What is Sports Medicine, and How Can it Help You?

Young female patient wearing kinesio tape on her shoulder exercising with a professional physical therapist

Defining Orthopedic Sports Medicine and When to See a Sports Medicine Doctor in Wichita

According to the most recent reporting by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of the US population is engaged in sports or some kind of physical activity. Exercise and playing sports is a common way to stay physically fit, engage in healthy competition, and have recreational fun. Sports come in all varieties, ranging from high-intensity (football, basketball) to low-intensity (golf, bowling).

What’s great about sports is that there is a sport out there for everyone. You don’t have to be young or in the best physical shape of your life to play. There are plenty of sports that cater to all ages and ability levels.

Of course, playing a sport or engaging in physical activity means that you are going to assume at least some risk of getting injured. By playing a sport, you are effectively challenging your body, and not all bodies are up to the challenge. According to a study performed by John Hopkins medicine, there are more than 3.5 million sports-related injuries per year among children and teens.

As you’d expect, adults and seniors also get injured when exercising and playing sports. In those cases, it’s best to seek the help of a sports medicine doctor who specializes in orthopedic sports medicine.

What is Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine is a specific concentration of medicine that focuses on the prevention and treatment of sports-related injuries. One big misconception about sports medicine is that it’s just for professional athletes; that is actually not the case. Anyone who plays a sport or is engaged in physical activity can consult with the sports medicine doctor. Whether you’re a casual jogger or a full-fledged professional athlete, you can take advantage of orthopedic sports medicine.

What makes a sports medicine doctor distinct from an orthopedic doctor is that sports medicine focuses on those specific injuries incurred during competitive play or exercise. For instance, a sports medicine doctor or athletic trainer would handle a condition like tennis elbow, which is a very common sports injury.

Some other common sports injuries include:

  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Labral tears
  • SLAP tears
  • Fractures
  • MCL/ACL tears
  • Ankle sprains or fractures
  • Cartilage Lesions
  • Ligament injury (UCL tear)
  • Joint stiffness


What Should I Expect When I See a Sports Medicine Doctor?

If you are seeking the help of a sports medicine doctor, then that means you have either already incurred an injury or suspect something is wrong with a joint, ligament, bone, or muscle group. You don’t have to wait until you’re injured to see a sports medicine doctor. The sooner you get medical attention, the better chance you have of a speedy recovery and preventing further injury.

During your first appointment with your sports medicine doctor, they will take a detailed medical history and ask you questions about your problem area. They will also perform a full examination of the joint or injured area, and they might run some additional tests like x-rays or an MRI.

Once your sports medicine doctor fully understands the extent of your injury or problem area, they will then develop a treatment plan tailored to you. With something like a repetitive use injury, at-home treatment methods, such as ice, rest, and compression, often resolve the issue. However, for more serious injuries, you may require athletic training, physical therapy, activity modification, and possibly even surgery, which is the last resort in a series of treatment methods.

Whatever the case may be, just know that the goal of your sports medicine doctor is to get you feeling like 100% again so that you may resume your normal activities of sports and exercise. Athletic trainers, which work with sports medicine doctors, can help educate you on how to prevent sports injuries from occurring in the first place.

Finding a Sports Medicine Doctor Near You in the Wichita Area

Fortunately, the concentrations of orthopedic sports medicine and professional physical therapy are widely available. To find a clinic that specializes in sports medicine near you, look no further than the medical professionals at Mid-America Orthopedics Wichita. We have a full staff of sports medicine doctors, physical therapists, and athletic trainers who are specially trained in working with professional and recreational athletes alike.

Get in touch with our orthopedic sports medicine team today by calling us at (316) 630-9300 or email us directly using the contact form on our website.