What is “Sports Medicine?” What’s the difference between Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy? Orthopedics?

Consider a Sports Medicine doctor the foremost expert on your injuries and ailments; the person that diagnoses and plans your best road to recovery, which might include Physical Therapy or Orthopedic Surgery.

  • Orthopedics are trained in and focus on surgery. While SPARCC has a great relationship with Tucson’s best Orthopedic groups and will refer to them when necessary, we encourage exploration of non-operative treatment and therapy as a first option.
  • Many people confuse Physical Therapy with Sports Medicine. In reality these two professions also work together to comprise a complete care team. Sports Medicine is an MD Specialty (read: 4 years Medical School, 4 years residency, and in the case of our docs, additional years of training, fellowships, and research). Physical Therapists might be considered the front-line talent: The ones working hands-on with patient until full recovery under direction of Sports Medicine Physician.
  • Sports Medicine specialists are thus the best-bet first stop for injured persons. They are best equipped to plan the best path forward toward recovery. Exceptions to this rule are very simple injuries (pulled muscle, etc), where a patient best go straight to Physical Therapy.

Sports & Musculoskeletal Injuries

Non-Operative Rehabilitation including Bracing, Orthotics, Physical Therapy, Individualized Home Therapy Programs, Advanced Imaging.

Real Time Ultrasound

SPARCC’s comprehensive musculoskeletal injury care includes real-time ultrasound with functional and dynamic studies. This highly accurate diagnostic tool means imaging and diagnosis can be completed during your visit, saving time and trips to the radiologist. Benefits of our real-time ultrasound service include:

  • Reduce need for X-rays, scans, and radiation
  • Real time advanced imaging modality
  • Advanced imaging algorithms with fine tuning of depth, gain, and color for exceptional images
  • Dynamic studies capturing muscle, tendon, ligament, and soft tissues during motion
  • Doppler and functional studies to evaluate for vascular and nerve entrapment
  • Pediatric focused studies evaluating growth plates without use of X-ray radiation

Read Dr. Jon Minor’s blog post and our other ultrasound blogs for more information.

Ultrasound-Guided Injections

SPARCC offers a variety of ultrasound-guided injections to treat conditions without requiring surgery.

Fracture and Musculoskeletal Care

Diagnostic evaluation for fracture with referral for proper management, if necessary, including surgical options. Post-fracture care and rehabilitation including physical therapy and injections.

Concussion Care

Comprehensive assessment and treatment, Vestibular and Exertional Rehabilitation, Return-to-play Guidelines, Pediatric Neuropsychological Testing, School Planning and Academic Support for Students and Work Accommodations for Adults.

What is Neurocognitive testing and ICAP (Individualized Cognitive Action Plan)?
Example ICAP
What is Active Rehab?

Comprehensive Sports Physical Exams

A thorough exam to assess your athlete’s ability to participate in sports for the upcoming season. Exams are offered by appointment on Friday afternoons at the Central clinic from July through Fall. Each exam includes:

  • Vitals check
  • Vision test
  • Medical & musculoskeletal exam
  • AIA approved forms completed (athlete must bring form)
  • Injury risk assessment
  • Sports nutrition review
  • Baseline concussion testing (ImPact neurocognitive, balance, & visual testing)*
  • Cardiac ECG screen for at risk sports*

$25 for complete exam; baseline concussion and ECG testing are available for an additional $15 each. Sports exams are self-pay only and cannot be combined with insurance.

Additional Services

Comprehensive Nutrition Planning, Performance and Strength Training, Injury Prevention, Anatomical Structure Assessment and Treatment

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