by Ashley Puderbaugh | Reprinted courtesy of SimplyKC
Consider how important a knee is to a professional basketball player or a shoulder is to a wide receiver or fullback. With sports their livelihoods, athletes seek out the best sports medicine doctors to ensure they remain at peak performance levels. But sports medicine doctors don’t exclusively deal with athletes. Such injuries can occur at any time, whether you’re at home, office, or traveling. “It’s just as common for patients to injure themselves doing something around the house, like unloading the dishwasher, or for business people lifting luggage off the carousel,” says Aakash Shah, MD, orthopedic surgeon at Kansas City Spine & Sports Medicine Center.
In fact, it may seem as if your injury came out of the blue. You may not know why, when, or how it happened. “I tell patients it’s like getting a hole in your sock,” Dr. Shah explains. “Why do we get a hole if we wear the sock the same way every day? Sometimes it’s truly wear and tear.” Oftentimes, patients ignore injuries because they don’t have time to take off work or they worry surgery may be the only option. But with today’s advancements in the orthopedic field, patients can get back to their regular activities sooner than they think. “There are a lot of things that can be done now non-operatively, as well as operatively,” he says. “If the injury does require surgery, we can do a minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.”
Standard arthroscopic procedures are completed using a 2 mm to 4 mm camera and tiny instruments that go inside the joint. “This greatly decreases a patient’s rehab and recovery, which is important for an athlete who doesn’t want to miss the entire season,” Dr. Shah says. “It’s also great for a parent still trying to shuttle kids back and forth to school.” If an injury is addressed soon enough, there’s a chance surgery will not be necessary at all, he says. Some non-operative options include physical therapy, activity modification, anti-inflammatories, steroid or gel injections, and brace wear. However, for those patients dealing with chronic pain in their shoulders or knees, total joint replacement may be in order. “Those are some of the happiest patients, because they’ve been dealing with that painful knee or shoulder so long,” Dr. Shah shares. “It’s as if they have a new life. What used to be such a painful burden, like going to the grocery store, now all of a sudden is something they can enjoy.”
Recently, Dr. Shah performed surgery on Riley Logan, from Rogers, Ark., who had torn his left pectoralis major tendon about three years ago while working out. When he called Dr. Shah’s office to get more information, he says he was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Shah himself returned Riley’s phone call. “He is very personable and accessible,” Riley shares. “I spoke with Dr. Shah several times over the phone to answer my questions.” The deciding factor for Riley was that Dr. Shah had completed surgeries on years-old injuries like his—he had not found a surgeon in Rogers with the same type of experience.
Because Dr. Shah is active in sports—basketball, golf, tennis, and running—and has experienced sports-related injuries, he identifies with patients. Dr. Shah has always been interested in athletics and physical fitness, he says. He received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, and completed his internship and residency there as well. He then completed a Fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine, working with the NBA Miami Heat through the Orthopaedic Institute of South Florida, where he did research on predicting longevity of athletes’ careers in the NBA. He continues to serve as an NBA physician to the Miami Heat. In fact, when the Miami Heat was in town for a pre-season exhibition game at the Sprint Center, Dr. Shah was on the bench courtside taking care of players.
“A lot of my practice is tailored toward getting people who are accustomed to moving and being active to being able to keep up with their demands so that an injury isn’t the reason why they’re slowed down,” Dr. Shah explains. “Rather, it’s just something we work around and make sure we keep them active.”
Whether you are a collegiate athlete, weekend warrior, or stay-at-home parent, sports medicine applies to you. The team at Kansas City Spine & Sports Medicine Center is dedicated to providing you with the same, personalized care they provide to professional athletes, to ensure you get back in the game of life and stay there.
Kansas City Spine & Sports Medicine Center is located on the Menorah Medical Center campus at 5701 W. 119th St., Suite 308, in Overland Park. Learn more about the practice by calling (913) 649-7300 or visiting www.kcspineandsportsmedicine.com.
Photo by Carmen Carver/SimplyKC Photo