Column: A sports medicine doctor does what again?


By Dr. Joseph Hui

Despite being a regular contributor to Current, I suspect most folks still aren’t quite sure what a primary care sports medicine physician does.

A primary care sports medicine physician treats concussions, broken bones, arthritis, chronic pain, sports-related injuries and disorders related to nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. All these treatments are done in a non-surgical, conservative approach for all ages.

Most primary care sports medicine physicians are part of larger orthopedic surgical groups and can provide prompt diagnosis and facilitate a quick transition to a surgeon if the issue warrants surgery.

For many issues, surgical intervention is the definitive method for treatment. However, the vast majority of orthopedic clinic visits are treated non-surgically, at least initially, with only a subset of patients actually requiring surgery.

For primary care sports medicine doctors who are trained in diagnostic and interventional ultrasound, real-time, cost-effective diagnoses can be achieved quickly, allowing precise injections and procedures to be performed.

Diagnostic ultrasounds can be used to look at shoulders to assess rotator cuff tears, hips for pain associated with trochanteric bursitis, torn calf muscles, wrists for carpal tunnel syndrome in lieu of electromyography, stress fractures that do not appear on an X-ray and most other issues involving muscle, ligaments and tendons.

In my regular practice, ultrasound has become a powerful tool that helps me facilitate many minimally invasive procedures with little down time. This includes treating conditions such as chronic nerve pain outside the spine, chronic tendon and ligament problems like plantar fasciitis, tennis/golfers elbow, chronic Achilles pain, jumper’s knee, trigger finger and carpal tunnel.

If you’re looking for a non-surgical approach to treat a sports-related injury or chronic musculoskeletal issue, a primary care sports medicine physician may be able to solve your issue without the need for surgery.

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