Sports medicine is a busy and crucial healthcare specialty with changing methods of treatment. Two of the state’s leading sports medicine physicians discuss this specialty and the new theory that inflammation can be helpful to the healing process. Both are Dr. Field but are not related.
Larry D. Field, who grew up in Natchez, is an orthopedic surgeon with Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Jackson. A shoulder and elbow specialist with 27 years of practice experience, he is a past president of the Arthroscopy Association of North America.
“Shoulder and elbow problems constitute a broad spectrum of conditions and injuries and are managed using both non operative and operative techniques,” he said.
Dr. Ed Field of University Sports Medicine in Oxford says the injuries he treats the most depends on what sport is being played. “With football, the most common injuries are shoulder and knee,” he said, “and with soccer and volleyball it’s ankle and the extremities.”
A native of Centreville where his grandfather and uncle started Centreville Hospital, he is a graduate of Tulane University Medical School and has been in Oxford since 1992. “I treat sports injuries with a combination of medications, physical therapy and sometimes surgery,” he said. “Yes, inflammation is a natural part of the healing process and can enhance healing. For a kid with a knee injury, it is sometimes helpful but not for someone with rheumatoid arthritis.”
Dr. Larry Field agrees that an inflammatory response constitutes an integral component of an effective healing process. “Manipulation of this inflammatory response through the utilization of various treatments may impact healing by a variety of mechanisms,” he said. “There is controversy, however, regarding whether altering the inflammatory response can and does impact healing following an injury. Also, questions regarding the safety, indications for, and efficacy of some treatments remain, and ongoing and future research will hopefully aid in helping to define which treatments are most helpful.”
This Dr. Field finds that basketball, football and bicycling are the sports most commonly associated with injuries. “Athletes who participate regularly in sports that involve contact or collision are statistically more likely to sustain injuries.”
Oxford’s Dr. Field also notes that contact sports involving strong, fast players sustain the most injuries, along with female soccer players, who have the most knee injuries.
Speaking of treatment methods, he says the cutting edge term now is stem cells, which can be manipulated to where you want them. “Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is also being requested a lot of times by athletes,” he said. “The athlete’s blood is drawn and then spun so that the red cells are on the bottom and the plasma is on top. The plasma can be injected where they want it to go. NFL players who’re looking for every advantage are using it some.”
He adds that the ongoing scientific research isn’t where he wants it to be at this time. Also, PRP treatment is currently not covered by insurance companies, making it quite expensive.
Jackson’s Dr. Field said biologic products also include bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC), genetic therapeutics and vaccines. “Many biologic products have proven to be extremely valuable in the management of a variety of conditions, but other treatments have yet to be proven safe and efficacious, making the indications for their use controversial.”