Physician's Corner: Dr. Jeremy Alland

Posted 6/4/2018 in Physician's Corner | 767 view(s) | 0 comment(s)

Jeremy Alland, M.D.
Assistant Professor Rush University Medical Center
Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

Over the years, we have been running a series of Q&A sessions with some of the amazing doctors that we have close relationships with.  This month we talked to Dr. Jeremy Alland with Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.  He is an Orthopedic Physician and a team physician for the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Fire Soccer Club and Windy City Bulls.

Achieve: Why did you go into sports medicine?
Dr. Alland: I have always being involved with sports and exercise and therefore I always loved the mix of my passion with medicine. However, I also found that I really enjoy working with motivated patients who want to improve their well-being and happiness. Sports medicine is such a great field where I get to meet a ton of active people who are limited in some way and help them get back to their activities that make them happy. I feel my experiences give me a unique ability to relate to my patient population and communicate in a way that makes sense and matches their goals.

Achieve: How do you balance your personal like with all of the work that you also do?
Dr. Alland: I have always had the mentality that family and personal happiness come before work. This can be easier said than done, especially in a world where we are accessible by email and text at all times. I really focus on setting my schedule up for success. I set up clinic times with the flexibility to accommodate things that bring me joy and I protect weekends as much as possible. On weekdays, I try to put my phone in another room for dinner and before the baby's bedtime. I find the urge to look at my email and phone the most challenging. It is hard, but I think awareness is the key and I am always working on it.
Achieve: Besides the orthopedic injuries, what do you think the most important aspect about managing a sports team is that most people may not realize?
Dr. Alland: With all of our major teams, we do very comprehensive physicals. Professional athletes get a medical exam, orthopedic exam, lab testing, concussion testing and occasionally cardiac and eye exams every year before the season or with any new acquisition. This testing is to ensure all the athletes are safe to compete but also to help mitigate risk for the organizations who invest a lot of resources into the players.

Achieve: What are some of the similarities and differences between treating the professional athletes and the adolescent athletes?
Dr. Alland: Adolescents and Professionals are very similar, with the exception of the resources. I emphasize this all the time to my young athletes. Many times adolescent athletes are actually competing and practicing MORE than professionals. The pros have dedicated athletic trainers, physical therapists, massage therapists, nutritionists and more to ensure they are healthy and recover from injuries. Young athletes and their parents, on the other hand, must to be their own advocates to stay healthy. This means getting the appropriate amount of rest, communicating and treating injuries early and taking the appropriate steps to rehabilitate after an injury. I spend a lot of time with young athletes and parents emphasizing these points, especially prevention.
Achieve: What are the most common misconceptions in sports medicine injuries and what are you doing to change them?
Dr. Alland: My practice works very closely with physical therapy in the treatment of patients. However, in my office we will frequently hear "What will physical therapy do?" or "I have a personal trainer who does the same thing." We work really hard in the clinic to point of biomechanical deficiencies that, if addressed, can lead to not just improvement in symptoms, but also in performance. I frequently reference our similarities to cars. An out-of-alignment car will still drive and generally holds up well initially, but drive for a long distance or drive it for many years and wear and tear becomes evident. In this way, many injuries have been building up for a long time, won't go away overnight and take effort from the patient to work out deficiencies for the short and long-term.

Achieve: What is the biggest trend that you see in adolescent sports injuries?
Dr. Alland: We are really battling the trends in the year-round, professional-like atmospheres with our youngest athletes. The perception is that specializing in a sport early, competing year-round and supplementing with strength and conditioning training will ultimately lead to a college scholarship or a professional contract. However, all of the studies have shown that doing this before high school age leads to increased injuries and increased burnout. This strategy leads to LESS college and professional athletes. The STOP sports injuries and PitchSmart campaigns have been a big boon to our efforts and we continue to try to communicate this to the community as much as possible through speaking events, newsletters such as yours, and social media. Kids should be exploring as many sports as possible and frankly should be encouraged to "free play" more. Free play encourages creativity, social skills and a wide variety of muscles. Just climbing trees can be a great way to increase core strength, balance and coordination, all crucial for elite athletes but without the constant pressures from coaches and trainers.

For more information on Dr. Alland or to request an appointment, please visit:
www.rushortho.com/doctors/jeremy-alland

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