NYC Podiatrists Discuss: How to Find a Sports Medicine Specialist in NYC
Posted by Jenn F. on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018
Injuries are a common fact of life—not just for professional-level athletes, but for weekend warriors, active senior citizens, and everyday exercisers. “It’s a common misconception that you only go to a sports medicine doctor if you’re on the high school football team or a competitive runner,” explains Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, founder and doctor of podiatric medicine with The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine for more than 40 years.
“While it’s true we work the sidelines of big events like the NYC Marathon and U.S. Olympic Trials, and we see members of the WNBA and WPLL,” he adds, “we also treat children, adults, and seniors for a broad spectrum of foot and ankle related conditions. You could come see us for arthritis or a bunion, for instance—as well as a sprained ankle or tendon tear.”
A sports medicine doctor may not be part of your healthcare team yet, but adding this professional to your rotation ensures that you’ll stay healthy and mobile for years to come. Here we detail how to find the best sports medicine doctor to suit your needs.
What Training Does a Sports Medicine Doctor Have?
Sports medicine is a sub-specialty of multiple medical fields, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, orthopedic surgery, emergency medicine, physical medicine, and rehabilitation. These highly-trained medical professionals provide care to athletes on the field, in the operating room, training rooms, hospitals, and on-site at emergencies. To become a sports medicine doctor, individuals must complete medical school and a residency in one of the specialties previously mentioned, as well as complete a fellowship for at least one year in sports medicine.
What Does an NYC Sports Medicine Specialist Treat?
Sports medicine specialists treat active individuals and athletes for:
- Acute injuries like ligament, muscle, or tendon tears; fractures, and sprains.
- Chronic injuries like plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, bone bruises, and inflammation like tendonitis or arthritis.
“At The Center, we do a large number of ankle and toe joint replacement surgeries, bunion surgeries, surgical and non-surgical Achilles tendon treatments, plantar fasciitis therapies, skin rashes, ankle rehab, acute fractures, arthritis, really—anything pertaining to the foot or ankle.”
How to Find a Sports Medicine Specialist?
One of the primary factors of differentiation within sports medicine is whether a practice is “surgical” or “non-surgical.” Some facilities only offer primary care sports medicine, where patients are seen for conditions that would not require surgery. Other facilities—like ours—have every type of treatment at their disposal. We like to see patients treated with conservative methods as much as possible, but we can also offer orthopedic surgery if the situation calls for it.
“One of the great conveniences of The Center is our ability to do everything in-house,” explains Dr. Geldwert. “We take you down the hall for diagnostic imaging like x-rays, MRIs, and ultrasounds. You don’t have to go somewhere else to have that done. We can do blood tests and even state-of-the-art gait analysis right here. We can fit you for custom orthotics. There are some surgeries where we’ll set you up at the hospital, but minor procedures, treatments, and therapies, we do in our Manhattan or White Plains office. People like that they’re taken care of here.”
We Look at Your Total Body Mechanics
A good sports medicine doctor looks for the root cause of your injury. “Sometimes it’s a muscle imbalance, overpronation in the gait cycle, or overcompensation from a previous injury placing undue stress on a joint or another body part,” Dr. Geldwert explains. “Our approach is to look at a person’s natural biomechanics. Often, how you stand, walk, and run can predict where you’re likely to sustain injury. Whenever possible, we like to correct that. It can be as simple as changing your footwear or wearing custom orthotics. It could make a difference between whether we recommend therapy or surgery.” Not every NYC sports medicine doctor has a full suite of diagnostic tools to make that kind of call. Certainly, a primary care physician is not going to look deeper than symptoms of pain.
We’re on the Same Page
The goal for a sports medicine doctor is not to tell you to stop running if you’re injured. We look for ways to help you get back to running safely. The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine offers a number of advanced therapies designed to get you recovered swiftly—platelet-rich plasma injections, laser therapy, Extracorporal Shock Wave Therapy, and therapeutic ultrasound, just to name a few procedures. What we propose may not be as quick as getting an injection or popping a pill, but we try to be a friend to all patients to help them through the rigors of physical therapy and long-term health.
Tips on Finding the Best NYC Sports Doctor
Sometimes you’re acutely injured and you don’t have time on your side to research where to go. If you do have the ability to look around before making an appointment, here are a few tips:
- Ask friends and family who they’ve seen. Word of mouth can be surprisingly helpful.
- Look for a practitioner who has experience or interest in the sports you play.
- Go with your gut during the consultation. You can always get a second opinion elsewhere if you don’t feel comfortable.
- Gauge practitioners by availability (scheduling), affability (communication and friendliness), and ability (effectiveness).
The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC has five different sports medicine doctors to choose from. We are accepting new patients with foot and ankle injuries, as well as runners and athletes interested in preventative maintenance. Contact us today.
If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. Geldwert, Dr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.