What Is the Difference Between a Sports Medicine Doctor and an Orthopedic Doctor?

What Is the Difference Between a Sports Medicine Doctor and an Orthopedic Doctor?

Did you recently suffer an injury while playing sports? Or are you hoping to relieve chronic pain due to physical trauma? It’s important to know whether you need to consult with a sports medicine doctor or an orthopedic doctor. Both are experts when it comes to the treatment of musculoskeletal issues, but each one has different specialties. Let’s take a look at what makes them different.

The Difference Between a Sports Medicine Doctor and an Orthopedic Doctor

Sports medicine doctors typically work with sports teams and individual athletes. Meanwhile, patients from all walks of life may seek the care of orthopedic doctors. These patients can also be full-time elite athletes, fitness enthusiasts, or seniors who don’t engage in any sports at all. Regardless of how the injuries occurred, orthopedic doctors can focus on treating joint problems, musculoskeletal conditions, injuries, and even cognitive disorders.

What Does a Sports Medicine Doctor Do?

The majority of a sports physician’s training takes place in the gym or on the field. Orthopedic doctors, on the other hand, receive training in the operating theatre, urgent care centers, and healthcare facilities.

Even non-professional athletes can seek treatment from sports physicians. Are you planning to start an exercise routine or consider a new sport? A sports physician can help you if you have sustained an injury, are suffering from chronic pain, or simply want to improve your quality of life.

Sports physicians are also trained in aspects of health and wellness. Here are a few examples or other conditions they can treat:

  • Concussions
  • Asthma caused by exercise
  • Overtraining and exhaustion
  • Dietary issues
  • Physical conditioning and training

The Responsibilities of Sports Physicians

Medical care and treatment of athletes’ injuries is the specialty of sports physicians. Others work for hospitals, sports teams, and fitness centers, while others work in clinics. Doctors who work with sports teams often travel with them.

A sports physician’s duties include the following:

  • Assessing the health of a patient
  • Diagnosis and treatment of injury
  • Medication prescriptions
  • Keeping track of medical records

When Do You Need to See a Sports Physician?

You Have an Acute Sports Injury

Acute sports injuries occur unexpectedly while participating in athletics or getting exercise. Sprains and strains are the most common. Muscle and knee injuries, torn ligaments, dislocated joints, and Achilles tendon injuries are among the more serious ones. The Achilles tendon connects the back of your calf muscle to your heel bone and is located behind your ankle.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of an acute injury:

  • Pain that comes on suddenly
  • Swelling
  • Loss of mobility
  • A bone or joint that appears to be misaligned

You Have a Chronic Sports Injury

These are long-term injuries that occur over time. They are frequently the result of having trained too hard or for too long. An injury to your rotator cuff (a group of muscles and tendons in your shoulder) and a swollen tendon (tendinitis) are classic examples.

The following are some of the signs and symptoms of these injuries:

  • Pain when playing or exercising
  • Swelling that worsens after stopping activity
  • Consistent pain or aching while at rest

You’re Recovering From a Sports Injury

Have you had a recent sports injury or surgery? A sports physician can assist you in recovering from your injury and returning to your normal activities. The process of recovery should begin as early as possible. However, going back to your sport or getting exercise too soon may result in trauma.

A sports physician can create a recovery plan for you and may be able to assist you with:

  • Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers
  • Stabilizing the area with splints or supports
  • Rehabilitative treatments
  • Exercising your range of motion

You Want To Prevent a Sports Injury

Seeing a sports physician to avoid a sports injury is smart. If you’re starting a new sport, physical activity, or exercise, think about it. The following may be done in your visit:

  • A physical examination
  • A fitness and conditioning program
  • Safety and equipment recommendations for training
  • Advice on optimal nutrition

What is the Role of an Orthopedic Doctor?

Many services by sports physicians can also be provided by orthopedic doctors. However, orthopedic specialists can provide care that sports physicians may not be trained or qualified to provide. These frequently include:

  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Fracture repair
  • Joint tissue reconstruction
  • Spinal surgery
  • Sensitive, advanced spinal injections

Where Do They Get Their Training?

Orthopedic doctors receive their medical education in a more traditional manner. They typically spend more than a decade accumulating the formal training required. This includes their basic medical apprenticeship and their medical residency. After that, they must take and pass the required certification exams in order to practice orthopedic medicine.

What Medical Conditions Do Orthopedic Doctors Treat?

Orthopedic doctors specialize in treating patients with issues in their muscle groups, ligaments and tendons, bones, and cartilage. The role of an orthopedic doctor includes surgery. They can carry out procedures like:

  • Replacement of a joint
  • Correction of bone deformities
  • Internal fixation of the bones
  • Repairing soft tissue
  • Fusion of the bones

When Is It Time to See an Orthopedic Doctor?

You Suffer From Daily Physical Discomforts

Bone and joint pains are common among the elderly, but they should not prevent you from going about your normal tasks. You should see an orthopedic doctor if you have trouble doing simple tasks like walking up stairs or strolling at the park.

You Have Chronic Pain

Any pain that lasts longer than three months is commonly referred to as chronic pain. It’s one thing to have a few days of discomfort. If you’ve been suffering from pain that has lasted for several months, it’s a good idea to seek professional assistance and get the right treatment.

You Feel a Restricted Range of Motion

Are your joints becoming increasingly tense with each passing day? Joint disease, such as arthritis, can cause you to feel a limited range of motion. To avoid your condition from worsening, you must see an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible.

You’re Suffering From Motion Instability

Do you find yourself shaky or wobbly when performing simple tasks like standing, walking, or standing up? Motion instability is a clear indication that you might have a joint problem. The best thing you can do is see an orthopedic doctor to figure out what’s causing your instability and then work on fixing it.

You’ve Sustained a Soft-Tissue Injury

Have you recently sustained a soft tissue damage, such as a dislocated shoulder or twisted knee? Within two days, the pain and swelling should be gone. However, if the pain and discomfort haven’t subsided after the first 48 hours, it’s best to contact a doctor and request an appointment as soon as possible.

Get the Comprehensive Care That You Need

Do you have chronic pain or injury that requires medical attention? Our experts can assist you! We have pain management protocols that are both effective and responsible, as well as personalized, comprehensive treatment plans. We are here to help you live a better quality of life, free of pain and discomfort. You can rely on us to resolve your healthcare issues. Make an appointment with B3 Medical: Wesley Chapel to speak with one of our specialists.

What Problem Does Sports Medicine Address?

What Problem Does Sports Medicine Address?

Injuries are common during sports and training and can happen to anyone regardless of fitness or experience level. Some sports injuries occur due to accidents, while others result from incorrect training methods, inappropriate equipment, or inadequate warm-up and stretching. At B3 Medical in Wesley Chapel, FL, we recognize that physical fitness is an integral part of an athlete’s life and have expert sports medicine specialists committed to treating all your injuries and concerns.

What Is Sports Medicine?

Sports medicine is a field of medical practice dealing with physical fitness and treating injuries related to sports activities. It combines general medical practice with the unique doctrines of sports science, orthopedics, exercise physiology, and sports nutrition. A sports medicine team involves physicians, surgeons, sports psychologists, trainers, nutritionists, and physical therapists.

These specialists can treat vast conditions, including severe injuries like fractures, dislocations, or strains, and chronic conditions such as degenerative diseases.

Common Problems Addressed by Sports Medicine


Concussions are common in most contact and collision activities like wrestling, football, and soccer. However, players in any sport can experience this injury. It occurs in many circumstances, such as when sports players collide during a match or when an athlete falls and hits their head against a hard surface. Concussions can also result from a sudden, forceful rotation of the head and neck or when there is a blow to the head.


Fractures can happen to any part of the body and occur when bones crack or break due to a combination of biomechanical forces such as tensile, compression, and shear stress impact. They are frequent in sports like football and mostly affect the wrists, collarbones, hands, and bones in the feet. Fractures can be categorized as open or closed.

A closed fracture affects the skin and tissues close to the bone, while a clean fracture is a break that affects the bone only.

Knee Cartilage Injuries

The knee articular cartilage absorbs shocks and offers a smooth platform for bones to glide against each other. This cartilage, unlike most body tissues, cannot regenerate. Injuries often occur due to a sudden twisting or pivoting movement and are characterized by sharp knee pain often confined to the cartilage tear’s location. Protecting the articular cartilage is of paramount importance since continued injury can cause arthritis and degenerative wear.

Meniscal Tear

The meniscus is an elastic, C-shaped cartilage component that cushions and keeps your knee steady by balancing the body weight across the knee. A meniscus tear injury occurs due to an abrupt turning or twisting with the foot firmly planted and knee bent. It often happens when other knee components are injured. Sports and lifting heavy objects are risk factors. This injury may also result from old age, where the wear and tear easily damage the weak cartilage.

Nerve Compression Injury

The body’s nervous system consists of numerous nerves and functions as an information highway. Nerves convey messages and commands from your brain and spinal cord to other body parts. Though protected by a layer of tissue, nerves can easily be damaged by excessive pressure and cuts.

The injuries can cause loss of sensation and function and often result from trauma or illness when the nerves are cut, stretched, and compressed. Underlying conditions like diabetes and cancer can trigger nerve injury.

ACL Injuries

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is situated inside the knee and connects your thigh bone to your shinbone. It is a stabilizing ligament that plays a crucial role when athletes abruptly start, pivot, or stop playing, as it often happens in football, basketball, and other high-impact sports. Injuries, mainly tearing, occur when a player makes a sudden twisting motion with a flexed knee while their foot is firmly fixed to the ground. The ACL can also tear due to improper landing after a collision.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) pairs with the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and is among the four ligaments that keep the knee joint stable. It is twice as thick as the ACL and often experiences lesser injuries. In sports, damage to the PCL results from direct trauma, such as when the knee strikes the ground in a hyper flexed position. Damage can also occur with a blow to the posterior when the foot is flexed on the ground in contact sports.

Shoulder Dislocation

The shoulder joint is among the most frequently dislocated joints in the body. It is a ball and socket joint held in place by the rotator cuff, tendons, tissues, and muscles. A dislocation occurs when the ball part moves out of the shallow socket. This injury happens in contact sports when the arm is violently pushed out and away from the body. Recurrent dislocations may often occur due to damage to the bone and ligaments.

Shoulder Separation

A shoulder separation is the disjoining, partially or entirely, of the two shoulder parts; the collarbone and the shoulder blade’s end. It occurs when an athlete lands on either side of the shoulder with the arm at the person’s side. This injury is common in sports or activities with frequent high-impact falls, such as skiing and cycling. In hockey, shoulder separation mostly happens when a player strikes the board with the shoulder’s point.

Sprains and Strains

A sprain occurs when ligaments connecting your bones stretch or tear, often due to an abrupt twisting of a joint or a fall. A strain can be a minimal tendon stretch (tendons attach muscles to the bone) or a tear in the muscle-tendon arrangement. Severe strains result from overstretching, excessive muscle contraction, or a direct blow.

Sprains and strains are common in basketball, football, or baseball players and mostly affect the wrist, thumbs, ankle, and knees.

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

The elbow joint enables bending, straightening, and forearm rotation. It consists of three bones; the upper arm, the forearm on the thumb side, and the forearm on the pinky finger side. Lateral epicondylitis occurs when overuse causes inflammation of tendons that connect the forearm muscles outside the elbow. It is characterized by pain on the outside of the elbow, made worse by gripping objects.

This injury is common in activities like tennis, squash, carpentry, and weightlifting.


Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of tendons, which connect muscles to bones. It commonly involves tendons in the elbow, shoulder, knee, and ankle. If left untreated, Tendonitis can be a chronic condition, where tendons break down and grow irregularly, causing prolonged pain and dysfunction.

This injury occurs due to muscle overuse and is common in sports that involve repetition of the same activity, such as jumping, overhead throwing, and running. Improper training can also cause Tendonitis.

Patellar Tendinopathy

Patellar tendinopathy, also known as ‘jumper’s knee,’ is an injury to the knee joint’s patellar tendon caused by stress that may lead to tiny tearing. It results from repeated running, jumping, and an increase in training intensity.

Get Treatment

Sports injuries are almost unavoidable in physical activities, and any participant in a sport is well aware of the likelihood of sustaining an injury. Sports medicine maintains and restores physical fitness, which is vital to a great sports experience and career longevity. Contact B3 Medical in Wesley Chapel, FL, for a diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan for all your sports-related problems.

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