When the average person hears about the medical practice called Sports Medicine, they may recall that time when they held their breath as the watched their favorite athlete suffer an injury and be carried off the field in a stretcher. However, that is just one aspect of the field, as sports medicine helps a variety of people dealing with an array of common musculoskeletal issues.
We asked José F. Inzunza, M.D., the Associate Medical Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Jackson North Medical Center, to explain what sports medicine is and who benefits from it.
What is orthopaedic sports medicine?
The word orthopaedic is derived from the Greek words orthos, which means “correct” or “straight”, and paidion, which means “child.” The foundation of the specialty was originally in treating congenital musculoskeletal conditions, and from there it evolved to encompass all ages and functional levels. My focus, orthopaedic sports medicine, is a sub-specialty within the field of orthopaedic surgery. It pertains to musculoskeletal injuries, usually involving muscles, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones that active individuals tend to suffer regardless of age. When I say active, I mean it in a broad sense, encompassing all levels of activity from competitive and recreational athletes, to weekend warriors, to people who have more physically demanding jobs like police officers, firefighters, construction workers, and nurses.
What made you want to be a doctor who specializes in sports medicine?
Coming out of college, I was an engineer. I enjoyed the work, but I realized I wasn’t interacting face-to-face with people that often, which was important to me. So I looked at different careers and medicine really stood out as something I wanted to do. I chose to specialize in sports medicine because I really like that I get to play a role in restoring people to the level of function that is lost when an injury occurs. In my experience, people who seek care from a sports medicine specialist are highly motivated and exceptionally invested in working to achieve a good outcome. On top of that, the variety of procedures that I do are interesting to me and I love going through the entire process of figuring out how to provide the best treatment for each individual.
Tell us about the sports medicine practice at Jackson North Medical Center. What type of patients do you see the most?
The Jackson Multispecialty Center at Jackson North began providing sports medicine and orthopaedic services when I started in September 2018. Patients with bone, joint, ligament, tendon, or muscle disorders have access to a multidisciplinary team. I am trained in Sports Medicine, which is a sub-specialty in demand, and I utilize modern techniques to help patients recover their function and quality of life. Some of these procedures include: knee meniscus repair, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, shoulder labrum and rotator cuff repair, arthroscopy of the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle, repair/reconstruction of shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle ligaments, and tendon repairs including the biceps, quadriceps, patella, and Achilles.
Describe the team you work with at Jackson North.
Our team includes a diverse and dynamic group of greeters, registrars, medical assistants, x-ray technicians, surgical coordinators, and others. We have a comprehensive approach to the care of our patients.
Are there any cases that stood out to you since you started at Jackson North?
One of my first cases was of an older woman who fell and broke her kneecap. After a surgical repair, I saw her a number of times in my office for follow up. Over the course of these visits, she went from being in a wheelchair to a walker to a cane. The last time she came for a checkup, the cane was leaning against the wall and she was excited to show me how she was walking normal again. It’s really fulfilling to see how my patients recover after being unable to take part in their normal activity following an injury. With the intervention of surgery and rehabilitation, you can really see progress, which is incredibly rewarding.
José F. Inzunza, MD, is the Associate Medical Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Jackson North Medical Center. To schedule an appointment, please call 305-654-6850 or visit https://jacksonhealth.org/orthopaedics for more information.