Most of us have heard of the phrase – “The art of medicine”. That refers to the unique interaction between a physician and their patient, taking into account all of the particular and individual nuances that make up one patient’s problem(s). The same treatment will not work universally for every patient. A physician draws upon their experiences and their fund of knowledge to customize the care provided to each individual patient. That, in essence, is the art of medicine.
I am fortunate enough to have expertise in something similar – “The Art of Sports Medicine.” I credit this experience largely to my full year of subspecialty advanced fellowship training in orthopedic sports medicine – A year that was spent at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham Alabama. Dr. James Andrews, and his partners, have created the eminent sports medicine mecca in this country where athletes of professional, collegiate, and high school ranks frequently travel to to seek their expertise.
The skills gained and the experience earned during this year were invaluable. We took care of MVP running backs in the NFL, World Series winning pitchers in major league baseball, national championship winning football players from both Alabama and Auburn. And yet, nobody got the same identical treatment. Everybody got the same technical expertise and effort during surgery, but the conversations, relationships, and individualized care and attention were unique to each patient athlete.
In my orthopedic practice, I have extracted the same principles. Every patient of mine gets an individualized treatment plan and thought assessment from me personally. In particular, my athletes – regardless of level and including our weekend warriors – will get a customized and thorough evaluation as well as treatment recommendations from me.
One of my passions is care of the upper extremity in the athlete – from the shoulder down to the fingers. I have the privilege of treating many baseball players and serve as the team physician for the Houston Astros single-A affiliate, the Holly Springs Salamanders, as well as Campbell University and the University of Mount Olive. Care of the athlete’s shoulder and elbow is a very special situation, particularly as it relates to baseball or softball.
There is a growing epidemic regarding injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow – a problem which is frequently treated with what is commonly known as Tommy John surgery. Other treatment options exist, such as platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections, periods of rest without throwing, and a dedicated return to throwing program.
Each athlete gets a treatment plan tailored to their needs. I take into account many variables – the patient’s age, current level of competition, future ambitions within the sport, and also the time of year during which they are hurt. Different treatment options exist for the baseball player hurt in February versus August, in my opinion.
Together, we can come up with the right treatment plan for you or your family member for their upper extremity and sports medicine needs.