Sports Medicine vs Orthopedics: What’s the Difference?

As an athletic person, you may experience any number of common sports injuries. When you’re dealing with a strain, sprain, or tear from an athletic pursuit, you may need to see someone in sports medicine.

However, orthopedic doctors and surgeons may also find themselves working with athletes. In fact, sports medicine and orthopedics do cover some of the same ground.

So, what’s the difference between sports medicine vs orthopedics? How can you decide which one is right for you?

Read on to learn more about the difference between sports medicine vs orthopedics.

What Is Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine encompasses work with the musculoskeletal system, which is an orthopedic surgeon’s specialty. This includes bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, and other tissues. However, sports medicine practitioners also take a holistic approach to other areas of the body, as well.

Sports medicine isn’t just about treating existing injuries. It’s also about helping athletes to learn the best methods to prevent future injuries. Sports medicine practitioners can help with everything from nutrition to care for repetitive stress injuries. The goal is to make sure that you’re never out of the game for long.

At times, a sports medicine practitioner may send you to an orthopedic surgeon so that you can get the treatment that they can provide.

What Is Orthopedics?

As we mentioned earlier, orthopedics concerns the musculoskeletal system. For example, if you need surgery after breaking a bone or straining a muscle group, an orthopedic surgeon can help.

Orthopedic surgeons can also treat chronic or long-term injuries like arthritis and osteoporosis. In other words, orthopedic surgeons are available to non-athletes in ways that some sports medicine practitioners may not be.

You may need a referral from your general practitioner before making an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, simply because they are a medical specialist.

Do Orthopedic Surgeons Work With Athletes?

If you’re an athlete, it can seem intuitive to go to a sports medicine practitioner for every injury. While some sports medicine practitioners are surgically trained, yours may not be. Are there orthopedic surgeons who are used to working with athletes and who understand the specific injuries that athletes may acquire?

The answer is yes. Star Orthopedics and Sports Medicine is a great example of a clinic that does both sports medicine and orthopedic surgery in one place. Get full care as an athlete at a sports medicine and orthopedics clinic.

Know When You Need Sports Medicine vs Orthopedics

Although the two do overlap at times, there are key differences between sports medicine vs orthopedics. Whether you’re a professional athlete or an active person, both may be helpful to you at times. Use our guide to determine when you need to see one or the other.

Looking for more ways that you can look out for your health and fitness? Take a look around as we explore topics that will help you make the right choices for your health every step of the way.

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