What is Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery?
Sports medicine evolved out of the need to diagnose and treat the ever increasing sports related injuries suffered by countless fitness oriented people as well as professional athletes worldwide. A number of orthopedic surgeons have achieved legendary status for their ability to rebuild the worn out or damaged knees, shoulders, feet, ankles and elbows of professional athletes. This combination of surgery, rehabilitation and preventive conditioning has allowed athletes to lengthen their careers by years, in some cases performing even better after coming back from seemingly "career ending" injuries.
Sports medicine physicians give advice about exercises that improve endurance, strength, and flexibility; perform fitness tests; and offer nutritional advice and other coaching to help athletes improve performance. Preventive medicine and conditioning plays a very large role in sports medicine. In order to prevent and minimize injury, sports medicine physicians are becoming ever more involved in the design of footwear, clothing, protective equipment and other sports gear. For example, the design of football helmets and snow ski bindings have advanced significantly from the input of sports medicine physicians.
Orthopedics is the branch of surgery concerned with disorders and injuries of the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Orthopedic surgeons (orthopedists) perform many procedures including:,/
- setting broken bones and putting on casts
- diagnosing sprain and other joint and ligament "pulls"
- treating joint conditions such as slipped disks, dislocations, arthritis, and back problems
- treating bone tumors and birth defects of the skeleton
- surgically repairing hip, knee, shoulder, ankles, wrists, elbows, feet and hand joints
- treating degenerative disease of the joints
- replacement of joint with prostheses (arthroplasty)
Sports medicine and orthopedics also encompasses prevention, diagnosis and treatment of other conditions such as:
- muscle tear
- head injury including concussion
- tennis elbow
- baseball finger
- joint dislocation and subluxation (partial dislocation)
- tendinitis (inflammation of a tendon) or tendon rupture
Updated: November 2, 2007