Seven Ways Sports Medicine Can Help Your Sports Injury

All that locker room rhetoric about sweat, tears, and the rest would be lost on the athlete or weekend warrior without a means to quickly recover from injuries. Recognizing that athletes are a different breed, physicians have been specializing in sports medicine for over 50 years. Following are seven ways they can help active people return to full function:

1. Tissue Healing Protocols

While most athletes have the RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) formula seared into their minds as the catch-all intervention following injury, there is more to the story. Dependent on tissue type, sports medicine physicians are acutely aware of the protocols for progressing from pain and swelling management to resisted exercise for maximal tissue healing.

2. Teaching Proper Biomechanics

Many musculoskeletal injuries are actually impact-free, resulting from poor biomechanics developed from childhood. The prevalence of ACL tears in young female athletes, for example, is partially due to a wider pelvis, but also because of muscle imbalance. Sports medicine physicians are trained to identify and correct these problems.

3. Joint Mobilization

Remember being sore in muscles you didn’t know you had? The sports medicine physician can identify and address soft tissue restrictions in the same way. Even if it is two joints up from your ankle injury, mobilizing that hip that you didn’t even know was restricted could eliminate the compensation pattern that injured your ankle.

4. Activity Pacing and Dietary Changes

Every active person knows hydration affects performance and likelihood of injury. However, the sports-minded physician can actually recommend a diet, generally rich in magnesium and potassium for muscle activation, and hydration plan specific to your activity level.

5. Proper Use of Orthotics

PTs and sports medicine physicians often see patients arrive to their first appointment wearing their homemade brace upside down and backwards. Sports medicine practitioners can prescribe, fit, and even fabricate orthotics for you if a prosthetist is nearby.

6. Screening Services

For injury prevention, many sports medicine doctors provide screening services for young athletes. If anything is amiss in this general “systems check” of major muscle groups, they will educate the patient to help address the deficit.

7. Joint Protection Strategies

Sports medicine physicians do not want to see you more than once. They will discharge you with a “take home package” of information you need to protect your joints from further harm, emphasizing exercise as self-treatment.

Most importantly, sports medicine professionals know the two most important things to active individuals: quick healing time, and a full return to function. Their specialization empowers them to share these interests with you as they coach you through the healing process.