The words “sports medicine” tend to speak for themselves. This is a branch of study and practice within the larger medical field that deals specifically with physical fitness and athletic ability. Sports medicine and exercise doctors are well versed in routine and common sports injuries like sprained ankles, ACL repair, or knee or hip replacements.
But what exactly do “orthopaedics sports medicine” doctors do that’s different from regular sports medicine? An orthopedic surgeon is someone who deals especially with issues of the musculoskeletal system — in other words, the parts of our body that let us move our bones and muscles.
It’s understandable to see how orthopaedics might lend itself to sports medicine. What are most sports about if not moving around? Doctors who practice both orthopaedics and sports medicine are highly specialized to provide care and advice to athletes in particular ways, including:
- Training: An orthopaedics/sports medicine specialist will likely concentrate efforts in a particular sport and often work with individual athletes to develop training programs most beneficial for improving athletic ability.
- Nutrition: A specialist will know what kind of food and dietary requirements will best suit the goals of the sport at hand — whether it’s building muscle for a boxer or providing sustained carbohydrate energy for a distance runner.
- Conditioning: With a thorough knowledge of body muscles and how they operate together, a specialist can recommend cross-training activities outside of the main sport to help condition and strengthen an athlete’s ability within their chosen field.
- Management: A specialist will often observe athletes on the field along with a team of other training specialists in order to assess performance, areas for increased conditioning or improvement, and how to prevent injury.
- Care: Injuries do happen in sports, and when they do, an orthopaedic sports medicine specialist will know how to handle healing, repair, and treatment — especially if they’ve been working closely with the athlete throughout their career.
The bridge between orthopaedics and sports medicine is plain to see. Doctors who are trained to understand how the body moves are best suited to help further sports-related efforts on the field to help athletes grow — by leaps and bounds!