It doesn’t matter if you are a point guard for the Dallas Mavericks, a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, or the star of your intramural dodgeball team, if you are an athlete the last thing you want is an injury. And while a strain or shin splint might set you back a few games, major injuries like a torn ACL or dislocated shoulder could sideline you for a very long time.
Athletes of all levels want to be back in the game as soon as possible after an injury. Sometimes the anguish rests more with the knowledge that both treatment and recovery are going to take some time versus the actual pain of the injury.
That’s where sports therapy comes in. Your orthopedist will treat your injury or condition, perhaps with pain management, surgical procedures, or regenerative medicine. Then most likely you will be referred to a physical therapist. But who makes that initial recommendation that your injury can’t be treated with ice baths or wrapping? That would be your sports therapist. But what is sports therapy and what is its connection with orthopedics?
Everyone is familiar with physical therapy, which is used to restore physical functioning compromised by disease, disability, injury, or time. Chances are you may have seen a physical therapist yourself after a surgical procedure or as part of your recovery after a car accident.
But sports therapy is more than that. In fact, sports therapy is its own medical discipline. Many sports therapists also go by the term “trainer” if they are affiliated with a team or athletic program and are often found on the sidelines or in the locker rooms during the competition, offering immediate medical care or hands-on treatment like a massage.
In short, sports therapists are trained to prevent, manage, treat and educate athletes at all levels on how to optimize sports performance and personal wellness regimes to ensure an athlete’s best health and performance outcomes.
Orthopedics and Sports Therapy
For athletes, the sports therapist is part of their medical support team, which may also include a physical therapist, chiropractor, and even a psychological therapist.
As with any team, communication and collaboration are key. For example, the sports therapist may determine that the chronic pain or injury suffered by an athlete no longer can be treated via traditional sports therapies and will refer the athlete to an orthopedist. The sports therapist will provide his notes and observations to the orthopedist, who will take this data to assess the root cause of the injury or condition. So, that omnipresent hip pain might, after the orthopedist conducts tests and evaluations, turn out to be a torn labrum, dislocation, sciatica, fracture or a pulled groin muscle.
Once the diagnosis has been made, the orthopedist will devise a treatment plan, which might include pain management, regenerative medicine, or surgery. Following that treatment, the orthopedist likely will provide a referral for immediate physical therapy, as well as and detailed instructions for the sports therapist on how best to return the athlete to her competition shape.
No matter your level of play, getting hurt can be a major setback – even if it is a muscle strain or ankle sprain. The importance of experienced orthopedic doctors should not be underestimated. At Tarpon Orthopedics, our doctors have specific training to treat injuries that occur during sports or fitness activities. Call 9725961059 for an appointment at Tarpon Orthopedics in West Plano, North Plano, or Addison, Texas today!