What’s A Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician?

Primary care sports medicine physicians are the leading specialists in the field of sports medicine. They provide comprehensive medical care to athletes and fitness enthusiasts, including injury prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for general orthopedic conditions such as arthritis or joint issues. Primary care sports medicine physicians also specialize in helping patients recover from acute injuries such as muscle strains and sprains.

These doctors work with a wide range of people: elite athletes who compete at the national level, weekend warriors who participate in organized athletic events like 5Ks or 10Ks, recreational players who play on their company’s softball team, or children participating in youth soccer leagues.

Primary Care Sports Medicine Physicians are experts in preventing injuries before they happen by advising patients about proper footwear selection when running on hard surfaces, how to properly warm-up before playing sports, and what exercises are best for maintaining overall fitness.

They can also diagnose and treat common sports injuries, such as ankle sprains or ACL tears. If you’re looking for a doctor who can help you stay healthy and injury-free while enjoying your favorite sport or physical activity, a primary care sports medicine physician is the right specialist for you.


What Are The Basic Primary Care Sports Medicine Services?

A sports medicine physician provides care for all types of sports and activity injuries. They are primary care physicians who have additional training in the diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries. A PCSM physician can provide services such as:

  • Injury prevention counseling
  • Athletic injury evaluation and management
  • Return to play decisions
  • Orthopedic surgery consultation (if needed)
  • Mild head injuries or concussions
  • Acute wounds (such as ankle sprains, muscle strains, knee and shoulder injuries, and fractures)
  • Injuries caused by overuse (such as rotator cuff and other forms of tendonitis, stress fractures)
  • Colds, flu, and mild stomach difficulties
  • Illness, whether chronic or acute (such as infectious mononucleosis, asthma, or diabetes)
  • Once a year physicals
  • Treatments for osteoarthritis, medications, and injections.
  • Advice on nutrition and supplements
  • Advice on how to exercise


What Are The Qualifications Of A Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician?

A primary care sports medicine physician is a doctor who has received additional training beyond their medical school on how to treat injuries related to the spine, joints, and muscles.

Primary care sports medicine physicians are trained in many of the same techniques as chiropractors with respect to physical therapy. They help patients recover from injuries after surgery by teaching them exercises that can be done at home or in an outpatient facility without requiring hospitalization. If you have had an injury due to overtraining or repetitive strain then they will also prescribe preventative measures so that this does not happen again in the future. Some examples include wearing protective gear while doing certain activities, taking breaks when needed during activity, avoiding specific poses if there is a risk for straining ligaments, etc.

Primary care sports medicine physicians can be board certified in orthopedics and/or family medicine. They hold a medical degree from an accredited university, have successfully completed three years of residency training, and passed the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step I examination or its equivalent such as Part II of the International Board of Medicine Examinations.

Once they are licensed to practice in their state then it is up to them to complete an additional two-year primary care sports fellowship program after completing their internal medicine residency training. This subspecialty certification is required for anyone who wants to call themselves “board-certified” by any specialty board recognized by either the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists or the American Board of Medical Specialties.


Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician Is Not The Same As An Orthopedic Physician

A primary care sports medicine physician is not the same as an orthopedic physician. Orthopedic physicians are surgeons who specialize in treating bones, joints, and muscles. They may be called upon to treat more serious injuries such as fractures or ligament tears. A primary care sports medicine physician, on the other hand, typically provides nonsurgical treatment for injuries and conditions related to physical activity.

This can include everything from providing advice on how to stay safe while playing a sport to prescribing medication for pain relief. Many primary care sports medicine physicians also have experience with rehabilitation therapies like physical therapy and massage therapy.


What Is The Difference Between A Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician And A Physical Therapist?

It’s important to understand this difference, as it could impact your treatment.

A primary care sports medicine physician is a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal injuries and diseases that are treated with physical therapy or rehabilitation techniques. These physicians spend their careers treating injury-related problems using many different types of treatments depending on the patient’s condition. Physical therapists can also treat patients’ conditions, but they do not have medical degrees like primary care sports medicine physicians. A physical therapist does not prescribe medication for pain relief or help recommend surgical procedures to fix damaged bones or torn muscles/tendons.

So, if you are looking for a sports medicine specialist who is also trained in family medicine or orthopedics then you should seek out a primary care sports medicine physician. Sports medicine is a growing field, they will be able to help treat your injury and get you back to doing the things you love as quickly as possible!

Primary care sports medicine physicians are available to provide expert, personalized treatment for injuries and illnesses that affect the general population. If you’re interested in finding out more about our primary care sports medicine services, we can help!





Are You Looking for a Sports Medicine Physician You Can Trust?

Dr. Chen sees patients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital Center for Sports Medicine in Walnut Creek, California. He is a board-certified Pediatrician and Sports Medicine Doctor that specializes in the non-operative medical treatment of a wide variety of various musculoskeletal conditions, including back injuries.  Dr. Chen graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine and went on to complete Pediatric residency training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey (Rutgers), then went on to fellowship training in Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one of the perennially top-ranked children’s hospitals in the nation. There he provided sideline coverage for NCAA Division I athletics at the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (OH). Since graduating, Dr. Chen has continued his love of sports coverage by volunteering for the San Francisco Marathon, the San Francisco Giant Race, and as the team physician for Northgate High School in Walnut Creek. Being a part of The Center for Sports Medicine allows Dr. Chen quick access to a multidisciplinary team of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, physiatrists, and physical therapists to return you to your highest functional level quickly and safely. Click here to contact us for your next appointment!


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