Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Sports Medicine Practitioner

Sports medicine is one of the newer medical fields, and a variety of specialists now list themselves as sports medicine practitioners. This is largely a result of the training and rehabilitation needs of amateur and professional athletes and the tremendous growth in fitness and sports-related activities among the public.

Many sports medicine practitioners have trained as orthopedists, since that specialty field is concerned with the mechanics of muscular and skeletal function. Orthopedists are surgeons and thus are qualified to diagnose and surgically treat many sports injuries. They also apply casts, splints, and many other healing aids.

Since most sprains, fractures, and muscle strains do not require surgery, many nonsurgical physicians also practice sports medicine. Exercise physiology is an integral part of medical and sports training programs.

Sports medicine practitioners have made great contributions to the general public welfare by producing hard evidence of the benefits of healthful exercise. As a consequence, information about subjects such as nutrition, kinesiology (the study of body movement), and biomechanics (the study of lever systems and their effect on performance) has become available to the average weekend athlete.

For more common questions and expert answers on fitness and exercise, visit

©Publications International, Ltd.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.