Sports medicine is not just for professional athletes anymore, nor is it just for men. From after-work league players, to dedicated joggers, to beginning exercisers, sports medicine has reached out to address the needs of all women by adding programs aimed specifically at women.
Women's sports medicine centers exist to meet the particular needs of active women. Active women have concerns that differ from men, which affects how they seek and receive treatment.
Sports medicine centers for women deliver care to athletes as well as women who want to be more active, but might not know where to start.
The goal of women's sports medicine is to address women's concerns. This includes an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament injuries or stress fractures. Women may also have other health problems or concerns that impact sports:
Training goes to the heart of the matter—women are physiologically different from men. Hormones, muscles and joints, the center of gravity, and metabolic differences are some of the factors that come into play. Women's programs offer a more tailored approach to help women maximize their athletic potential and reduce the incidence chronic injuries.
Many women prefer and perceive that they get better care in medical centers devoted to their specific medical needs. A survey on Women's Satisfaction With Primary Care found that women want medical clinics that offer things like child care, increased privacy, more time during appointments to discuss their concerns, and medical providers who were informed about women's health research and resources.
In response to this need, centers offer rehabilitation and diagnostic services, nutritional counseling, orthopedic surgery, exercise consultation, and more. A woman who comes to a center may consult a team of physicians and therapists who work together to design a treatment protocol or exercise program just for her.
Women may change medical providers because of communication problems: they feel their doctor is not listening to them. Women-oriented medical programs seek to overcome that by offering patients a staff that is not only mostly female, but also comprised of female athletes who can understand and may even have personally experienced the problems the patient is experiencing.
If you are an athlete or thinking of becoming more physically fit, you may want to locate a sports medicine center for women in your area.
The Association for Women in Sports Media
Women's Sports Foundation
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology
Women's Health Matters
Goldring AE, Ashok AP, Casey EK, Mulcahey MK. Key components and potential benefits of a comprehensive approach to women's musculoskeletal health. 2016;44(4):417-424.
Sports medicine for women. Novant Health website. Available at: https://www.novanthealth.org/forsyth-medical-center/services/rehabilitation/sports-medicine-for-women.aspx. Accessed September 6, 2017
Women's sports medicine center. Hospital for Special Surgery website. Available at: http://www.hss.edu/womens-sports.asp. Accessed September 6, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 9/6/2017