Building A Practice Focused On Podiatric Sports Medicine

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Author(s): 
Tim Dutra, DPM, MS, MS-HCA

   You should be able to discuss current issues and trends objectively with your patients, such as barefoot versus shod running, childhood obesity, basic nutrition principles, and the benefits of exercise, weight training, stretching and strengthening and prevention of injuries. Evidence-based sports medicine is also important to keep up on by reading sports medicine journals and attending conferences.

A Guideline For Returning Patients To Activity

Return-to-activity guidelines are an important part of your practice. The level, age, fitness and motivation of the athlete are just several important considerations in coming up with a return to activity plan.

   I am careful to under-promise and over-deliver. This will make your patients happier and more satisfied with your treatment program and return to activity if they return sooner than expected. An example would be when dealing with an inversion ankle sprain in a high school athlete. You could tell him or her that it may be as long as six to eight weeks to return to athletic participation, depending on how well he or she complies with exercises and rehabilitation, uses taping or bracing, etc. If the athlete returns in four weeks, he or she is very satisfied with your care. It is basically a good idea to overestimate a return to activity date because if athletes take a longer time than estimated, they can become frustrated.

Why It Is Worth Getting Involved In Professional Sports Organizations

It is very important to be an active member in sports medicine organizations. I found that the two most useful organizations for developing my podiatric sports medicine practice were the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM) and the American College of Sports Medicine. Both organizations have Fellow status, networking opportunities, professional meetings and the ability to get involved on numerous levels. I encourage students and young practitioners to get involved as early as they can.

   The AAPSM also offers post-graduate fellowship opportunities. You can also provide lectures at your medical staff meetings on a variety of sports medicine topics and the AAPSM provides an excellent referral source in your community.

   Dr. Dutra is an Assistant Professor of Applied Biomechanics at the California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University. He is a Past President and Fellow of the American Academy of Podiatric Medicine, and a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Dutra is a podiatric consultant for Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of California at Berkeley. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Joint Commission of Sports Medicine and Science.

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