What is Sports Medicine?

Physical Therapy | 23 Feb 2024

There is no one true answer to the question, “what is sports medicine?” In the field of healthcare, sports medicine seems to be an evolving term. It grew more prominent at the end of the 20th century. Sports medicine is a branch of medicine that encompasses a vast array of professionals, concepts, and treatment techniques; but all with the same goals in mind of helping athletes and non athletes alike return to their best functioning level of fitness, wellness or other physical performance. 

Interestingly enough, athletes are not the only population that sports medicine practitioners work with. Stanford University answers the question what is sports medicine? this way - "Sports medicine healthcare providers have special training to restore function to injured patients so they can get moving again as soon as possible. They're experts in preventing illness and injury in active people." 

While professional athletes benefit from their expertise, these providers also treat children and teens in sports, adults seeking personal fitness, and people with physically demanding jobs like construction workers. It's not just about addressing immediate musculoskeletal injuries; sports medicine emphasizes prevention and a holistic approach to all aspects of physical activity, function, and even mental well-being.

Who Practices Sports Medicine?

The majority of sports medicine practitioners are board-certified and licensed in another field, such as family medicine or internal medicine, or they may be orthopedic surgeons who decide to go on to get further specialized training and become certified in this field. This practice extends beyond medical doctors, as physical therapists, nutritionists, and athletic trainers also focus on sports medicine treatment in their individual settings. There is overlap among these professions and the areas they may overlap. An interdisciplinary approach to treating clients can be the most effective, with all the expertise of each of these professionals coming into play.
What is Sports Medicine

Potential Ways Sports Medicine Can Help?

Sports medicine isn't just about mending broken bones and torn muscles. It's a comprehensive toolbox for optimizing athletic performance and boosting overall well-being. From targeted medical interventions like injections and surgery to personalized aerobic and strength conditioning programs, the field offers a wealth of support. Nutrition coaching fuels your body for peak performance, while sleep and lifestyle education prioritize recovery and resilience. Movement analysis identifies potential biomechanical imbalances that could lead to injury, while psychological help and coaching strengthen mental fitness and confidence. Moreover, sports medicine equips you with work hardening and conditioning programs to return to demanding activities, and provides proactive injury prevention methods to keep you in the game, both on the field and in the workplace. 

Common conditions treated by sports medicine includes:

  • Fractures
  • Dislocations
  • Concussions
  • Sprains, strains, tears
  • Tendon related issues
  • Nutrition Coaching/Disordered eating behavior

With such a diverse range of tools at its disposal, sports medicine empowers you to reach your full potential, both physically and mentally.

Have questions About Sports Medicine? Contact us Today!

The Training Room NOLA's unique combination of physical therapists and specialized coaches elevates sports medicine by offering comprehensive care through an array of skill sets. This holistic environment fosters not just injury recovery but also nutrition coaching and strength training to propel athletes and non-athletes alike to reach their full potential.

About the Author

Dr. Sonia Saini

Dr. Saini has 9 years of experience working with a variety of patients from young athletes to film/tv stunt performers. Her specialties are in orthopedics, vestibular/concussion rehabilitation, and post cancer rehab. She also goes on U.S. tours with Broadway shows as the sole physical therapist for performers/crew. Dr. Saini earned her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from University of California, Davis. She went on to earn her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from University of California, San Francisco.