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At Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center, our specialty-trained sports medicine doctors are recognized experts in providing evaluation and treatment for a variety of sports-related injuries and conditions.

Athletic activity can often lead to injury. Sports medicine doctors are medical specialists who focus on the prevention and treatment of such injuries. Whether you are a competitive athlete or someone who enjoys regular exercise, it's important to see a sports medicine provider any time you believe you have an ailment related to athletic activity, whether it is an injury of the shoulder, elbow, or knee; the joints, muscles, or bones.

What Do Sports Medicine Doctors Do?

Sports medicine doctors are typically either orthopedic specialists or else primary care providers who have a passion for working with athletes. The role of the sports medicine specialist is varied and may include diagnosis, surgery, medication, physical therapy, and beyond.

In general, a sports medicine doctor will work with patients to provide one of these services:

  • Diagnosing a sports-related injury
  • Helping to design a plan for long-term treatment and rehabilitation
  • Making recommendations about surgery, when applicable
  • Consulting with the patient to ensure ongoing recovery
  • Prescribing medications to minimize pain or swelling, when appropriate

When Should You See a Sports Medicine Doctor?

No matter what sport you play, it's crucial to safeguard your body from harm. As such, we recommend seeking medical attention from a doctor who specializes in sports medicine when you experience any acute injury, such as:

  • Any pain or discomfort in the ankle, shoulders, knees, wrists, or feet
  • Concussion
  • Fractures
  • Pain in the Achilles tendon
  • Shin splints
  • Sprain
  • Swollen muscles

Sometimes, the patient will wonder if a trip to the doctor is truly necessary. For minor injuries, it is possible to pursue home treatment. The best advice here is to follow the RICE model: rest, put ice on it, apply compression, and elevate the injured body part. With that said, a sports-related injury that's not treated promptly can sometimes worsen and cause further problems down the road. In general, if the damage is severe or if your condition doesn't improve after three to four days, it's best to seek care from a board-certified sports medicine professional.

What Kind of Treatment Options Are Available?

The only way to know how your sports-related problem can be treated is to visit with a sports medicine professional and have the problem diagnosed, which often involves a simple X-ray. It's important to note that 90 percent of sports-related injuries can be treated through nonsurgical methods, including medicine, ice and heat treatment, or physical therapy.

In some cases, athletic injuries do call for orthopedic surgery, which might involve an arthroscopic procedure, which allows the doctor to see inside the joint itself and determine the root of the problem. In extreme cases, joint replacement and other major surgeries may be required.

How Long Does It Take to Recover From a Sports-Related Injury?

Recovery time varies wildly, depending on the nature and extent of the injury. In most cases, a full recovery takes somewhere between four and six weeks; in situations that require surgery, the recovery time will likely be longer.

Usually, the athlete can continue to train and even to play during the recovery process, albeit in a more limited fashion. Your sports medicine provider can advise you on the appropriate amount and type of exercise and a return-to-play plan. Additionally, physical therapy and medicine may be required to help keep pain and swelling in check.

Whether you are seeking relief for a sports injury or just want to develop a plan to prevent future musculoskeletal problems, make an appointment to see a sports medicine doctor soon.

The Region's Most Comprehensive Sports Medicine Care

At the Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center, our experienced doctors and staff are proud to offer exceptional orthopedic care to people throughout the communities of northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. Our doctors are available at our office in St. Joseph, Missouri, as well as at the Northwest Medical Center in Albany, Missouri, the Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton, Missouri, the Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and the Hiawatha Community Hospital in Hiawatha, Kansas.

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Daniel Smith, Dr. William Humphreys, Dr. Brett Miller, Dr. Corey TreaseDr. Brian Duncan, and Dr. Blake Peterson, have years of experience in treating patients with a variety of sports-related injuries or conditions. Our sports medicine surgeons have the knowledge and skills to perform a thorough evaluation and provide an accurate diagnosis and viable treatment options. Conservative methods will always be recommended first, but there are some cases when surgery is required to help eliminate pain and restore proper function.

If a sports injury or condition is keeping you from living the life you love, schedule an appointment with one of our specialty-trained sports medicine surgeons by requesting an appointment online or calling (816) 233-9888.

For those urgent injuries that require immediate attention and can't wait for an appointment, visit our OSMC Today Walk-In Clinic.