Orthopedics and sports medicine might seem like the same thing at first glance. After all, an orthopedic doctor can handle a broken bone or twisted ankle, and so can a sports medicine doctor. So, if you fracture your wrist or sprain your ankle, which one should you visit? The truth is, orthopedics and sports medicine overlap each other, but they are two distinct subfields of medicine.
What sets sports medicine apart from orthopedics? Let’s discuss the difference between these two fields below.
Education and Specializations
Both fields specialize in treating problems of the musculoskeletal system. However, what sets them apart is the depth and breadth of their knowledge.
Orthopedic doctors focus on orthopedics as a whole, without necessarily touching on any topics outside of it. These topics encompass all of the musculoskeletal system — bones, muscles, joints, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. Orthopedic doctors are trained in nonsurgical modalities for treatment. Orthopedic doctors may also receive additional training in surgical solutions for musculoskeletal conditions.
On the other hand, sports medicine requires orthopedics knowledge, but it will require the study of other fields, as well. A sports medicine specialist takes a holistic approach to optimize an individual’s physical performance, such as creating optimal nutrition plans and exercising effectively.
Sports doctors also address non-orthopedic issues that may arise during training and other physical activities, such as concussions. Furthermore, not all sports doctors can perform surgery and may focus on nonsurgical solutions.
A sports doctor can be found practicing their profession outside the usual setting of a hospital or clinic. They may be present at athletic training sessions to help athletes prepare and condition themselves before, during, and after sessions or games. They may recommend personalized treatment or training plans and focus on treating acute injuries on the playing field while also aiming to prevent overuse injuries. Not only will they treat injuries, but they will also assess whether an athlete is fit to continue playing.
On the other hand, orthopedic doctors will focus exclusively on musculoskeletal problems. The conditions that they address are not limited in any way. As long as a patient has a musculoskeletal issue, an orthopedic doctor can handle it. A general orthopedics doctor might also handle issues not necessarily addressed by sports medicine, such as certain types of arthritis or osteoporosis.
Patients Treated by Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Doctors
The patients of sports medicine doctors are often amateur or professional athletes. However, some may prefer not to focus on athletes alone. They can also treat all kinds of people, as sports medicine can technically be applied to anyone aiming to optimize their physical abilities and prevent future injuries. This can include casual athletes, hobbyists, or even people wShoulder Pain Injuryho like to be fit.
Conversely, orthopedic doctors do not limit themselves regarding their patients. While some sports medicine specialists focus on athletes, orthopedic doctors will treat any patient they encounter, regardless of their profession, hobbies, or lifestyle.
Your Partner in Orthopedic Care in Johnson County, Kansas
Orthopedics and sports medicine may address some similar issues, but they are different fields. Orthopedics focuses exclusively on musculoskeletal conditions, while sports medicine can address concerns outside the realm of the musculoskeletal system. A physician in either field may resolve your concerns, but it helps to know the differences between the two when making a choice.
At Midwest Orthopaedics, we have both orthopedic and sports medicine doctors to ensure you get the right care you need when you need it. For high-quality, well-rounded, and tailored orthopedic care in Johnson County, Kansas, you can call us at (913) 362-8317. You also have the option to book an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!