January has come to a close, and many will be starting exercise programs to get back in shape. Unfortunately, some will sustain an injury, which derails those plans. To overcome this setback and get back on track, you may want to visit a sports medicine specialist.
Sports medicine, or sports and exercise medicine as it’s also called, is the branch of medicine that deals with fitness and the prevention and treatment of injuries. While team physicians have been around for a long time, the sports medicine field is a relatively young specialty, having only become prominent in the past thirty years. Sports medicine specialists tend to be either primary care physicians who deal with acute injuries and illnesses associated with exercise or orthopedic surgeons who specialize in the treatment of sports injuries. In both cases, the doctor has additional training and certification in sports and exercise medicine, and his or her practice is focused on the care of athletes and physically active people.
Sports medicine physicians work closely with other specialists, including physical therapists, trainers, and chiropractors to coordinate care for the patient. They can prescribe therapy both for minor injuries and post-operative rehabilitation. Additionally, some physicians subspecialize in performance medicine. These individuals are experts in increasing physical capacity. They work one on one with patients interested in improving performance.
You don’t have to be an athlete to see a sports medicine physician. Anyone who is active can sustain a sports injury. Probably the most common condition seen is a routine sprain or strain. This is an injury to a ligament or tendon that results in pain and swelling at the site. This can be evaluated by most physicians as well as other allied health professionals. The treatment for sprains and strains can be remembered by the mnemonic R.I.C.E, for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Anti-inflammatories can also be useful in the treatment of these conditions.
Tears of major structures such as the ACL or rotator cuff are more serious injuries. These frequently result in debilitating pain and loss of function of the affected joint. In these cases, surgery by an orthopedist is often required. A prolonged course of rehabilitation is frequently necessary to regain the previous level of activity.
An injury which has received a significant amount of attention recently is a concussion. A concussion is a deceleration injury of the brain resulting in a myriad of symptoms, including headaches, memory loss, feelings of being in an altered state, and sensitivity to light. Concussions are serious injuries. Athletes should not return to competition after sustaining a concussion and should wait at least one week after their symptoms resolve before resuming participation.
It’s estimated that inactivity in this country leads to approximately $30 billion in healthcare spending annually, so it’s important to stay physically active. Studies show that as little as 20 minutes of exercise a day improves one’s physical and mental well-being. Even low intensity activities such as walking, dancing, gardening and yoga can have tremendous health benefits. So get moving, and if an injury slows you down, a sports medicine specialist can get you back on track.
Doctor Jonathan L. Grantham is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in general orthopedics and sports medicine, with an emphasis on ACL Reconstruction, Rotator Cuff Surgery and Arthroscopy of the shoulder, knee, hip, elbow, and ankle. He is one of Ortho Four States 10 Fellowship Trained and Board Certified orthopedic surgeons, on a mission to restore patients’ quality of life.
ON A MISSION TO RESTORE PATIENTS’ QUALITY OF LIFE | Orthopaedic Specialists of the Four States (Ortho Four States)
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