Individuals who have been vaccinated with three doses of the Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccines are strongly urged to receive their fourth vaccine dose for the minimum level of protection against COVID-19.

Register Now >

How Does Sports Medicine Differ From Orthopaedics?

Dr. Chiam Tut Fu

Medical Director, Consultant Sports Medicine Physician at Thomson Wellth Clinic

MBBS (Singapore), MSS (Sports Medicine), MMed (Occupational Medicine), GD (Occupational Medicine)

Dr. Chiam Tut Fu specialises in the management of musculoskeletal pain due to sports injuries or age-related degenerative and orthopaedic conditions and myofascial causes like trigger points. He also has a special interest in weight management and smoking cessation.

Table of Contents

It is easy to get sports medicine and orthopaedics confused, since both an orthopaedic surgeon and a sports injury specialist will be able to help you recover when you injure yourself. While both fields tend to overlap, they also have their differences because they are two distinct subfields of medicine.

Hence, we will be discussing the differences between sports medicine and orthopaedics in this article to help you make informed decisions. Read on to find out more.

Four Key Differences Between Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics

1. Different Focus and Approach

Orthopaedic surgeons focus solely on musculoskeletal conditions encompassing your bones, muscles, joints, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues. They are also trained in both non-surgical and surgical treatment methods.

On the other hand, sports injury specialists have orthopaedic knowledge as well but also touch on topics outside of it. They tend to utilise a holistic approach such as lifestyle modifications, nutrition counselling and physical therapy to help patients recover.

2. Different Take on Surgical Intervention

Many orthopaedic surgeons will usually recommend non-surgical treatment methods first as they are less invasive and require minimal downtime. However, they will still suggest surgery should a patient’s condition be severe or if conservative treatments prove to be ineffective.

While some sports injury specialists perform surgery too, most choose to focus on non-surgical and minimally invasive treatment methods that can be equally effective on a case-by-case basis. Some common treatments include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) and INDIBA Active Cell Therapy.

boy was suffering from an injury to sports injury clinic in Singapore

3. Different Types of Patients

While both a sports injury specialist and an orthopaedic surgeon will assess patients and treat their injuries, the types of patients they help can be quite different.

Orthopaedic surgeons cover a more comprehensive range of musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome that can occur in anyone, but usually in older people. Sports injury specialists focus more on patients with sports injuries like an ACL tear, runner’s knee and tennis elbow that are more common in younger people to help them get back to being active.

Orthopaedic surgeons do not really limit themselves when it comes to patients whereas athletes or active people are the centres of attention of sports injury specialists, although they can and do treat people from all walks of life.

4. Different Functions

It is advisable to visit an orthopaedic surgeon for injuries that require surgery, as even a sports injury specialist will refer you to one if your condition is assessed to be more severe. Common conditions that an orthopaedic surgeon treats include fractures, ruptured discs, dislocations, hip dysplasia, joint replacements and muscle tears.

Sports injury specialists can diagnose and treat the same conditions but through non-surgical and minimally invasive methods. They can treat injuries like concussions, sprains, fractures, damaged tendons and ligaments. In addition, they also treat common age-related generative conditions like joint pain and arthritis. Many of them go a step further to help patients prevent recurring injuries with nutritional advice and training or exercise plans to help restore and prolong mobility.

Both an orthopaedic surgeon and sports injury specialist will be able to help you relieve pain and regain mobility so that you can get back to doing what you love. Ultimately, most would usually consider their specific concerns, how accessible the sports injury clinic is, preferred doctor, and cost of treatment before making a decision. Nevertheless, knowing the differences between an orthopaedic surgeon and sports injury specialist will help you understand more about your treatment options.

Consider visiting a sports injury clinic in Singapore for a consultation, if you are suffering from any musculoskeletal pain or injury. Serious injuries may have long-lasting consequences if they are left untreated.

Proper management of musculoskeletal pain or injuries improves one’s quality of life and allows one to stay active till old age. Contact us to learn more about our musculoskeletal health services.

Related Articles

Guide to Performing a Breast Self-Examination

Guide to Performing a Breast Self-Examination

Currently, a mammogram screening is the most effective breast cancer screening tool but it is only recommended for women above 40 years of age. If you are younger, doing a breast self-examination is your next best bet – they are quick and fuss-free but can also help you to detect abnormalities in your breasts early. This guide on the who, when and how of breast self-examination will give you a clearer idea of the entire process.

Read More
Managing Knee Pain With 5 Simple Lifestyle Changes

Manage Knee Pain With 5 Simple Lifestyle Changes

Knee pain is often associated with old age but you will be surprised to find out that more and more young people are experiencing joint pain in the knee as well. While it is always advisable to seek prompt knee pain treatment in Singapore, there are also some simple lifestyle changes you can make to manage symptoms and complement treatment for more effective pain relief.

Read More

Share this post