Athletes of all levels work with teams of specialists to maintain peak performance. Two of the medical professionals that are engaged at every level of an athlete’s development is sports medicine physicians and orthopedic doctors. Understanding the similarities and differences between the two areas of athletic health ensures that you have the resources that you need to achieve your goals.
What is Sports Medicine?
Sports medicine encompasses every facet of an athlete’s performance, such as:
- Asthma and other medical problems that interfere with oxygen intake
- Head injuries
- Muscle conditioning
- Stamina improvement
- Injuries related to excessive training
- Rehabilitation after injury or illness
Part of the education requirements to become a sports medicine physician includes a fellowship in sports medicine that lasts one to two years. This curriculum provides the practical experience that is needed to manage patients.
What is Orthopedics?
Orthopedics is a medical specialty that focuses on the musculoskeletal aspects of the body, including the muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Someone who is an orthopedic physician or surgeon can diagnose and treat conditions that affect these areas of the body.
Why Do I Need a Sports Medicine Physician and Orthopedic Physician?
A sports medicine physician has a global view of your health and how it impacts performance, recovery and other aspects. If you injure a part of your body that is covered under orthopedics, a sports medicine physician certainly can provide some level of diagnostics, but many injuries require a more in-depth understanding as to the specific nature of the injury. This is when you will need an orthopedic surgeon.
Can a Sports Medicine Physician Perform Surgery?
Performing surgical procedures is a key difference between a sports medicine physician and orthopedic surgeon. Sports medicine is a non-surgical specialty, and any surgical needs are referred to an orthopedic surgeon. Given the nature of sports medicine, you will work primarily with the sports medicine physician and see the orthopedic surgeon as needed.
Learn More About Sports Medicine. Contact Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery.
To learn more about sports medicine, ACL repair, podiatry and our other services, contact Sports, Occupational, and Knee Surgery to schedule a personal consultation. We have an office in San Antonio, as well as in Schertz, Texas, and you can contact us directly at (210) 696-9000.