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Runners: Should You See a Sports Medicine Specialist?

Young woman jogging

You've been training for weeks - maybe even months. You're finally in the groove with your running and feeling great when it happens. You start to feel pain. Maybe it's something abrupt that stops you in your tracks, or maybe it's a nagging pain that won't go away. You are disappointed and wonder, what's going on with your body? When will it get better so you can return to your training plan? Will you have to stop running all together?

And, you need to figure out where to go for help.

Perhaps the only thing more frustrating than sustaining an injury during race season is trying to figure out what type of doctor to see. At Penn Medicine, our sports medicine physicians understand you want to get back to your active lifestyle to meet your goals, and they want to help.

What is sports medicine?

Sports medicine is a type of practice that focuses on helping people improve their athletic performance (regardless of level), recover from injury and help to prevent future injuries. Knee, leg, back, shoulder and hand injuries are a few of the common disorders treated.

What makes sports medicine physicians unique is that they are experts in physical activity, with specialized training in musculoskeletal conditions and the medical concerns of active individuals.

A sports medicine doctor should understand your goals of staying active. In fact, the goal of a sports medicine doctor is to help you get active or stay active, particularly when you’re sidelined by injury.

Penn Orthopaedics has a team of physicians that are specially trained in this specific field. The Penn Sports Medicine team works with patients to develop individualized care plans to help them return to normal activities as quickly as possible.

“We use the same technologies at Penn Sports Medicine to treat runners as we do to take care of patients that are not active in sports,” said Brian J. Sennett, MD. “The overall goal is to work with every patient to establish their diagnosis, explain what's wrong, how we are going to get them better and lead them through that process.”

When should you see a sports medicine physician?

Still a bit unsure as to when to seek a consultation with a Penn Sports Medicine physician? If any of the statements below apply to you, it may be time to do so.

  • Acute injury: After sustaining a sudden injury - say, a "pop" in your knee, or strain in your hip - we can help you determine exactly what is injured and what type of treatment you'll benefit from the most.
  • Chronic injury: Long-lasting injuries and areas of discomfort will often improve or resolve with appropriate rehabilitation. We can identify and correct the training errors or biomechanical abnormalities that hinder your performance.
  • Injury prevention: By helping you understand why you sustained an injury – and not just what was injured – we will help keep you injury-free for future races and events.
  • Performance enhancement: Whether you are just starting a new running program or want to improve your performance to better your time or distance goals, we can connect you to a team of professionals – physical therapists, registered dietitians, podiatrists, and more – to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded approach and maximize your athletic potential.

About this Blog

Get pain management and fitness tips from our orthopaedic doctors, stay up-to-date on the latest advancements in the orthopaedics field, and hear from patients like you, who achieved what once seemed impossible. 

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