Sports Injury Treatment Questions and Answers
Proper care and healing are important for full recovery from a sports injury. If you have a sports injury that needs treatment, talk to our medical professionals at Memorial Family and Urgent Care in Houston, TX. We are open 6 days a week and we also accept walk-ins. For more information please call or book an appointment online.
Table of Contents:
What kind of doctor treats sports injuries?
When should you see a doctor for a sports injury?
Should I visit an Urgent Care or Hospital for my sports injury?
Do I need a referral to see a doctor?
Sports and physical activity have many health and wellness benefits, but they also come with a risk of injury. There are many different types of sport and exercise-related injuries that range in seriousness and severity from mild to severe. The type of injury and extent will determine what doctor you should visit for diagnosis and treatment. Mild sprains and strains that are sore but don’t have too much of an impact can be treated by your family doctor, although they will probably recommend following the RICE method for at-home treatment. RICE refers to Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. These four steps can help with healing and recovery of most mild injuries that happen as the result of sports or exercise. Moderate to severe injuries, or injuries that don’t seem to be healing on their own after a week or two, will need to be checked out by a sports medicine doctor, an orthopedist or a rheumatologist. A sports medicine doctor is highly skilled and trained in recognizing, diagnosing and building treatment plans for injuries that have occurred as the result of playing sports or performing some form of physical activity. They specialize in not just reactive treatment to an injury, but also preventative treatment to help their patients to avoid getting hurt in the first place. An orthopedist is specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system. Often an orthopedist will focus their practice and treatment on a specific area of the body, such as knees, ankles, hips or shoulders. Some of them are also trained to perform surgery, should it be necessary in severe cases. Rheumatologists are able to diagnose and treat injuries that are actually a health condition, not an injury. These can be conditions such as arthritis, gout osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are concerned about going to the wrong doctor, the doctor you do visit to get checked out will refer you to the correct type of doctor for treatment.
While some soreness will occur after physical activity as a result of using your muscles, it’s important to understand the difference between this type of soreness and an injury, so you can know when to get checked out by a doctor. Proper care and healing are essential for full recovery from a sports injury to avoid future weaknesses or injuries, making it imperative to get checked out. Mild injuries for the most part don’t need to be diagnosed, as there isn’t much a doctor can do for treatment except to tell you to rest if, put ice on it at regular intervals, and manage pain if there is any with over-the-counter pain killers. Athletes should seek medical treatment if the pain doesn’t go away, there is swelling, locking or instability in the joint, there is a visible deformity or mass, reduced mobility and range of motion, and pain that disrupts sleep or the ability to perform day to day tasks.
Choosing where to seek medical attention, whether from an Urgent Care or a hospital Emergency Room depends on the type of injury you have and how severe it is. Urgent Care is a less expensive and more convenient option than an Emergency Room for receiving immediate care for your injury. Urgent Care does not require an appointment, they treat patients on a first-come first-served basis, without the long wait times that can be found in the ER. While Urgent Care is able to treat many different types of injury and illnesses, they are only equipped to handle cases that are not considered life-threatening. For life-threatening injuries or fractures where the bone has broken through the skin, you need to seek emergency treatment, therefore call 911, or get a friend or family member to take you to the nearest hospital. Many Urgent Care clinics have an x-ray lab on site, so they are able to properly diagnose the injury during the initial visit without having to send the patient elsewhere for additional testing. They are also able to brace and case minor fractures on site, without the patient having to sit in a long Emergency Room waiting room.
Generally speaking, you do not need a referral to seek treatment from a sports medicine doctor or orthopedist for a sports related injury. However, your insurance coverage may require you to have a referral from your primary care physician to seek the specialized treatment that a sports medicine doctor or orthopedist can provide. As this care is more expensive due to the more advanced education and training, your insurance company may want the written referral as justification for the higher cost. If you aren’t sure about your insurance policy coverage, check with the insurance company prior to seeking treatment without a referral to know how much they will cover to avoid getting stuck with a large bill.
For more details please call or book an appointment online. We serve patients from Houston TX, West University Place TX, Bellaire TX, Jacinto City TX, Galena Park, TX and South Houston TX.