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Farm and Labor Medicine

 Christie Clinic October 08, 2015

By Rick Goding, Orthopedic Surgeon, Christie Clinic

The field of Sports Medicine is a specialty of orthopedic surgery dedicated to understanding and treating the injuries of athletes. This requires a fundamental understanding of the different athletic activities and injuries. In orthopedic medicine, providers see patients with all different types of injuries attributed to various occupations and hobbies.

As a physician in the Midwest, I have noticed consistent patterns of injury in patients from the farm and labor industries. As I visit job sites and interview workers and employers in an attempt to understand these issues specifically, I feel that laboring workers are a distinct enough group to warrant specialized attention from orthopedic surgeons; and I hope to open a broader discussion among orthopedic surgeons about their associated injuries. Just as a sports medicine doctor will spend time on the field of play to understand injury mechanisms and sport demands, we need to give that same attention to the laboring worker.

As a result of these learnings, there is now a new joint-preserving treatment for conditions like early osteoarthritis of the knee, and “unfixable” rotator cuff tears, available in the Champaign-Urbana area. The Superior Capsular Reconstruction for massive rotator cuff tears, or previous failed repairs, is an exciting new procedure. It can truly fix a previously unfixable problem, for which oftentimes, patients either had no option, or the option of a reverse total shoulder replacement. It is minimally invasive, and helps get the workers back to work.

There is also a minimally invasive outpatient alternative to joint replacement, known as subchondroplasty, which shows tremendous promise to prolong the life span of the patient’s own knee; and it can significantly delay the need for total knee replacement. By injecting a calcium phosphate cement into the lesions of early arthritis, we can not only treat the pain associated with early arthritis, but may actually be able to slow down the progression of the disease.

By approaching laboring workers as a unique practice, we can target patients’ individual needs, and the injuries we routinely see. We can provide the best care possible for specific conditions to help them work and function normally, as soon as possible after an injury. We hope our expertise in the injuries we see in this specific audience will become helpful to the larger demographic, who may have shoulder and knee problems as they approach middle age.

Dr. Richard Goding has recently written an article on Farm & Labor Medicine as a specialty, and it will be published in the major journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. To schedule an appointment, call 217-366-1237 or go to www.christieclinic.com. Our office is located at 2110 Fox Drive, Suite B, in Champaign.

Photo credit:  LivingImages/iStock
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 Christie Clinic| October 08, 2015

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