Stop Ignoring Your Sports-Related Injury: How to Find a Sports-Injury Specialist Who Will Get You Back in the Game

Here’s A Quick Way to Sort Through the Search Results For A Sports Injury Specialist

Feeling overwhelmed by the expansive list of doctors that claim to treat sports related injuries? We’ll save you the research by defining each type of sports-injury specialist for you and helping you choose a top-rated specialist.

First, all the doctors in the bullet list are considered sports medicine doctors. This means that each of these specialists treat sports-related injuries but have their own treatment methods and area of focus.

Read on to learn more about each type of sports medicine doctor so that you can choose one who provides the best type of treatment for your specific sports-related injury.

Your Employer May Have A Secret and That Secret Might be an Athletic Trainer

Do you work at an educational institution such as a university or high school? It’s likely that there are sports injury specialists right on campus! Even if you don’t work at an educational institution, it’s worth asking your employer if they have an athletic trainer for employees.

Athletic trainers are certified to help athletes prevent injuries and treat minor sports-related injuries. Athletic trainers are not the same as personal trainers. Personal trainers help clients reach fitness goals, while athletic trainers specifically focus on sports-injury prevention and rehabilitation.

If you have a minor sports injury, it can save you time and money if your employer has an athletic trainer. Usually, athletic trainers can treat minor sports-related injuries and provide you with tips and exercises to prevent reinjury (or other injuries).

Most working adults who don’t work in an educational setting won’t have an athletic trainer available. That’s okay, because these types of sports-injury specialists are more focused in mild injuries or on-the-scene injury treatment. An athletic trainer is the type of healthcare professional that you witness running to the fields when your favorite player gets hurt.

Athletic Trainers mostly focus on treatment during sporting events and minor woes.  They typically refer athletes to another type of sports medicine doctor, such as a sports physical therapist, for long term care of more severe or chronic injuries.

Chiropractors Can Alleviate Spine Injuries, But Beware –

A misaligned spine is often caused by poor posture, genetics, sudden trauma, and repeated injury. Chiropractors may bring relief to patients who suffer pain and immobility due to spinal misalignment through manual adjustments of the spine.

Finding a reputable chiropractor who has good reviews and up-to-date certification can help alleviate your pain and improve your mobility if you are suffering from a sports-related spinal or joint injury.

Beware of jumping the gun to see a chiropractor – they can provide relief that is widely considered safer than surgery and certain types of pain medications, but they still take an aggressive approach to treatment that is not without risk.

We typically recommend first searching for a physical therapist who is trained in manual therapy, including spinal manipulation.

Not all physical therapists perform manual adjustments to the spine, but those that do typically take a safer and less aggressive approach to spinal alignment techniques than chiropractors.

Physical therapists who specialize in sports and manual therapy also provide strengthening and stretching exercises for the patient to reduce the patient’s risk of reinjury during training or sporting events.

Massage Therapists – They Can’t Always Fix the Cause, but They Can Restore Mobility and Ease the Pain

Injured athletes who suffer from muscle tension, lack of flexibility and mobility, and inflammation can benefit from massage. Massage therapists are trained health professionals who help athletes recover from muscle-related sports injuries through manual massage techniques.

If you’re an athlete whose main symptom is tension and tightness, a massage therapist who specializes in sports injuries may help reduce your tension and pain.

Some sports physical therapists also perform massage and myofascial release, which is a type of massage that relieves tightness in the myofascial tissue (a connective tissue which expands throughout your body).

While finding a massage therapist who focuses on sports-related injuries can certainly help you feel better, they can’t always cure your injury for good. It’s likely that you will need to see another type of specialist, such as a sports physical therapist, to help you strengthen weak muscles and fix muscular imbalances.

Do You Have Bone or Joint Pain? An Orthopedic Doctor/Orthopedist Can Help

Orthopedic Doctors/Orthopedists focus specifically on joint pain, knee pain, and hip pain caused by injuries to joints or bones.

Before you proceed with sports physical therapy or other types of treatments, you may want to see an orthopedic doctor/orthopedist if your sports-injury impacts the bone or joints. These doctors will order imaging tests and give you an accurate diagnosis if your injury effects the bone or joint.

Your orthopedic doctor may recommend physical therapy or orthopedic surgery (in serious cases) to fix the injury.

Want the Cure-All Sports Medicine Doctor? See a Sports Physical Therapist

Most athletes who have a sports-related injury will heal their injuries by seeing a sports physical therapist. Sports physical therapists can treat almost any type of sports-related injury.

Sports physical therapists are certified to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of an injury to heal it and prevent it from returning. These types of sports medicine doctors will use a variety of different treatments that are proven effective in healing and preventing sports-related injuries.

Some of the treatments that sports physical therapists may use include:

  • Mobility Exercises
  • Strengthening Exercises
  • Stretching Exercises
  • Manual Therapy & Massage
  • Heat/Cold Therapy
  • Stability Exercises
  • Functional Exercises/Plyometrics

Doctors typically recommend sports physical therapy as a first-line treatment for most sports-related injuries. Both professional and amateur athletes see sports physical therapists for sports-injury treatment to heal the injury for good.

Podiatrists – Your Foot and Ankle Experts

Are you having issues with your foot or ankle? A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in foot and ankle injuries, including those that are sports related.

A podiatrist will assess your foot/ankle area, order imaging tests (if needed), and recommend a treatment plan. Treatment plans recommended by podiatrists can range anywhere from custom orthotics for extra support in your shoes, sports physical therapy, to injections or even surgery.

Just be weary if your podiatrist recommends surgery, injections, or medications as a first line of treatment. Excellent podiatrists always recommend the least invasive treatment option (such as sports physical therapy or orthotics) first, before suggesting surgery, injections, or medications.

The Quickest & Easiest Ways to Find a Top-Ranked Sports Injury Specialist

Now that you have an idea of which type of sports injury specialist is the best for your specific type of injury, we’ll reveal the quickest and easiest way to find a top-ranking sports injury specialist in your area.

  • Reach out to local sports teams or clubs: If you have a sports team or club in your area, reach out to them to see who they recommend. This will ensure you’re getting a sports medicine doctor who has a history of helping other athletes feel better.
  • Look for patient testimonials: When looking at a sports-medicine doctor’s website, see if they have any patient testimonials posted in the site. An experienced and top-rated specialist typically has great testimonials.
  • Make Sure They’re Certified: Don’t see a sports injury specialist unless you know that his or her certification is up to date. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about educational background and experience treating patients.

Don’t Let Your Sports-Injury Worsen – Get the Help You Need, Now!

Back in Motion Sports and Spine Physical Therapy is SWFL leading sports injury clinic in Fort Myers, FL helping their athletes get back in the game injury-free and stronger than ever.

About the Author:

Dr. Scott Gray is an internationally recognized and expert physical therapist and sports injury specialist in Fort Myers, FL . He is the inventor of a revolutionary form of treatment called the GRAY METHOD. This type of treatment unlike others, addresses the CAUSE rather than just your SYMPTOMS with a full body approach. For more information on how to ease or overcome your injury, go to