With the winter weather giving way to spring, it’s the time of year when kids are ditching their snow pants for shorts, blanket forts for playgrounds, and video game consoles for outdoor activities. With that comes an increase in injuries. Whether that’s a broken bone, a sore elbow or ankle, or a concussion, your child would benefit from being seen by a type of doctor you may have never heard of – a primary care sports medicine (PCSM) physician.
What is a PCSM physician?
Like all physicians, PCSM physicians complete four years of medical school. After that, we finish residencies in “primary care” fields. This includes family medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, or physical medicine and rehabilitation. After residency training, we enter a primary care sports medicine fellowship. There, we spend our days in clinic dealing with numerous musculoskeletal injuries and our evenings and weekends serving as sideline physicians at numerous sporting events such as football games, lacrosse matches, or local road races.
Our injury expertise includes:
- pediatric overuse injuries,
- simple fracture care,
- ultrasound guided injections,
- concussions, and much more!
As part of fellowship training, we frequently work with high school, college, and possibly professional athletic teams in addition to local residents just trying to stay active. Overall, we gain specialized training in treatment and prevention of illness and injury that keeps our patients from being as active as they want to be. That activity level can be a multi-sport athlete, or it can be a pre-teen who just wants to be able to keep up with his/her friends. We understand the unique needs of athletes and understand that pre-teens and teenagers are not just “little adults.”
What sets us apart from orthopedic surgeons is that we don’t take patients to the operating room because we are not surgeons. Many PCSM physicians work closely with orthopedic surgeons, so if your child has an ACL tear or a fracture that requires surgical intervention, that process is as smooth and efficient as possible. However, the vast majority of injuries never require surgery; so we’re here to help diagnose the injury and work closely with physical therapists and athletic trainers to get your child back to playing as soon as possible.
When should you take your child to see a PCSM physician?
The easiest answer is whenever they have a barrier to activity or sports participation. This can be a non-athlete with foot pain that keeps them from participating fully in gym class. It can be a high-level high school pitcher with elbow pain. It can be a football player or cheerleader who just suffered a concussion. Or it can be a volleyball player with a basic ankle sprain, but we’ll have the braces in clinic and knowledge of home exercise programs that can get them back as soon as possible. We see acute injuries – such as muscle strains or broken fingers – and also more chronic issues that cause your child pain after practice is over and may cause him or her to limp and miss the next game or practice. Overall, we’re here to remove any barriers to your child getting off the couch and back outside onto the playground or ball field.
And while we’re at it, we see adults too – so if you have a bum hip or knee that you’ve delayed evaluation of because you’re too busy shuttling your kids to all these activities – book an appointment for yourself with a primary care sports medicine physician as well, we’d be happy to see you, too.
Eric Reynolds, MD, is a primary care sports medicine physician with MercyOne. Previously, he worked with local high schools in Albuquerque, N.M. and Cleveland, Ohio. He has also helped cover Kent State University, the University of New Mexico, USA Track and Field events, USA Triathlon events, and the Cleveland Browns. Here in Des Moines, he serves as an assistant team physician for the Iowa Wolves. His sports medicine office is at 1601 NW 114th St., Suite 240, in Clive. You can schedule an appointment with him by calling 515-358-7750.
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The post is part of a series of sponsored posts by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center