Sports medicine physicians help athletes maximize function and minimize injuries.
Whatever sport is your favorite, staying healthy and on top of your game takes time and dedication, and the unfortunate truth is injuries are a common part of almost every sport. Even if you’re not a professional athlete, a sports medicine physician can help improve your performance and help with injuries that arise.“We try to help prevent injuries from happening, but when they do, through education and exercise we try to help people return their sport as quickly as possible,”says Ryan Wood, M.D., a Health First Medical Group sports medicine physician. “We study biomechanics to determine how the laws of mechanics and physics relate to human performance. This allows us to evaluate athletes on an individual basis to see if they are more prone to certain injuries, such as ACL tears (tearing of a major ligament in the knee). We also do evaluations for cardiovascular health to see if there are any, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a disease in the muscle of the heart.” Conditions that affect women in particular vary quite a bit. “With younger women, we see a lot of ACL tears. For middle-aged women, patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) — or pain or discomfort that is associated with the back of the kneecap and the femur — is common. Our office also treats a lot of female patients with Plantar fasciitis (inflammation on the bottom of the foot), as well as tennis elbow.” Dr. Wood boasts specialized training that promotes lifelong fitness and wellness, and encourages prevention of illness and injury. He also focuses on nutrition, weight loss, ergogenic aids, performance enhancements and injury prevention. Sports medicine physicians, like Dr. Wood, help patients maximize function and minimize injuries, as well as minimize time away from sports, work or school. This group of specialists also aids in various conditions that affect performance, such as diabetes, hypertension or asthma. AVOIDING & ADDRESSING INJURIES A very important factor to the prevention of injuries is physical therapy and education, according to Dr. Wood. For example, most people with rotator-cuff injuries complete some form of rotator-cuff strengthening programs with scapular stabilization and evaluation of biomechanics. This may also include ultrasound, utilization of hydrotherapy and massage. The most important aspect of sports medicine is sports-specific training. If someone plays soccer, for example, Dr. Wood would encourage him or her to work on strengthening his or her quads to prevent ACL injuries. Sports medicine physicians may also recommend corticosteroid injections into the joint space. Corticosteroid injections are medicine that is helpful with managing pain symptoms. “We find the tendon where the most inflammation is and place the needle there. Our patients experience several weeks of relief following these shots,” explains Dr. Wood. He adds, “The good news is approximately 90 percent of all sports injuries are non-surgical, and sports medicine physicians can expedite referral to an orthopedic/sports surgeon when indicated, and can help guide referrals to appropriate rehabilitative care and ancillary services as needed.” Ryan Wood M.D., MHSA, CAQSM, is board-certified and fellowship-trained in family medicine, with specialization in sports medicine. For more information on Dr. Wood, call the Health First Medical Group Multi-Specialty Practice at Viera Medical Plaza at (321) 434-9230 or visit Health-First.org/Ortho.