When to see a Sports Doctor

Think you might need to see a Sports Doctor? Read our helpful guide to find out when it’s best to book an appointment with the Doc.

A Sports Doctor deals with all non-surgical musculoskeletal problems. They do not operate, unlike Orthopaedic Surgeons, but we find that less than 1% of our patients with injuries need surgery. Our Doctors are very experienced in managing and treating all types of conditions.

A Sports Doctor will be able to assess, diagnose, arrange scans if needed, and go through all findings with you to make sure you understand your diagnosis. They can arrange other tests and referrals if appropriate, but will ultimately plan your rehabilitation (this could include Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Massage Therapy, Performance Coaching, or other members of our team). They will also refer you to other specialists if the appropriate person is not within Pure.
The Doctor will take ultimate control of all your care, directing and monitoring your progress to ensure you are moving in the right direction, at the right speed and with the right help.

It’s not a case of either / or, but rather who might be best at assessing you initially. You are likely to benefit from input from other types of clinician, however it may more time efficient for you to book in with a Sports Doctor in the first instance.

When and why should you see a Sports Doctor?

  1. To get a global picture of your condition, by excluding other important conditions that may mimic the symptoms you are presenting with. For example: non-musculoskeletal conditions, inflammatory conditions, conditions that may need surgery.
  2. They can confirm the correct path of management / treatment. If no further investigation is required, then the Doctor will refer you on to the correct clinician.
  3. To confirm a diagnosis from clinical examination, formulate a treatment plan, give guidance to the rehab team and review your progress and improvement.
  4. If you have had treatment before from another clinician, eg. Physiotherapist / Osteopath, but have not seen any improvement in your condition.
  5. If you have had the problem for more than 3 months and don’t yet have a diagnosis.
  6. Insurance companies often only allow referral to a Podiatrist, Massage Therapist, Nutritional Therapist and Performance Coach if the referral comes directly from a Sports Doctor.
  7. The Sports Doctor is the only person that can use Ultrasound for diagnosis purposes on site, and is the only person who can refer you externally for scans, including: X‑ray, MRI, CT Scan and Isotope Imaging.
  8. The Sports Doctor may need to arrange further tests, for example: Blood tests and Nerve conduction studies etc. Only a Sports Doctor can arrange and / or perform these.
  9. If you need an injection. Injections are only given by Sports Doctors. These are also sometimes performed with US guidance. If you think you may need an injection, then you need to see a Sports Doctor. Only they can assess you and advise you on whether an injection is appropriate for you.


a year ago