How does a Sport and Exercise Medicine Physician differ to a General Practitioner?

Sports Medicine

Sports Physician or GP: Who Should Treat You

Making informed decisions about the right health professional to manage and treat your condition can be a challenging task

Sports & Exercise Medicine Skill Set

Sport & Exercise Medicine Physicians (SEMPs) use their advanced skills and training to provide an accurate diagnosis of musculoskeletal and sporting conditions. Their specialist experience means they are better equipped to treat more intricate injuries. Working closely with allied health professionals, including general practitioners, physiotherapists, dieticians and sport psychologists, their clinical expertise enables them to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address all aspects of your injury. 

Sport medicine doctors can also be helpful when physiotherapy has not been successful, rehabilitation options are limited, or pain persists.

Refer to the list below for some of the other common medical conditions in which SEMPs specialise or read our blog article about what is a sports & exercise physician. 

General Practitioner Skill Set

GPs are capable of providing basic management and patient care for musculoskeletal injuries. However, they will often refer to sports doctors for diagnosing and rehabilitating musculoskeletal injuries. Nevertheless, GPs remain an essential part of a patient’s holistic healthcare.

Common conditions treated by SEM Physicians

You can expect a trained sport and exercise doctor to handle the following diagnoses and treatments: 

  • Bony injuries such as stress fractures, traumatic fractures and osteoporosis 
  • Achilles, patella, adductor, and hamstring tendinopathy
  • Acute and chronic sports injuries resulting from repetitive and long-term motion 
  • Acute injuries such as sprains, strains, dislocations, and stress fractures
  • Traumatic knee injuries such as ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL or meniscal injury
  • Acute muscle injuries 
  • Chronic joint conditions such as osteoarthritis 
  • Inflammatory-based conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Relative Energy Deficiency in sport management 
  • Concussions and other head injuries
  • Chronic pain management and education
  • Exercise-induced asthma and other respiratory conditions

Do private health or medicare rebates apply for SEMPs? 

If you're considering treatment from a Sports and Exercise Medicine Physician in Australia, you may be wondering about private health or Medicare rebates. 

Currently, Sports and Exercise Medicine Physicians are not included on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). However, there are different referral pathways that have varying eligibility for Medicare rebates. 

  • If you're referred to a Sports and Exercise Medicine Physician by your physiotherapist, you won't be eligible for the Medicare rebate. 
  • If your GP refers you to a Sports and Exercise Medicine Physician, you may be eligible for a rebate of approximately $20 under a specific Medicare code. 

It's important to note that consultations with a Sports and Exercise Physician aren't eligible for private health rebates.

Keen to know more about our sport & exercise medicine treatments and services? Reach out to our friendly healthcare team and meet Drs Hussain Khan or Liam West from our Sports Medicine Clinic. We are here to answer any questions you may have and help you on your journey to recovery.

If you would like to learn more about our Sports Medicine services please click here

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