Injuries are the bane of every athlete — whether amateur or professional. Even if you’re not competitive, injuries aren’t pleasant! However, you don’t need to worry — sports medicine doctors can help you with injury diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. They can even do more. With a sports medicine doctor’s help, you can prevent future injuries by learning and implementing proper body mechanics, personalized training programs, and nutrition plans.
Here’s a closer look at how sports medicine physicians can support you in your fitness journey:
Diagnosis and Evaluation of Injuries
Sports medicine doctors can conduct tests to evaluate any injury you receive while exercising. They will typically begin with a physical exam, which involves inspecting the injured area for swelling, tenderness, pain, and deformation. Your doctor might also move your concerned limb in different directions to determine the extent of your injury.
Depending on the severity and complication of your injury, your sports medicine physician will recommend some imaging tests. Some of the tests are:
- X-ray: provides a clear view of the bones
- CT scan: reveals the condition of bones in joints
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): produces detailed 3D images of soft internal structures in the body
- Ultrasound: shows the state of ligaments and tendons
In the case of a concussion, your sports medicine doctor will carry out a neurological exam. It’s a way to evaluate your senses, balance, coordination, strength, and reflexes. In addition, they will conduct cognitive testing to check your concentration, memory, and recall ability. All of this can clue the doctor in on whether you have had serious damage due to the concussion.
Treatment of Injuries
Sports physicians will recommend the proper treatment for you depending on the diagnosis and evaluation of your injury. Generally, non-serious injuries only require rest, prescribed medication, or the use of assistive devices.
For example, a mild ankle sprain or knee pain may be treated at home using the R.I.C.E. method:
- Rest — avoid putting pressure on the affected area
- Ice — apply ice over the injury to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Compress — wrap the affected body part with a bandage or an athletic tape to decrease swelling
- Elevate — prop the injured area above heart level to promote blood circulation and healing
Your sports medicine physician will recommend a different procedure for more severe injuries like ligament tears, severe sprains and strains, dislocations, and fractures. The type of treatment you receive depends on the complication, urgency, and severity of your condition.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
Most of the time, sports medicine doctors recommend physical therapy for people who sustain injuries. Physicians suggest it so you can get back on track safely and recover with the guidance of a professional.
Physical therapy can help athletes regain their strength after an injury. This therapy includes stretching to improve flexibility and remove stiffness, and exercising to build up muscles. In addition, it helps restore coordination, range of motion, and strength lost due to the injury. Physical therapy may employ various techniques to aid the healing process, such as:
- Temperature therapy
- Controlled electric currents
Occupational therapy, on the other hand, can benefit people with severe injuries or significant degradation of their bodily functions. This kind of therapy helps you relearn daily skills you may have lost due to a disease or injury.
Prevention of Future Injuries
Aside from treating existing injuries, a sports medicine doctor can help reduce the risk of sports-related injuries in the future. They do so by educating you about how you can undergo physical activities safely.
They can help you figure out your limitations by assessing your physical capabilities. That includes your strength, flexibility, endurance, and form. In addition, they can give you reminders such as:
- Take warm-up and cooldown seriously.
- Wear proper protective athletic gear.
- Don’t ignore pain.
- Pace yourself instead of going too hard.
- Know your limits and don’t overexert.
- Set realistic goals.
- Rest and hydrate.
- Observe proper form and technique.
Performance Training and Nutrition
Sports medicine doctors can help you with performance training to improve your form, technique, and movement. They will recommend that you undergo a physical assessment and train for flexibility, strength, endurance, agility, and muscle building. Your performance training will also be tailored according to your goals and the sports you play.
Aside from that, sports medicine doctors can guide you when it comes to nutrition and hydration. Many athletes aren’t aware of their caloric intake and may end up not achieving their athletic goals. They will also help you determine the quantities and types of food you should eat to optimize your performance as an athlete.
Sports Medicine Doctors in St. Peters, O’Fallon, and Wentzville, MO
From diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation to giving you pointers on living a healthy and active lifestyle, a sports medicine doctor can support your athletic journey and much more.
At Advanced Bone & Joint, we make sure that our sports medicine services are comprehensive and patient-centered. You can entrust your care to our board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians, Dr. Brandon Larkin and Dr. Matthew Melander.
If you want to learn more about our sports medicine services, you can reach us at (636) 229-4222. You can also request an appointment with us using our online request form. We look forward to serving you!