What is a Sport and Exercise Medicine physician?
Physicians specializing in sports and exercise medicine undergo their initial training and board certification in a specialty such as family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, emergency medicine or physical medicine and rehabilitation. They then complete a one-two year training fellowship in sports medicine. This branch of medicine is dedicated to the comprehensive care of athletes and active individuals, promoting lifelong fitness and wellness, and encouraging the prevention of illness and injury.
What do they treat?
A sport and exercise medicine physician’s scope of care includes diagnosing and managing acute injuries, musculoskeletal conditions and illnesses (both chronic and acute) that can potentially affect performance.
Common conditions treated and services provided may include:
- Acute and overuse injuries (sprains, strains, fractures, tendonitis)
- Joint injections (corticosteroid or viscosupplementation)
- Injury prevention
- Return-to-play decisions for the sick or injured athlete
- Athletes with chronic or acute illnesses (such as mono, asthma, hypertension or diabetes)
- Athletes with chronic musculoskeletal conditions (chronic muscle injuries, arthritis of various joints)
- Exercise and performance counseling
When surgery is needed, our sports and exercise medicine physicians can provide easy access to our orthopaedic surgeons for help for both overuse or traumatic injuries, including:
- Torn ligaments (such as ACLs) and tendons
- Broken bones
- Damaged cartilage
- Arthritis and other degenerative conditions
- Complex problems of the shoulder of instability and dislocation
- Complex throwing related problems of shoulder and elbow
- Hip impingement
Our surgeons use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible to minimize pain, scarring and recovery time. Our services include:
- Arthroscopic surgery of shoulders, elbows, hips and knees
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction
- Meniscus transplant surgery
- Hamstring repairs
- Advanced surgery for articular cartilage
- Partial joint replacements
- Tommy John surgery
Our surgeries are typically done as outpatient, where the patient undergoes regional anesthetic rather than general anesthesia which leads to quicker recovery.
Orthopaedic surgeons work side by side with sports and exercise medicine physicians in the office and on the sidelines. Both specialize in diagnosing and managing musculoskeletal injuries that occur acutely and over time.
Sports Specific Rehabilitation and Performance
Proper early rehabilitation is essential for a swift recovery from injury. Our physical therapists, exercise physiologists, athletic trainers and strength and conditioning specialists collaborate to maximize care for each individual. Patients have access to advanced rehabilitation equipment and the latest in rehabilitation techniques. Our emphasis is on efficient transition from rehabilitation to peak athletic performance, and we pay special attention on educating patients to avoid re-injury.
Integrative Sports Medicine
After an injury, every athlete hopes to heal and get back to the game as quickly as possible. Our Sports Health team collaborates with experts from Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine to provide services with a special focus on supporting the body’s natural abilities to heal after a sports-related injury or condition, using techniques such as:
Combined with standard treatments, integrative medicine techniques can help reduce chronic conditions that prevent top-level performance, speed recovery from acute injuries, and enhance and improve conditioning and strength.
Chiropractic Sports Medicine
You can be confident that your Cleveland Clinic sports and exercise medicine specialist will recommend care that does not involve surgery whenever possible. Chiropractic sports medicine has proven effective in treating a wide range of acute and chronic athletic injuries, including:
Our certified chiropractic sports physician is skilled at identifying problems with body mechanics and eliminating the source of pain without surgical intervention.
Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine
Children aren’t just small adults; they need specialized care for any sports-related injuries or conditions.
Our dedicated team of sports medicine experts are specifically trained to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment for both non-surgical and surgical issues in children, teens and young adults, including:
We also are actively involved in ongoing research with other U.S. children’s hospitals to improve understanding and treatment for various pediatric sports injuries.
Dance Medicine Clinic
Cleveland Clinic has recently started a Dance Medicine clinic utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitation, involving practitioners interested in the care of both amateur and professional dancers.
Performers interested in being seen in Dance Medicine clinic may call 216.518.3475 to arrange for an appointment.
Where: Cleveland Clinic Sports Health
5555 Transportation Blvd, Garfield Heights, OH 44125
When: Dance Medicine Clinic is on the second and fourth Tuesday each month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Nutrition for Athletes
Optimal nutrition is important for maximizing your stamina and ability to perform. Our sports health nutritionists can help you stay healthy, avoid injury or accelerate your healing. Nutritional requirements vary by sport, so our nutritionists will work with you one-on-one to design a nutrition plan that helps you achieve you goals, including:
- Improving your diet and hydration status to maximize your performance or workout
- Assist with weight loss, muscle and weight gain
- Prevention of bone loss and injuries
- Playing your best with a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease
Cleveland Clinic's Concussion Center, a collaborative effort between the Center for Sports Health and the Neurologic Institute, is dedicated to evaluating and managing athletes who have suffered a concussion.
Our team is made up of primary care sports medicine physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, certified athletic trainers, vestibular therapists, radiologists, neuro-ophthalmologists and researchers, all dedicated to getting the athlete back to play safely.
Sideline Guidelines app
Cleveland Clinic sports medicine physicians and experts have developed a first-of-its-kind Sideline Guidelines app designed to help sports medical professionals accurately address athletic injuries on the sidelines. The app has compiled a summary of medical information to provide medical professionals guidelines in diagnosing injuries, assessing an individual athlete’s post-injury ability, making return-to-play decisions, and planning training schedules. The searchable format allows providers – on the sideline or in the training room – to quickly access key points to assist in making an informed medical decision about athletic injuries for high school, college and professional athletes.
Download Cleveland Clinic’s Sideline Guidelines App
Available for Free in the App Store