Which is best for you?
If you are suffering from nagging joint pain, a sprain or injury, you may be putting off care because you simply don’t know who to see for help! Patients are commonly unsure whether their need is best treated at an orthopedic or sports medicine clinic. Here are a few key differences to help you make an appointment with the right expert at Artesia General Hospital and get back in the game.
1. Types of Patients and Treatments
Orthopedic providers tend to see a wider range of patients for needs like arthritis, bone and joint surgeries, carpal tunnel and hand conditions. Sports medicine providers focus on injuries—like ACL tears, dislocations, golfer or tennis elbow, runner’s knee, fractures or sprains—that are related to an active job, lifestyle or athletic involvement. Sports medicine clinics often extend their care for patients with holistic services like concussion care, exercise and nutritional counseling.
2. Surgical or Non-Surgical Intervention
Another major difference between orthopedic and sports medicine is that orthopedics tends to focus on surgical treatment options while sports medicine favors non-surgical care. A sports medicine provider may refer a patient to an orthopedic surgeon on occasion, but most of the time, they focus on preventive care and physical therapy. And if surgery is needed, they focus on minimally invasive techniques.
3. Education and Training
Orthopedic and sports medicine providers overlap in that they both specialize in the musculoskeletal system. However, the two groups differ in the breadth and depth of their training. An orthopedic doctor completes broad-based medical training and a minimum five years of residency in orthopedics; it is typical that they go on to a fellowship in a specific type of orthopedic surgery. In contrast, a sports medicine doctor can complete medical training in a variety of practice areas like family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine or rehabilitation—plus a three-year residency and two years of practical training in a fellowship. For both physicians and physician assistants, sports medicine requires passing an additional certification exam.
Whether you have a sports injury or more general joint pain, the multidisciplinary team of orthopedic and sports medicine providers at Artesia General Hospital will ensure you get the care you need. Request an appointment and get back to what moves you.
Caring for your musculoskeletal conditions through diagnosis, treatment and surgery
Helping you overcome injuries, whether you’re an athlete or have a physically demanding job