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What Can I Expect From A Sports Medicine Physician?

August 7, 2014

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We dedicate a lot of blog space to the importance of being active. And it’s no secret we think fitness is important. From encouraging participation in the Lorain County Heart Walk, to suggesting the best places to exercise in Cleveland, we want to motivate you to get moving as much as possible.

But sometimes exercise can hurt.

The field of sports medicine is designed for anyone who is physically active, from a high school soccer player to a “weekend warrior” participating in the occasional road race.

A sports medicine physician works with you to prevent injuries unique to your activity and helps you get back out there safely if you do get injured. Even if you’re not an athlete but want to start exercising regularly to stay in shape, a sports medicine physician can give you guidance.

Many people hesitate to see a sports medicine physician because they’re concerned they’ll be told they can’t participate in their sport anymore. While you’re anxious to get back to your activities, it’s important to treat your injury and take time to heal so you don’t suffer more serious damage later.

To ease your concerns about seeing a sports medicine physician, here’s what you can expect from your first appointment.

Detailed Questions About Your Sport

Your sports medicine doctor will want to know about your specific activity level and your goals for future participation. A few questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • How often do you train or exercise in your sport?
  • What is the level of intensity? (If you’re a runner, do you run intervals or time trials, or are you jogging at a moderate level?
  • How often do you compete? Are you training for an upcoming competition or sports season now?
  • Have you experienced any injuries related to this activity before?
  • Do you have any other health conditions, such as asthma or diabetes?

Come prepared with those details and any questions you have.

Inquiries About What Hurts and What Doesn’t

Most sports medicine injuries have pain associated with specific actions. For instance, you might have knee pain when you shift your weight a certain way or shoulder pain when you raise your arm above your head.

Keep a running log of what causes you pain and what doesn’t before your appointment so you can accurately tell your doctor.

A Plan for Follow-up Treatment

Depending on what your doctor determines from your appointment (or any subsequent diagnostics tests), they’ll work out a plan for treatment or injury prevention. This might include at-home exercises, physical therapy, sports nutrition adjustments or a referral to another specialist.

Sports Medicine is one of the primary care services at the Ohio Medical Group. Dr. Matthew Schaeffer is Board Certified in Family Medicine and holds a Certificate of Additional Qualifications in Sports Medicine. He sees patients at his office in Elyria.

WATCH: Dr. Schaeffer talks about how to prevent injuries

For more tips on staying fit and injury-free, download our guide, 6 Steps to Getting Fit and Active.

Physical Activity Guidelines