Sports Medicine Q & A

What is a Sports Medicine Doctor and Why Should I See One?

A Q & A with Dr. Couture

Q. I have a family doctor. When should I consult a Sports Medicine doctor?
A. You should talk with your family doctor about seeing a Sports Medicine specialist if you have any orthopedic or musculoskeletal condition or any athletic or exercise-related concerns. Ideally, you should see a Sports Medicine doctor first before seeing an Orthopedic Surgeon since 90% of injuries will not require surgery.

Q. What types of conditions do you typically treat?
A. Our practice treats any issue affecting your frame – that includes muscles, joints, and ligaments. Typical conditions in adults, include sprains and breaks, osteoarthritis, and chronic pain caused by overuse of muscles such as tendinopathy (tendonitis).In children and teens, we’re more apt to see wrist and tibia fractures, knee and leg pain, conditions related to growth spurts, and sports-related concussions. Many primary care doctors aren’t comfortable with the management of concussion because they haven’t had specialty training in that area.

Q. What is your expertise in the management of concussion?
A. As an active member of the New Hampshire State Advisory Council on Sport Concussions, I’m knowledgeable in many issues related to concussion management, including return to play decisions. The Advisory Council has piloted a program using the ImPACT test for high school athletes that assesses neuro-cognitive function, and I’m part of a small group of physicians qualified to interpret those tests.

Q. What advice do you give athletes to prevent sports-related injuries?
A.  The single most important piece of advice I give is, “Don’t do too much too soon.” I always encourage patients to approach any new sport slowly. Know the rules and know your body. Cross-training is beneficial, too, but again, approach it smartly.