Coastal Orthopedics Blog

What is Sports Medicine? Reasons to visit a sports medicine clinic

By:Tamara Sellman March 17, 2016 Orthopedic Specialists

Sports medicine focuses on areas of injury most common to athletes.

What is sports medicine?

Sports medicine is a medical specialty that was created out of a need to help people recover from their sports related injuries. It is part of the larger field called orthopedics, a medical specialty that focuses on the correction of deformities in the bones and muscles. The roots of orthopedic medicine focused on treatments for children born with crippling diseases.

While this is still a focus of orthopedics, the branch has since expanded to encompass the care and repair of the entire musculoskeletal system (bones, nerves, muscles, joints, etc.) for all age groups. This now includes more common problems like arthritis and chronic pain. It also encompasses the world of sports medicine.

Sports are a major pastime for people of all ages and performance levels. Young children to seniors participate in all manner of athletic contests both as individuals and as members of teams. The scale of competition can be casual or it can be high caliber, but in all cases, injuries can result.

Caring for these problems quickly and effectively makes it possible for these athletes to return to their sports in good shape. Sports medicine focuses on helping both amateur and professional athletes improve their performance, recover from injury, and prevent future injuries.

But it's more than just that. 

Sports medicine specialists are also good resources for people who need help with making all kinds of healthy lifestyle decisions for themselves and their families.

  • These physicians can advise so-called "weekend warriors" on injury prevention as well as shYou don't have to be a professional athlete to see a sports medicine specialist; even the weekend golfer can visit one to check out hip complaintsare their knowledge of nutrition and supplements.
  • If that hitch in your back is interfering with your flycasting or golf game, a sports medicine specialist will be happy to help you work out those kinks.
  • People in need of good strength training and conditioning plans for the sole purpose of getting fit after years of inactivity can ask one of these specialists to help with strategies.
  • Many patients are people with disabilities seeking new ways to increase their mobility and strength.
  • Stress fractures and problems with the overuse of joints, such as tendonitis, are all areas of expertise for the sports medicine specialist, regardless how these problems were acquired.
  • People with possible concussions can be confident in the services of a sports medicine specialist, who is trained in examining these common head injuries. 

In the arena of sports, these specialists can treat more than just the occasional sprain or twisted knee at the sports medicine clinic. Athletes can also experience the aggravation of other health problems, such as asthma, diabetes, arthritis, allergies, and pain from old injuries. Sports medicine specialists are trained to focus on the full spectrum of health concerns for all athletes to ensure they are at their physical best when out on the field, in the pool, on the road, or anywhere else where they might be competing. 

In the case of team athletics, they also make the perfect experts to call on to review the status of previously injured athletes and sign a "clean bill of health" so they can return to the team.

Sports medicine practitioners

Sports medicine physicians are board certified in at least one of the following specialties:

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Family Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Medicine/Rehabilitation
  • Internal Medicine 

Sports Medicine is a recognized subspeciSports medicine specialists treat ordinary people with injuries and can become an active family's best resource.alty of the American Board of Medical Subspecialties and by Medicare. As such, physicians trained in sports medicine have robust schooling in both the treatment and prevention of injuries. They will have received additional training and board certification from an accredited Sports Medicine fellowship program.

They work to help patients regain lost function and minimize damage, as well as shorten their time away from their training, jobs, or school due to injuries. Suffice it to say... they can become an important part of the care and maintenance, not only of athletes, but of busy, active families as well.

What is the difference between a Sports Medicine Specialist and an Orthopedist?

While both are experts in musculoskeletal medicine, the sports medicine specialist specializes in non-operative treatments for musculoskeletal conditions, whereas orthopedists (orthopedic surgeons) have training in surgical procedures for musculoskeletal conditions.

Finally, sports medicine specialist are also qualified to refer you to physical therapists, occupational therapists, and even orthopedic surgeons in the rare event an operation is necessary.

Ultimately, they play a pivotal role in managing rehabilitation programs for those with injuries who want to return to their active lives as soon as possible, regardless how they got hurt. 


We can help connect you with the best physician for your needs, whether you need an evaluation, want advice for prevention or need to explore your treatment options. Need an assessment? Call us at our Corpus Christi location and make an appointment today! 

Orthopedic Specialists