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Why Every Athlete Needs a Sports Medicine Specialist

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Why Every Athlete Needs a Sports Medicine Specialist

Every year in the U.S., more than 210 million people — kids and adults — take part in some sort of sport or organized physical activity. And every year, millions of those athletes are injured while playing their sport. In fact, the CDC says about 9 million sports-related injuries are reported each year among athletes of all ages. Many sports injuries can be treated by an orthopedic doctor. But if you’re an athlete — of any level — you want to be sure you get the right care for your specific injury and your particular sport. And that’s how a sports medicine doctor can help.

What is a sports medicine specialist? And what do sports medicine physicians do?

A sports medicine specialist is a healthcare provider who’s focused on the unique needs of athletes — pros, students, and weekend warriors alike. Regardless of your particular activity or skill level, seeing a sports medicine doctor is one of the best steps you can take following an injury, even if the injury isn’t directly related to your sport. Here’s why.

1. Care is customized to your needs
Whether you’re physically active on a daily basis or just on the weekends, sports and similar activities can put a lot of stress and strain on your body. Even with regular training and practice, you can still get injured. What’s more, most sports are associated with specific types of injuries, based on the movements you make when you’re participating or warming up. And often, those injuries can differ from the injuries that commonly occur in non-athletes. That means they need special care and treatment — both to address the current injury and to help prevent the problem from recurring.

A sports medicine orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Van Thiel is skilled in identifying and treating both impact-related injuries and injuries due to repetitive motions of your joints and bones. And, he can tailor that care to your specific health needs, your specific sport and your level of activity, so you can get back to the activities you love.

2. Sports doctors can help prevent injuries
In addition to treating injuries, seeing a sports medicine doctor is important for avoiding future injuries, especially if you’ve had injuries in the past. How can seeing a sports medicine orthopedic surgeon help prevent serious athletic injuries? It’s simple: Sports medicine doctors have a deep knowledge of biomechanics, or the way your body moves and responds to physical activity. That means they can identify ways to strengthen your body in the specific areas that are most affected by your sport. By improving strength and flexibility, you’ll be able to decrease strain and other risks that can result in injuries.

3. You could improve your game and enhance your performance
Sports medicine doctors can also help you learn better ways to play and practice so you perform better and get more out of your game. A sports medicine specialist like Dr. Van Thiel will help you understand your own body and how it responds to your activity, tailoring treatments to your needs and providing plenty of guidance and advice to help you compete at the top of your game.

4. You’ll have access to cutting-edge treatments
As a top-rated sports doctor and an experienced orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Van Thiel has extensive experience in regenerative medicine, like PRP, stem cell therapies and cartilage restoration. And that means you’ll have a lot of options when it comes to your care. With access to so many different types of treatments, Dr. Van Thiel will be able to create a treatment plan that’s truly optimized for you, your sport and your health needs, both now and in the future.

Sports medicine doctor vs. physical therapist: What’s the difference?
Orthopedic doctors and physical therapists are probably the two most “common” types of sports medicine specialists. And certainly, both can play important roles in your recovery. When it comes to getting the most appropriate care, the questions are — who should see a sports medicine doctor? And when should you see a physical therapist? Again, the answer is simple: Your first step should be to schedule a visit with a sports doctor. Why? Because while a physical therapist performs only one type of service — physical therapy — a sports doctor like Dr. Van Thiel has access to all types of treatments, including medication and surgery. That means you can count on a comprehensive plan of care that’s focused on multiple options, including physical therapy. It’s just one more way to ensure your care is optimized for you.

Learn how a sports medicine doctor can help you
Dr. Van Thiel treats athletes of all levels throughout the Rockford area and Northern Illinois. If you’d like to learn more about the treatment options he offers for injury treatment and prevention, call the office of sports medicine specialist Dr. Geoffrey Van Thiel at   and schedule an office visit today.

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