What is Sports Medicine?
As competitive and recreational athletic participation has exploded over the last 15-20 years, so has the need for a medical specialty specifically geared toward the treatment and prevention of sports-related illness and injury. The term “Sports Medicine” is used broadly as a catch-all phrase referring to the medical care of athletes, and the science of sports and sports related injuries.
The Foothills Philosophy:
At Foothills, we work closely within the sports medicine team to facilitate a safe, timely and cost-effective return to activity. We provide frontline practitioners, such as our Certified Athletic Trainers, on the sidelines of sporting events. We have FAST® performance trainers working closely with clients on fitness and wellness programs. As patients come to physical therapy through direct access, our therapists become an important part of the sports medicine team as well. We ensure a treatment program and plan of care specific to you and your goals. And should your injury reach beyond our scope of care, we work with top sports medicine physicians across the Valley so you’re not sidelined for long.
Sports Medicine FAQs
- What is a Sports Medicine Specialist?
To be accurate, a sports medicine specialist is a physician who has undergone 12-13 years of specialty training, including a residency and fellowship in non-operative sports medicine. Specialists are often viewed as the leader of the medical team, which includes surgeons, athletic trainers, and physical therapists. They specialize in the non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, which account for approximately 90% of all sports injuries. They work closely with physical therapists (and other members of the medical team) to restore patient function and to return athletes safely to their activity or sport.
- What about my therapist? Are they considered a sports medicine specialist?
It depends on how the term is defined. Foothills employs qualified physical therapists, many of whom have advanced certifications within the physical therapy profession, equipping them to treat athletes of all ages.
- What is the difference between sports medicine and physical therapy?
Sports medicine is a broad term that defines a medical specialty suited to the evaluation, treatment and prevention of sports-related injury and illness. It’s a catchall phrase that refers to the team of medical professionals involved in the care of athletes. This team includes Foothills physical therapists, Foothills athletic trainers, FAST strength and conditioning specialists and physicians (non-operative sports medicine, orthopedic surgeons).
- Do I have to be an athlete to see a sports medicine specialist?
Not necessarily. Sports medicine professionals treat every exercise-related injury. If you’re an active person wishing to increase performance, gain strength and flexibility, or recover from exercise-related injury, we highly recommend seeing a sports medicine specialist.
- Should I see a physician for my sports injury?
Physical therapists can treat a wide variety of injuries including tears, sprains, strains and much more. Our therapists will also determine when an injury or condition needs to be treated by a physician, and will refer you to a doctor if needed.
- Will I have to stop training while in PT?
Every patient is different and your therapist will decide on an individual basis what level of activity is healthy. If you are recovering from an injury, it is unlikely that you will be able to participate in athletic activities at the same level you’re used to. Our physical therapists will design a custom program to get you safely back on the field. FAST specialists also play a key role in returning athletes to full athletic participation.
- Do you take my insurance?
Yes! We accept the majority of health plans in Arizona. Contact one of our locations, or view this list of accepted insurance plans. Some patients choose to pay out of pocket depending on their insurance coverage. We will work with you to find the best plan to suit your needs.
- How do I make an appointment?
Foothills offers a no obligation Free Rapid Recovery® Injury Assessment. You can make an appointment online here today!