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Summer Internship

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in the medical field.  When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to take a Sports Medicine class that solidified my desire to learn more about the human body.  I went on to take Anatomy and Physiology my senior year, and now I’ve been able to go to college and continue my education about medicine through Athletic Training, Biology, and Physical Education courses.

I’ve been lucky enough to play sports like soccer, volleyball, basketball, and rugby since I was a child, and along with those sports came injuries. Luckily, I was only plagued by minor sports injuries like contusions and strained muscles. But then I went to college, and the competition increased exponentially.  I wasn’t able to keep my clean bill of health when it came to getting hurt.  I learned that as I moved up in the level of competition, girls were tougher, halves were longer, and injuries became more serious. After my shoulder injury playing rugby for my college, I went to visit Dr. Myers and while there I learned about the summer internship opportunity.

This proved to be fortuitous for me, because I have learned a tremendous amount this summer at Myers Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center.

I learned quickly that many injuries we would see in the office seemed to come in waves. The first week I was there, we saw numerous patients with patellar issues but we haven’t seen any since then. Although the waves of injuries are strange, it has allowed me to learn a lot about one body part at a time.

In addition to patellar issues, I’ve also seen torn ACL’s, osteoarthritis, meniscal tears, and osteochondral lesions (OCD lesions).  I didn’t know anything about OCD lesions before I started my internship.  I think they are one of the most interesting knee injuries I’ve seen because there is no definitive cure, but there is a surgical procedure that has potential to heal the OCD lesion.  The surgical procedure is called a microfracture where a microdrill is used to puncture the subchondral plate of the bone.  When the bone is punctured, it bleeds and brings stem cells out of the bone that will form a clot where the OCD lesion is.  The stem cells that come out of the bone have the ability to form new articular cartilage to fill in the OCD lesion.

I also saw quite a few different shoulder injuries, the most interesting probably being labral tears. When the labrum tears off of the bone, it causes the glenoid fossa, where the head of the humerus sits, to become much shallower, which decreases the stability of the shoulder joint.  With decreased stability, there is a much higher probability of shoulder dislocation, which can create even more shoulder injuries and problems.  Every time the shoulder dislocates, you run the risk of chipping off pieces of the articular cartilage on the humeral head, which can causes arthritis later in life.

I was able to learn all about these different injuries and then take what I’d learned with me to observations in the operating room. Observing surgery was a wonderful opportunity because it is a completely different side of orthopaedics that I’d never seen before.  I got to see the structures of the shoulder and knee that I’d been learning about in the weeks before, and Dr. Myers was exceptionally helpful by pointing out specific anatomical structures to me during the surgeries.  It was incredible to see how non-invasive arthroscopic surgery is. Observing Dr. Myers doing arthroscopic surgery has also shown me that he is on the cutting edge of new medicine. Not only does he perform successful arthroscopic surgeries, but he is also in the process of creating new and better post-operative braces.

Overall, I believe the most exciting thing I’ve learned about is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections.   This new treatment has the potential to change the future of orthopaedics.  We draw the patient’s blood and centrifuge out the red and white blood cells.  We are then left with just platelets and plasma.  The platelets are the important part of the injection because they are used for healing in our bodies.  These PRP injections can be used to hopefully heal partial tears as well as supplement healing of tissues after surgeries.  The PRP injections show promise not only in promoting healing of tissues after surgery, but also the healing of some injuries that would typically require surgery without an operation.

Aside from everything I’ve learned about orthopaedics, I’ve also learned how important it is to be kind to people.  All of the staff at Myers Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center is always focused on patient care and making the patients know that they are being heard.  Each member of the team spends time with the patients answering questions and explaining procedures thoroughly to them to make sure they fully understand things and are comfortable.  They not only are helpful to patients but also each other.  I’ve seen how they rely on each other to keep the office running smoothly and if someone is overwhelmed with work, others step in to help them.  They are also an extremely welcoming group of people.  Of course I was nervous when I first started my internship, who wouldn’t be? I knew that I was getting the opportunity to work with skilled doctors and I wanted to make sure that I made a good impression. When I came in on my first day, everyone immediately welcomed me and made me feel a part of their team.  I’m very grateful to Dr. Myers and the staff as a whole because I was given such an amazing opportunity to work with such kind and caring people who wanted to help me learn and succeed throughout my internship.  I was encouraged and supported; I was never made to feel unwelcome or unimportant. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience at Myers Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center.

-Rachel Eckman

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