Sports Medicine Doctor Vs Orthopedic Surgeon

What Is a Sports Medicine Doctor?

A sports medicine doctor is a non-surgical doctor who specializes in injuries from sports and exercise. They are able to quickly diagnose what the issue may be and set you on the path to recovery. These are the doctors that you may see on the sidelines at sports games. Many sports medicine doctors don't like to suggest surgery. They will, most often, try every other method they know before suggesting getting surgery for your injuries. 

What Does a Sports Medicine Doctor Do?

Aside from diagnosing your injury, your sports medicine doctor will do what they can to get you back on your feet faster. 

They will help with some of the following:

  • Injury prevention techniques
  • Identify what caused the injury
  • Prescribe rehabilitation 
  • Prescribe medications

What Injuries Can a Sports Medicine Doctor Treat?

Sports medicine doctors can treat almost any sports injury that doesn't require surgery.

These injuries include:

  • Concussions
  • Sprains
  • Fractures
  • Sport-induced asthma
  • Tendonitis

What Is an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating the musculoskeletal system. They are experts in making sure your body moves the way it should be moving. If you're injured during sports or exercise, or even just everyday activity, but you know it's something that would require surgery or treatment beyond a fracture or sprain, an orthopedic surgeon is the best choice. For example, if you break a bone, you'd need to see an orthopedic surgeon. 

What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Do?

The most common injury orthopedic surgeons are known for treating would probably be broken bones, but they provide care in many other ways as well. 

Other ways orthopedic surgeons can provide care include:

  • Assist in pain reduction
  • Injury prevention techniques
  • Assist in improving range of motion
  • Perform surgical procedures 
  • Create treatment plan

What Injuries Can an Orthopedic Surgeon Treat?

Orthopedic surgeons can treat anything that has to do with the following:

  • Bones
  • Joints
  • Muscles
  • Tendons
  • Ligaments

Some examples of what they treat include:

  • Carpal Tunnel 
  • Arthritis
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Joint replacement surgery
  • Bone fracture repair
  • Soft tissue repair

Which One Should You See?

These two occupations do work very closely together, so it may be difficult in deciding which one you need to see. Sports medicine doctors are on the sidelines of sports games in hopes that they are able to provide a quick fix so the athlete can get back on with the game. If your injury isn't debilitating you, and you suspect it to be a quick fix, then you'd most definitely want to see a sports medicine doctor. On the off chance that you were wrong, your doctor would just refer you to an orthopedic surgeon anyway.