Sports Medicine Trends

Across the United States, hospitals are showing a particular trend. These facilities are gearing up for active patients by forming sports medicine centers. More orthopedic physicians who are new to medicine are specializing in sports medication. Medical practices are being turned into sports medication facilities. Other sports medicine trends coming up in 2011 are being discussed by athletic training pros and sports medicine physicians.

One of these foreseen trends is the establishment of more medical practices specializing in multidisciplinary sports medicine. Surgery is not the only medical approach needed in sports medication. Recovery for an injured athlete calls for the expertise of a multidisciplinary team with physical therapists, sports psychologists, nutritionists, and athletic trainers. A physician affiliated with Harvard Robert J. Nicholetta, M.D. predicts that future sports medication facilities will have all of these services in one center with room for sports medicine physicians who provide primary care.

To make this a reality many sports medicine physicians are beginning to hire athletic trainers. Athletic trainers act as physician extenders to give the flavor of a multidisciplinary approach.

Currently, many sports medication treatment centers have a focus on athletes. Concentrating on athletes who get injured in a game or practice is a common medical intervention. Another approach in use today is holding a Saturday morning clinic for sports injuries. The newest trend is to focus more on sports injury prevention. The hope is to stop a sports injury before medical procedures have to be instigated. Physicians will sponsor educational programs. Prevention before intervention is key.

Preventing ACL is a huge task and a big trend that will be seen. This will be emphasized as a prevention measure for women. Jonathan Chang, M.D. is a spokesperson for the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and the American College of Sports Medicine. He points out that, "Women have a four times greater chance of having an ACL injury as men in the same sport." Dr. Chang sees a great deal of these injuries as preventable. Focusing on preventative programs for female athletes is a definite trend.

Advances in surgical techniques for knees are shaping up to be a sports medication trend too. Anatomic reconstruction will be undergoing shifts. Surgery for ligament reconstruction will have improved outcomes because of biomechanic and scaffold development research.

Further advances in other knee surgery techniques will be made in the future. Cartilage restoration options will increase. The hope with these is to reduce the number of needed knee replacements.

Other trends worth watching are the use of shock wave therapy in treating sprains, minimally invasive surgeries, improved MRI technology to diagnose injuries, and concussion management.

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