With increased participation in recreational and professional sports, it is important to develop medical care that supports optimal performance for both athletes and non-athletes. The discipline of sports medicine focuses on injury prevention, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries of the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Physicians who specialize in sports medicine have extensive training in the management of these injuries and are often team physicians for interscholastic, intercollegiate, amateur or professional sports teams.
In addition to treating acute injuries, such as those suffered in collision sports or overuse injuries, such as stress fractures in the lower legs, doctors who specialize in sports medicine focus on helping individuals return to full fitness and prevent future injuries by promoting healthy lifestyles. These include providing nutrition and exercise guidance as well as educating patients on proper equipment use and safe practices.
Sports medicine specialists are also available to help the “weekend warrior” or industrial athlete who suffers a sports injury. These injuries are usually the result of repetitive movements in our occupations or daily activities.
Sports and exercise medicine (SEM) is a multi-disciplinary field that involves a number of health care professionals including allied health and exercise scientists, physical therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, psychologists, podiatry, and sports nutritionists. It is a recognized subspecialty of primary medical care and may be integrated with specialty disciplines such as cardiology, gynecology or psychiatry. The field has an interdisciplinary basis with a strong relationship to the field of orthopedics.