Sports medicine? But I’m not an athlete!

Author: Courtney Erickson-Adams, MD

Have you ever fallen and twisted your ankle? Lifted something the wrong way and strained your lower back? Felt the ache of “tennis elbow” from too much time under the hood? Or headed to the emergency room for what was likely a broken bone? 

Examples such as these prove that you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from the expertise that sports medicine provides. In fact, when you receive care from a Sports Medicine Specialist, you can benefit from a tailored treatment plan that offers the most effective path back to optimal function and quality of life.

What is a Sports Medicine Specialist?

According to the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), a Sports Medicine Specialist is “A physician with significant specialized training in both the treatment and prevention of illness and injury. The Sports Medicine Specialist helps patients maximize function and minimize disability and time away from sports, work, or school.” 

The AMSSM highlights the fact that Sports Medicine Specialists don’t only treat competitive athletes—but are “ideal physicians for the non-athlete as well, and are excellent resources for the individual who wishes to become active or begin an exercise program.” In fact, our own Dr. Erickson-Adams is a Sports Medicine Specialist. She is specially trained to provide non-operative treatment options for sports-related and active lifestyle injuries and is a member of AMSSM, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

More similar than you may think

With the wear and tear of sports, athletes experience common injuries—even when they are healthy and young. As we get older, the same can be said of the wear and tear of aging. While the specific causes may be different, the types of injuries that non-athletes experience are often similar. Consider these common sports injuries—and how similar conditions may also affect us as we grow older:

  • Back and neck injuries/pain—including lower lumbar pain and neck pain.
  • Shoulder injuries/pain—including fractures, tears, and dislocations.
  • Hip injuries/pain—including strains, bursitis and impingement syndromes.
  • Knee injuries/pain—including tears and strains.
  • Arm, elbow, wrist, and hand injuries/pain—including sprains and repetitive stress injuries.
  • Lower leg, ankle, and foot/pain—including strains and inflammatory conditions.

Anything on that list sound familiar? If it does, you may benefit from the expertise that sports medicine can provide.

The value of remaining active

In addition to their expertise in treating a variety of common conditions, Sports Medicine Specialists are adept at helping their patients learn how to recuperate without just lying on the couch. While each patient’s treatment plan will differ, this mindset of working toward optimal functioning is a great benefit to help individuals remain active—especially as they age. An active lifestyle offers many health benefits as we grow older, and the prevention of falls is just one example. 

A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), discusses the hazards of falls among older Americans—and touts exercise as the number one weapon to combat them. Citing the report, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) notes that “Research shows simply staying active can reduce your risk of a tumble by 10 to 20 percent, and exercising more than three hours a week is linked to a 39 percent reduction in falls.” Recommendations include things like adding strength and resistance training and improving balance. Sports medicine experts are uniquely qualified to provide the training and support needed to help individuals remain both active and safe as they age.

We can help

Whether you are feeling the after-effects of being a “weekend warrior,” need treatment for active-lifestyle injuries, or need help becoming more active—our expert sports medicine team can help.

Contact us to learn more.