A sports medicine doctor and a physical therapist are two different specialists. One is a licensed medical doctor (MD), while the other is a movement expert. The choice you make as to which one of the two you see can make a big difference in how you feel as well as the outcome of your treatment.
Sports Medicine Doctor
Most sports medicine doctors have racked up years of medical school and have undergone residency training before pursuing a fellowship in sports medicine. Fellowship programs in sports medicine take one to two years to complete. During this time, the doctor expands his knowledge on sports injuries.
A sports injury is classified as an orthopedic problem that occurs from sports, exercise, or other physical activities. Ankle sprains, hamstring strains, clavicle fractures, rotator cuff injuries, shoulder dislocations, ACL tears, and tendonitis are among the most common sports injuries.
At some point in their training, the doctor may become part of a team of doctors for high school and college sports teams and assist in surgeries to treat sports injuries. There are differences in fellowship programs, some train doctors in treating a range of sports injuries, while others focus on a specific body part.
The training of a sports medicine doctor gives you an idea of how broad their area of expertise is. This becomes apparent when you compare it to the education and training of a physical therapist.
Confusion may stem from the fact that sports medicine doctors work closely with physical therapists. Sports medicine doctors provide comprehensive treatment, which means they collaborate with physical therapists for the full spectrum of care.
Physical therapy is a critical part of rehabilitation programs. Physical therapists undergo an intense three year-year professional DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) program, where they study areas such as anatomy, biology, physiology, biomechanics, and kinesiology.
After obtaining a degree and passing a licensure exam, a physical therapist can help patients with pain, mobility, and function issues. The goal of physical therapy is to relieve pain and improve a patient’s strength, flexibility, range of motion, and overall health and wellness. They may use modalities like heat and ice therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and massage therapy to improve a patient’s symptoms. Physical therapists do not prescribe medications, perform invasive treatments, or perform surgery.
Patients with injuries or those who are recovering from an illness or surgery can benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapy can even help patients who are preparing for surgery, which studies show improves a patient’s recovery. Practically everyone can benefit from physical therapy, as it is now recognized as a form of preventive care, by improving physical function and physical fitness. Physical therapists can assess a patient’s movement and identify poor or faulty movement that can lead to problems, and help correct such issues.
Sports Medicine Doctor in Pembroke Pines and Lauderdale Lakes, FL
At Total Orthopedic Care, we provide the full spectrum of care in one facility. We treat patients with sports injuries and those who have developed issues from years of poor or faulty biomechanics. Both sports medicine doctors and physical therapists are part of your healthcare team when you choose us. If you have questions about our orthopedic services or would like to schedule an appointment, call us at (954) 735-3535 or use our appointment request form.