overview of what sports medicine is and what sports medicine specialists can do.
Sports and Exercise Medicine (SEM), commonly known as sports medicine, is a branch of medicine that is concerned with physical injuries resulting due to sports and exercise. The primary application of sports medicine is to help people exercise safely and effectively to achieve the best out of their exercise programs.
Apart from helping people train efficiently, sports medicine also deals with a wide range of sports injuries, including fractures, tears, sprains, dislocations, and other acute injuries. Sports medicine specialists also treat chronic injuries like tendonitis, overtraining syndrome, and degenerative diseases. In general, sports medicine specialists have general medical education combined with the general principles of sports, exercise, and nutrition. A team of sports medicine specialists can include physicians, surgeons, sports psychologists, nutritionists, personal trainers, nutritionists, and physical therapists. A very large number of sports injuries are non-surgical, and these physicians can expedite referral to an orthopedic sports surgeon or chiropractic clinic when indicated and can help guide referrals to appropriate rehabilitative care and ancillary services as needed.
A very large number of sports injuries are non-surgical, and these physicians can expedite referral to an orthopedic sports surgeon or chiropractic clinic when indicated and can help guide referrals to appropriate rehabilitative care and ancillary services as needed.
Sports Medicine Specialists (SMS)
Sports medicine specialists are experts in medical, functional, and therapeutic aspects of the body that help athletes improve their performance or recover from an injury. Sports medicine specialists are not necessarily medical specialists and can consist of non-medical professionals that have significant knowledge about medical aspects of sports and exercise. Some standard sports medicine specialists include:
- Physical therapists: They help people recover from injuries.
- Certified athletic trainers: They help people restore strength and full functionality after an injury.
- Nutritionists: They help people maintain a healthy weight and a healthy, nutritious diet.
When to Consult?
If you are an amateur athlete that wants to increase your athletic performance, you can consult a sports medicine specialist. You can also seek help from an SMS if you have sustained an injury and are looking for a quick recovery and strength restoration.
Other Sports Medicine Professionals
Apart from sports medicine specialists, sports medicine also includes:
- Sports Medicine Physicians
- Sports Psychologists
- Sports Science Specialists
A brief overview of these sports medicine categories is given below.
Sports Medicine Physicians (SMP)
Sports medicine physicians, unlike SMS, are medical professionals and hold expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries and illnesses. In most cases, SMPs are needed when an athlete sustains a severe sports injury that requires medical attention. In general, sports medicine physicians are certified in emergency & internal medicine, orthopedics, and pediatrics, along with a certificate in sports medicine.
When to Consult?
- If you suffer heat-related injuries like concussion.
- If you are suffering from acute or chronic illness like diabetes or asthma.
- If you are facing issues with your weight, diet, nutrition, or supplements.
- If you want to prevent injuries or are not sure about your recovery.
Sports Psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with the mental and emotional disturbances and needs of athletes. Emotional stability is vital in professional sports, and teams employ sports psychologists to prepare the team mentally and help it overcome emotional challenges. Sports psychologists use tools like stress management, psychotherapy, and goal management to help athletes maintain strong mental and emotional balance.
When to Consult?
If you are suffering from sports-related stress like performance pressure or under confidence, you can consult a sports psychologist. A sports psychologist can help you regulate anxiety and improve your focus towards a specific goal.
Sports Science Specialists
Sports science or exercise science deals with the principals of psychology, physiology, and anatomy. The sports science field is relatively newer and focuses on human movement and physical activity. This field consists of physiological response to training, comparative effectiveness of training programs and exercise regimes, and the effects and side-effects of performance-enhancing supplements.
When to Consult
You can consult a sports science specialist if you are not achieving results from your training program. You can also consult a sports science specialist if you want assistance regarding a performance-enhancing supplement or drug.
Further Developments in Sports Medicine
Sports medicine is a newer field that requires a lot of research and development. Constant developments are taking place, including:
- Advanced diagnostics like sports concussion assessment tools
- Rehabilitation technologies like microcurrent wound dressing, platelet-rich plasma therapy
- Stem cell therapies for regenerating skeletal muscle and joint cartilage
Sports injuries are common and require a specific line of medical professionals that specialize in sports-related injuries and illnesses. Sports medicine is continuously evolving, with new branches and areas being discovered to help athletes and sportspersons increase their performance.