Sports medicine doctors are so much more than just those people that run in from the sidelines when a football player gets hurt (though they do that as well). These physicians are orthopedic specialists who are very skilled at quickly diagnosing and treating sports-related injuries. In an effort to help you better understand what sports medicine doctors do when they aren't at the big games, here are a few examples of common injuries they treat.
Tennis elbow is a tear or strain of the tendon that connects the forearm to the elbow. If you think about someone playing tennis, there are many motions where the hand is turning from a palm-up position to a palm down position. This turning of the forearm can cause micro-tears in the tendon over time, which are extremely painful and limit your range of motion. Sports medicine physicians can treat this injury by braces, injections, or even surgery, though rest is usually the best way to treat tennis elbow initially.
Rotator Cuff Problems
The rotator cuff is a tendon that keeps the humerus (the bone of the upper arm) firmly planted in the shoulder joint. The tendon attaches the muscles of the shoulder to the arm bone. Should this tendon be injured, the shoulder joint will become loose and painful, and will probably make a grinding sound whenever the shoulder is used. Rotator cuff injuries are very common in athletes who throw objects. Your sports medicine physician may treat rotator cuff problems with an injection of steroids, or they may refer you to a physical therapist.
Sprains and Strains
One of the most common things that sports medicine doctors treat is ankle sprains and strains. Before most sporting events, you will often find these doctors working to tape up ankles in order to avoid these problems, to begin with. Ankle sprains and strains are extremely common since there are many tendons and ligaments holding the ankle together. Should any of these tendons or ligaments be stretched or torn, walking will be very painful or out of the question. The best treatment for an ankle sprain is to avoid it altogether.
In conclusion, a sports medicine doctor can do way more than just what you see on TV. If you have any issues with current or past sports injuries, see a sports medicine doctor near you. You can either contact their office directly or ask your primary care physician for a referral.