People with injuries from playing sports may lump a physical therapist and sports medicine doctor together. While both health professionals treat patients with orthopedic pain symptoms and injuries, they are not one and the same, although you may come across both of them over the course of injury treatment, since physical therapists and sports medicine doctors are both sports injury specialists.
A physical therapist holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and treats patients with mobility limitations due to pain or injury. A physical therapist or PT can help restore strength, flexibility, and function through customized exercise programs. A PT can work with anyone, whether the patient plays sports or not is irrelevant. Young and mature patients can undergo physical therapy and benefit from it.
A sports medicine doctor will usually prescribe physical therapy to their patients to reduce pain symptoms, increase strength, boost healing, and recondition the body to function well. A physical therapist’s treatment plan may include stretching and strengthening exercises, manual therapy, electrical stimulation, compression therapy, and temperature therapy, to name a few.
Physical therapists are found in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers. In many cases, they can provide physical therapy services to patients’ homes.
Sports Medicine Doctor
A sports medicine doctor is an orthopedic physician who specializes in treating athletes and physically fit individuals. Orthopedic surgeons can also be sports medicine doctors. They are fellowship-trained in sports medicine if they receive at least two years of training in treating sports injuries, including injury evaluation and diagnosis, prevention, and restoration of function through rehabilitation. A sports medicine doctor can treat patients using non-surgical and surgical methods, should the need arise. Sports medicine doctors can perform ACL reconstruction surgery, arthroscopy, fracture repair, meniscus repair, rotator cuff repair, joint replacement surgery, and much more. They can also specialize in the treatment of specific body parts, such as the elbow, arm, and shoulder.
Sports medicine doctors provide comprehensive medical care to amateur and professional athletes, weekend warriors, and individuals that live an active lifestyle. The special training and in-depth knowledge that sports medicine doctors have been invaluable for patients who want to remain active for a long period of time.
Physical Therapist Vs. Sports Medicine Doctor: Which One Do You Need?
A sports medicine doctor is a better starting point for patients with a sports injury. If you’ve injured your arm, elbow, or shoulder, choose a sports medicine doctor that specializes in hand to shoulder treatments. You will find that physical therapy is usually part of treatment, which sports medicine doctors often provide referrals for.
Sports Medicine Doctors in Lutherville, Bel Air, Clarksville, Eldersburg, Pasadena, and Westminster, Maryland
If you have sustained a hand, arm, elbow, or shoulder injury through sports, have the expert sports medicine doctors at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder evaluate and quickly diagnose your injury. The sooner you start treatment, the less chance there is of complications and of you having to endure the long-term consequences of waiting too long to get medical attention. In our clinic, you can rest assured that a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, fellowship-trained in sports medicine, will treat you. To make an appointment with a sports medicine doctor, call (410) 296-6232 or use our online request form.