What is Sports Medicine?
Sports medicine, also referred to as exercise science, is a focused study and application of the principals of physiology, anatomy, and psychology as they relate to human movement and physical activity. Exercise science is still quite young, and much of the field is focused on conducting research on the various adaptations to exercise or the lack of exercise, of the human body. This work ranges from the elite athlete to the general population; children to elderly; and the physical components of fitness to the psychological. This base of scientific knowledge helps physicians such as Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Specialists and Primary Care Sports Medicine Physicians understand athletic injuries and the best ways to treat them.
What is Orthopaedic Sports Medicine?
Orthopaedic Sports Medicine is the branch of medicine focused on injuries or illness resulting from athletic activities. Orthopaedic Sports Medicine focuses on those injuries to the musculoskeletal system, but has knowledge in other areas of sports injuries, such as head injuries/concussions, heat stroke and exhaustion, and other problems seen in sports injuries.
If you think about it, Sports Medicine is a very broad subject besides Orthopaedic Sports Medicine which focuses on the bones and joints. There are other injuries and illnesses besides the musculoskeletal injuries, such as the heart and lungs, or heat injuries, or athletic performance in athletes with certain underlying health and medical problems. Most Orthopaedic Sports Medicine specialists will have an understanding of the other non-Orthopaedic sports medicine problems, so that the athletes can be taken care of safely and effectively when the care is needed on the field or court.
What is a Sports Medicine Orthopaedist?
A Sports Medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon has received special training in the injuries sustained by athletes, with the expertise and procedures to get the athletic patient back into high performance. In recent years, most Orthopaedic Surgeons who choose to focus on Sports Medicine choose to undergo an additional year of training called a fellowship, as did Dr. Bell. The expertise and techniques that are commonly focused on include arthroscopic surgery, ligament and tendon repairs, and surgeries from traumatic injuries such as fractures/broken bones, shoulder separations and dislocations, and ankle instability.
There is a newer field of expertise in Sports Medicine, called Primary Care Sports Medicine. Primary Care Sports Medicine physicians are not Orthopaedic Surgeons, but have specialized training in the field in medicine that deals with sport or exercise-related injuries. Their primary focus is on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of injuries that occur during sports and other physical activity. For patients with injuries requiring surgery, they refer to Orthopaedic Sports Medicine specialists.