Whether you’re a weekend warrior, competitive athlete, regular recreational exerciser or simply an active individual, you know a nagging tendonitis or skin infection can halt you in your tracks.
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That’s where primary care sports medicine doctors step in.
“If an injury or illness gets in the way of your performance, we develop a plan to quickly and safely get you back on track,” says primary care sports medicine physician Richard Figler, MD.
What they treat
More than 90 percent of all sports injuries don’t require surgery. Primary care sports physicians work alongside orthopaedic surgeons — in the office and on the sidelines, from high school to professional level teams — to diagnose and manage acute and chronic musculoskeletal problems such as:
- Acute injuries: Sprains, strains, fractures of the knee, hand, finger, shoulder or back injuries
- Overuse injuries: Tendonitis, stress fractures
- Concussion: Comprehensive evaluation and management through a multidisciplinary approach
- Chronic/acute illnesses affecting athletes: Mononucleosis, asthma, hypertension, diabetes and return to play/activity decisions
- Chronic musculoskeletal conditions: Chronic muscle injuries, arthritis, affecting functional activity or ability to exercise/perform
Primary care sports physicians are committed to helping you prevent recurrent injury. They promote a healthy lifestyle, and offer exercise counseling to help you start or modify your workout routine. They help improve athletic performance through nutrition, supplements and ergogenic aids.
Investigating the problem
Primary care sports physicians won’t just treat your symptoms — they’ll look into its cause like a crime scene investigator on “CSI.”
“We look at why your injury or problem occurred and determine how best to treat it,” Dr. Figler says. “And we help prevent recurrences by addressing the condition or ailment that played a role in your injury in the first place.”
If you need further care, your primary care sports physician will guide you and expedite your referral to a surgeon and musculoskeletal radiologists, physical therapist, sports dietitian or sports psychologist.
Trained in two fields
Primary care sports medicine physicians are first trained and board-certified in one of the following specialties:
- Family medicine
- Physical medicine and rehabilitation
- Internal medicine
- Emergency medicine
They also complete one or two years’ training through a fellowship in sports medicine, a field dedicated to the comprehensive care of athletes and active individuals, to lifelong fitness and wellness promotion, and to illness and injury prevention.
The tools of their trade
Primary care sports physicians are adept at corticosteroid injections and viscosupplementation into various joints and soft tissue. Some are further trained in specialized procedures such as:
Some physicians have individual specialization in specific activities, such as:
- Dance medicine
- Running medicine
- Concussion care
- Racquet sports
So whether you’re a recreational athlete or a pro, a primary care sports physician can help you stay active in the activity or sport you love.