August 26, 2013

What is sports medicine?

Sports Injury


Dr. Jonathan Shook, OrthoIndy sports medicine surgeon, answers common questions about sports medicine.

What is the main objective of sports medicine?

Technically, sports medicine is a practice of taking care of people who have had injuries or problems while playing sports. The reality is, we see patients with “sports-related” type injuries that do not necessarily always happen while specifically playing sports. Sports medicine covers a wide variety of injuries, including injuries to all of the different joints, as well as concussions, heat-related illnesses and even dietary concerns.

When should you see a sports medicine orthopedic specialist?

An orthopedic sports medicine specialist will typically see patients after they have been referred by coaches, athletic trainers or physical therapists. If you are participating in sports, which do not have these people present, then usually the patient’s primary care doctor will refer the patient. In general, almost all joint injuries should initially be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE). If symptoms fail to resolve within 48-hours, then a sports medicine orthopedic specialist may be necessary. For serious injuries, patients should go to the emergency room for evaluation, and the emergency room physician can help determine whether a sports medicine specialist will be needed.

What are the most common injuries you treat when seeing sports medicine patients?

The most common injuries are shoulder, knee and ankle injuries. Most of these are sprains and strains and will improve with R.I.C.E. treatment.

Shoulder injuries include:

  • Shoulder dislocations
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Fractures around the shoulder, usually the clavicle (collarbone)

The most common knee injuries include:

  • Tears of the MCL (medial collateral ligament)
  • ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)
  • Meniscus tears

Ankle injuries are the most common sprains and occasionally fractures of the ankle. Another class of injuries that are seen commonly are what we term “overuse injuries”. With the proliferation of year-round sports in young people, these injuries are becoming more and more prevalent.

How often do sports medicine injuries require surgery?

Most sports medicine injuries do not require surgery. Most injuries can be treated with medication and physical therapy. There are some injuries that almost always require surgery, such as ACL tears and meniscus tears in young athletes. An athlete who has had multiple dislocations will usually require surgical repair of the shoulder to prevent recurrent dislocations.

Why did you choose to practice sports medicine?

Like most sports medicine specialists, I have been involved in sports my entire life. I have personally had many injuries playing sports and have undergone surgery myself because of these injuries. I had a mentor when I was younger who encouraged me to pursue orthopedics as a career.

As soon as I began pursuing the field, I knew I wanted my focus to be sports medicine.  I choose to continue practicing sports medicine because I like being around sports and active people.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Everybody has a goal of what they want to accomplish. Whether you are a professional athlete or a “weekend warrior,” anybody can have injuries playing sports. Sports medicine specialists are here to help you and get you back in the game!

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Shook please call 317.569.2514. or learn more about shoulder treatment at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

Related Posts

More from OrthoIndy

Shoulder Injuries

Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time for baseball and softball players to start conditioning for the season. As athletes get in shape its common that injuries will occur.

Get stories and News in your inbox

Subscribe to our weekly articles