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Why See a Sports Medicine Physician?


Dr. Alexandra Matthews

Anyone involved in any type of sport has a good chance of sustaining an injury at some point, whether it’s minor or major. If you are injured and require medical assistance, you’ll be best served by a physician who specializes in the field.

Sports medicine specialists, such as the Orthopedic Performance Institute’s Dr. Alexandra Matthews, have received specialized training to treat sports-related injuries and conditions.

What is the difference between a Sports Medicine Physician and an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Both are well trained in musculoskeletal medicine. Sports Medicine Physicians specialize in the non-operative treatment of musculoskeletal conditions. Orthopedic surgeons are also trained in the operative treatment of these conditions. However, approximately 90% of all sports injuries are non-surgical. The Sports Medicine Physician can maximize non-operative treatment, guide appropriate referrals to physical and occupational therapies, and if necessary, expedite referral to an orthopedic/sports surgeon.

Common examples of musculoskeletal problems include:

  • Acute injuries (such as ankle sprains, muscle strains, knee & shoulder injuries, and bone fractures)
  • Overuse injuries (such as rotator cuff and other forms of tendonitis, stress fractures)
  • Osteoarthritis medical and injection therapies

Do Sports Medicine Physicians only treat competitive athletes?

No, Sports Medicine Physicians are ideally suited to provide comprehensive medical care for the non-athlete as well, and are excellent resources for active individuals who sustain an injury during everyday activity, such as work, household chores, or recreational activity.

Sports Medicine Physicians have received additional training in the non-musculoskeletal aspects of sports medicine. Common examples of these include:

  • Concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) and other head injuries
  • Athletes with chronic or acute illness (such as infectious mononucleosis, asthma or diabetes)
  • Nutrition, supplements, ergogenic aids, and performance issues
  • Exercise prescription for patients who want to increase their fitness
  • Injury prevention
  • “Return to play” decisions in the sick or injured athlete
  • Recommendations on safe strength training and conditioning exercises
  • Healthy lifestyle promotion

First and foremost, the goal is to help you to recover from your injury and get back in the game. But there are other benefits to be derived.


Along with treating the injury, rehab is called for to help you heal correctly. This should be done as soon as possible to avoid joint stiffening and muscle weakness.

This includes stretching, exercise and physical therapy as well as balance and fall therapy. Your sports medicine specialist can also give you advice on how to warm up, stretch and cool down to reduce the chance of further injury.

The doctor will also give you a schedule on when you can return to your normal activities in order to avoid further injury.

Preventive Care

Beyond helping you to recover, a sports medicine specialist can also design a specialized program for preventive care. It’s a good idea when you’re planning on participating in a new type of sport or exercise. This can include:

  • Performing a physical examination to ensure that you’re fit for the activity
  • Creating a custom conditioning program
  • Providing lifestyle and nutrition advice to help you maximize performance
  • Creating custom warm-up, stretching and cool-down routines
  • Helping you to build strength and stay flexible

Alternative Pain Treatments

Some people are hesitant to see a doctor for acute or chronic pain because they don’t want to face surgery or be prescribed opioids. Dr. Matthews specializes in alternative methods, such as stem cell injections, that can often replace drugs or the need for surgery.

To repeat, you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to take advantage of sports medicine. If you incur a bone, muscle, or join injury, a sports medicine specialist can help. Schedule your appointment with the Orthopedic Performance Institute today.


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