As a fast-growing field, the sports industry involves a lot of input to ensure its players do their best in competitions. However, what keeps them going and fuels their passion for various sports? Sports medicine is often a medical field without the credit it deserves. There are multiple myths around this branch of medicine; among them, ‘sportspersons are treated by normal doctors’ is an old cliché.
So, what is sports medicine, and what does it involve?
Sports medicine is a field that specializes in dealing with the physical fitness of athletes to ensure that they produce exceptional performances in their respective sports. The practice primarily focuses on treating and preventing sports-related injuries. This branch of medicine has multiple practitioners who serve different purposes.
In many countries that recognize and practice the art, sports medicine is associated with physicians, who are non-surgical medical practitioners to maintain athletes' overall fitness. However, in advanced countries, sports medicine is inclusive of both surgical and non-surgical practices to facilitate the optimal performance of sportspersons.
In other contexts, this branch of medicine encompasses an array of medical experts and allied health professionals working in the sports industry. Allied health professionals include athletic trainers, exercise physiologists, physiotherapists, and podiatrists. It’s also called sports and exercise medicine, and it also slots in medical researchers who source information for advanced solutions within sports disciplines.
Sports enthusiasts are quickly turning to sports medicine to enhance their athletic performance. Sports medicine is becoming popular with tons of benefits to enjoy from the practice, and there are solid reasons for that.
Some of the roles of sports medicine in enhancing athletic performance include;
Sports medicine specialists are equipped with the training and knowledge to address multiple sports-related conditions properly. This ensures they can accurately diagnose any injury, determine its mechanism, develop the appropriate treatment, and ensure the athlete can regain their form.
Most players face either first-time or recurring injuries. These are often barriers to their progression and take them away from the sport for a while. Sports medicine has the right tools and tricks to ensure that the joints, bones, and muscles health of athletes is of optimal functioning. The experts are well-endowed with the necessities for rehabilitation and recovery from injuries. This is often under individualized programs that contain injury prognosis, expected healing period, modified treatment movements, strengthening exercises, etc.
As the industry evolves, so does sports medicine. Medical advancements can also be utilized in sports medicine to render better and faster solutions for any sports-related problem. While most sports medicine specialists would prefer conservative techniques, new advancements such as laser therapy, stem-cell therapy, and PRP therapy can be instrumental in an athlete's recovery.
Among the most reliable aspect of sports medicine professionals is their ability to tailor-make training programs for a specific target. These programs are customized around a sportsperson's needs while considering their strengths and weaknesses. Considering these factors allows these experts to create recommendations and regimens to improve athletic performance.
Athletes, despite their special abilities and talents, are also humans. They have individual lives apart from their profession, which can be exhausting for some. They'll need support in this regard, and as part of sports medicine, mental health is among the majorly considered aspects of their profession.
Multiple reasons might negatively affect an athlete’s mental health. Some might revolve around the sport, such as the pressure to perform better, competition from teammates to make the lineup, and losses on big occasions. On the other hand, some might be from their personal lives, such as breaking up with spouses, losing a loved one, or injuries.
Sports medicine is now heavily investing in athletes' mental health to ensure these professionals can perform at their best. Athletes often face the challenge of wanting to be perfect, leading to disappointments that yield depression or anxiety when reality catches up. Sports-based counseling and therapy are essential for constant motivation and maintaining sportspersons' mental health.
Many sports injuries are caused by overuse of joints and muscles or trauma. Sports medicine doctors are brought in for multiple cases. This includes minor injuries involving ligaments, muscles, or tendons, and they include;
· A contusion - A bruise or soft tissue injury triggered by blunt force like a blow, kick, or fall.
· Strains – A ligament tear or stretch commonly affecting the knees, wrists, or ankles.
· Sprains – Pulling, tearing, or twisting of a tendon or muscle caused by force, stretching, or overusing.
Experts also get cases of major injuries that affect the bones, such as;
· Fracture – A break in the bones caused by a fall or blow. Most leg and arm fractures range from minor hairline fractures that won't run through the whole bone to major compound fractures that cause the broken bone to protrude through the skin.
· Dislocation – A separation of ends connecting two bones due to extreme force imposed on a ligament.
While injuries can be scary and a deal breaker, sports medicine doctors can help you work around the condition. Rehabilitation for sports injuries is designed to meet an injured athlete’s need, factoring in the type of the injury and its severity. Actively involving the patient and their support system is crucial for every program’s success.
Many injury treatment programs will include;
i. Activity restrictions
ii. Stretching and strengthening exercise programs for the affected part
iii. Whirlpool treatments
iv. Cold or heat applications
v. Use of wheelchairs and crutches
vi. Occupational and physical therapy
vii. Conditional exercises to prevent further damage
viii. Casts, braces, or splints application for immobilizing the area
ix. Pain management techniques
x. Education on the injury and its care.
Sports medicine is undoubtedly among the major pillars of the success of many athletes. It addresses issues from a personal level and ensures that sportspersons can effectively perform their duties in their respective fields. However, this is an evolving branch of medicine as innovations are under research to ensure they improve the overall service delivery.
Are you an athlete looking for an expert to handle your injury? Look no further! Contact our sports medicine specialist for professional services.