Sports medicine, or sport and exercise medicine (SEM), is a branch of medicine related to physical exercise, fitness, and the treatment and prevention of injuries which may occur through sports and exercise. Sports medicine doctors receive specialist training which focuses on the beneficial effects of exercise on health, along with the effects of certain medical conditions on an individual's ability to do sport and exercise.
Hence, sports medicine focuses on:
Promoting exercise as a way to improve health
Using exercise as a treatment for illness
Treating sports-related injuries
What conditions does a sports medicine specialist treat?
Sports medicine specialists diagnose and treat injuries and conditions directly related to or sustained during physical activity and exercise. They also may work with sports teams or groups as a physician, closely working with athletes to manage and monitor their health. In addition, they are trained to treat and address pathologies or issues connected with nutrition, substance abuse, and sports psychology. As opposed to orthopaedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists focus on non-surgical or operative treatments for conditions.
Common conditions treated by sports medicine specialists include:
What subspecialties are included under sports medicine?
Sports and exercise medicine do not have set subspecialties, however, a sports medicine specialist might choose to focus specifically on a selection of the following:
Sports and exercise rehabilitation
When should you see a sports medicine specialist?
You might see a sports and exercise medicine specialist if you had a sports injury, or had a condition in which exercise could be prescribed as a treatment measure. If you were an athlete, or played sport at a professional level, it is likely that your team would have a consultant sports medicine specialist on hand.