A Rising Trend in Access to Sports Medicine: Not Just For The Rich & Famous Anymore
Posted by Jenn F. on Thursday, September 12th, 2013
At one time, sports medicine specialists were just a service for the rich and famous athletes of America – people who couldn’t afford to wait on the sidelines for their injuries to heal. They accessed the latest technology and most aggressive therapies to fix everything from plantar fasciitis and tendonitis, to foot fractures and ACL injuries. The rest of us just had to see our primary physicians and hope for the best. However, a new study from IBISWorld indicates that more ordinary Americans are taking advantage of sports medicine centers (like ours!) at a more affordable rate.
What Do Sports Medicine Doctors Treat?
Sports medicine focuses on diagnosing, treating and preventing sports injuries ranging from recreational to competitive level activities. This type of primary care doctor can address any pain or injury to the joints, muscles or bones. They can also consult patients on nutrition, substance abuse, sports psychology, surgery, and physical therapy.
Doctors that specialize in sports medicine must have a four-year premed degree, pass the Medical College Admissions Test, graduate from a four-year medical school, and serve a two-year residency. Following a fellowship program, sports medicine doctors must pass an exam administered by the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine.
These extremely qualified professionals may have other specialized areas as well. For instance, our very own Dr. Geldwert is also a board-certified podiatrist and has worked extensively with long-distance runners, tennis players and diabetics.
How Popular Is Sports Medicine?
Despite the recession, The IBISWorld study found that the sports medicine industry has been increasing at an average annual rate of 2.8%. The sports medicine field is expected to total $20.9 billion by the end of 2013. This year saw faster-than-normal growth, shooting up 3.9%.
Over the past five years, sports medicine practitioners have hired more assistants and aides to keep costs down. They have also combined services with primary doctors to boost profits to 10.4% of total revenues, all the while keeping the cost of service affordable for the average American.
Over the next five years, the industry is expected to grow considerably as healthcare reform, increased government support and technological advancements drive the demand for sports medicine services. Now that so many treatments are minimally invasive with quick recovery times, the public has become much more receptive to seeking the cure for their aches, pains and sports injuries.
Who Should See A Sports Medicine Doctor?
It’s an athlete’s natural inclination to avoid seeing doctors at all costs. After all, they don’t want anyone telling them to stop running or playing their sport of choice – even if it is the right advice. People suffering from concussions, pain that gets progressively worse, joint swelling, significant bruising, or abnormal functioning should see a doctor right away. Knees or elbows that “lock” into position are not normal. It’s better safe than sorry in these cases. Both acute traumatic and chronic overuse injuries
Most people initially try to recover on their own through rest, ice, compression and elevation. If they fail to heal in the appropriate time period, they go to a sports medicine specialist to see what’s wrong. Sports medicine doctors can assess the condition using an MRI to pinpoint the source of pain or immobility. They can provide in-office treatments (such as cortisone shots or extracorporeal shockwave therapy) that deliver instant pain relief. Sports medicine doctors will work with you on a long-term solution, giving you all the tools you need to heal your condition.
If you have any questions about your particular issue, please do not hesitate to contact the NY Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.