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Selecting a Sports Physician

It is important to choose a doctor who has had experience in treating athletes. The telephone directory is a poor guide to this. I suggest speaking to other runners for a recommendation. You may contact a local running club or a reputable running shoe store for their suggestions. It is vital that you choose someone with both experience and a good reputation among runners. A question that is often asked and subject to much debate is "should your doctor be a runner"? This is not a good question. This makes as much sense as seeking an oncologist to evaluate and treat your cancer based on his own personal history of cancer. While the doctor being an athlete may add to his understanding of both the psyche and the physical conditions that lead to injury, it is not a pre-requisite to being capable of appropriately treating your problem. Recommendation from knowledgeable people are the most valuable resource for finding a capable sports medicine physician.

In spite of the popular press suggesting that your sports physician be board certified in sports medicine, there are no organizations that currently render a board certified status to any physician or podiatric physician. Fellowship status may be achieved however by qualification and testing by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.

A Certificate of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine may also be granted if one meets multiple criteria and successfully passes a certifying examination. This exam is given and the certification granted through a joint verture by the following boards:

        American Board of Family Practice
        American Board of Pediatrics
        American Board of Internal Medicine
        American Board of Emergency Medicine

This exam was first given in 1993. At the initial examination 367 physicians passed and 200 were unsuccessful. It was again given in 1995 and will be given every two years. This certificate may only be given to board certified members of the above boards. Neither Orthopedists nor Podiatrists may receive this certificate. It is not a separate Sports Medicine Board, but does indicate "added qualification" and interest in Sports Medicine.

Other medical organizations of sports medicine include the American Orthopedic Society of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine.

Organizations that may help you find a capable sports medicine practitioner are listed below.

Organizations Maintaining Lists Of Sports Medicine Physicians

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