Sports Medicine is a specialty that involves diagnosing and treating sports or exercise-related injuries.
I became interested in Sports Medicine while still a student because of the diverse nature of the work - you get to work with patients young and old, as well as treat both recreational and competitive athletes!
In Singapore, doctors are trained for a minimum of 5 additional years before they become specialists in the field. It takes a lot of experience to accurately diagnose and properly manage sports injuries.
If you do suffer any type of injury, you should apply RICE immediately (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) as this helps to minimize damage. It's also best to see a GP, Sports Medicine doctor or Orthopaedic Surgeon as soon as you can, because chronic injuries are much harder to treat successfully.
How does a Sports Medicine Doctor help with your injury?
1. Expert diagnosis of your injury
At your first meeting, your Sports Medicine Doctor will take a thorough history, perform a physical exam and use imaging tools as required, ranging from ultrasound machines to CT and MRI scans. This helps him to diagnose the exact mechanism of your injury.
For example, an ankle sprain could mean injury to any number of tissues around your ankle - This includes bone, ligaments and muscle. Identifying the injured structure will help your doctor to treat it in the best possible way.
2. Identify underlying causes of your injury to prevent recurrence
Suffering from recurrent ankle sprains, or know of a friend who does?
Whenever a injury heals, it's always likely to happen again, unless the underlying cause has been addressed and rectified. The good news is that doctors can instruct you on how to minimize and prevent the recurrence of injuries.
For example, one of the causes of repeat ankle sprains is because your ankle ligaments become "looser". To counteract this, it's important to strengthen the muscles around your ankle, as well as to re-train your ankle propioception (proprioception is your awareness of a body part's position).
3. Intensive sports injury rehabilitation
Your Sports Medicine Doctor will typically work together with a team of physiotherapists to customize a step-wise rehabilitation programme for your specific injury. This helps to speed up your healing, and restore complete function to your injured body part.
I hope that your road to recovery is a speedy one!