An Overview of Sports Medicine

Playing sports, exercising and living an active lifestyle is healthy and enjoyable. But with increased activity comes the increased risk of sports-related injuries. Everyone who’s active — from the highest-performing athlete to the weekend warrior — will probably suffer an injury at some point. 


When an injury does occur, your primary care physician might not be the best person to see. Instead, consider seeking care from a trained sports medicine specialist. Keep reading to learn more about the field of sports medicine. 

What Is a Sports Medicine Specialist?

Sports medicine specialists diagnose and treat sports, exercise or activity related injuries. Their primary care goals are to restore function and prevent future injury in people with active lifestyles. They work mainly with children and teenagers who play sports, active adults, professional athletes and people with physically demanding jobs. 


Sports medicine isn’t a medical specialty in itself. Providers are board-certified in internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine or pediatrics, and receive additional training in sports medicine techniques. Many sports medicine specialists also have surgical training — usually as orthopedic surgeons. 


Sports medicine specialists may be part of a comprehensive team dedicated to caring for sports and exercise related injuries and illnesses. Providers often work closely with physical therapists, athletic trainers, sports psychologists, and nutritionists for an interdisciplinary approach. 

Common Injuries and Conditions Treated

Sports medicine covers a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions, overuse injuries, and degenerative diseases. Common conditions include:


  • Sprains and strains
  • Fractures
  • Stress fractures
  • Tendinitis
  • Knee injuries — ligament tears, meniscus tears
  • Shoulder injuries — rotator cuff tears
  • Elbow injuries — tennis elbow
  • Ankle and foot injuries
  • Hand and wrist injuries
  • Cartilage injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Back pain
  • Osteoarthritis


Sports medicine physicians also have the training to treat non-musculoskeletal conditions that are common among athletes and active people. These include concussions and head injuries, eating disorders, and chronic conditions that affect athletic performance (asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure).   

Common Treatment Methods

Sports medicine specialists focus on non-operative treatments to reduce pain and restore function after a sports or exercise-related injury. Most sports injuries don’t require surgery. Providers may recommend conservative treatment options, including:


  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Immobilization
  • Injections


Sports medicine providers who are trained as orthopedic surgeons can provide surgery if an injury requires surgical repair. Common sports injuries like ligament or tendon tears and cartilage damage can be repaired with arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical technique. 


In addition to injury management and treatment, sports medicine providers are qualified to perform the following:


  • Recommend nutrition, supplements and ergogenic aids for performance issues
  • Make “return to play” decisions for injured athletes
  • Recommend safe strength training, conditioning and aerobic exercises for optimum performance
  • Create an exercise regimen for people who want to exercise more
  • Recommend exercises, stretches and training tips to prevent future injury
  • Provide education on healthy lifestyle tips

Integrity Spine and Orthopedics Treats Sports Injuries

If you’ve sustained a sports, exercise or activity related injury, Integrity Spine and Orthopedics can help. Our board-certified surgeons can provide orthopedic care, pain management, sports medicine, and surgery services to help you to get back to your active lifestyle. 


We have a convenient clinic located in Jacksonville, FL. Please call us or reach out online to schedule your first appointment.

Keep Reading...

What Does the Bone Fracture Healing Process Look Like?

Bone fracture repair is a natural process — the human body has an incredible ability to regrow new bone after a break. However, fractures must be placed in the optimal environment to ensure a proper and complete healing.    Fracture treatment depends on the location, severity and type of fracture you sustain. Some fractures can … Continued

What Complications Does a Bulging Disc Cause?

A bulging disc is a common, age-related spine injury. The spine is made up of stacked vertebrae with spinal discs sitting between each one. The tough discs provide cushioning, support, and shock absorption and movement to the vertebrae. Each disc is made up of an outer ring (annulus fibrosus) and inner, jelly-like core (nucleus pulposus).  … Continued

Can a Car Accident Cause Delayed Injuries?

Here’s the scene: you were involved in a car accident recently. It was scary, and you felt a little shaken up afterward, but you walked away from the scene unharmed and feeling fine. That’s great, right? Since you’re not in any pain, you must not have sustained any injuries.   Unfortunately, that’s not always the … Continued

Are Bone Spurs Painful?

Let’s be honest: a medical condition with the term “spur” in the name sounds painful right off the bat. Bone spurs (also called osteophytes) are overgrowths of bone that form along bone edges — usually around joints.    Bone spur development is an immune system response. When your body detects an area of damage or … Continued

Request An Appointment Below

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.