Meet Dr. Kirk Scofield, Summit Orthopedics Sports Medicine Physician
A dedicated runner and medical director at a number of Twin Cities races, Dr. Scofield helps his patients achieve their fitness goals.
While some of us are reaching for the snooze button, long distance runners are passing the 5-mile mark on their morning run. Endurance athletes have a unique mindset. Who better to understand and support the tenacity and persistence of their fitness goals than another endurance athlete? In addition to being an avid runner, Dr. Scofield is a Nordic skier and an ironman triathlete, so he understands what the injured athlete is going through.
“My practice is informed by my own commitment to an athletic life,” he explains. “I love helping patients at every level of ability—from the professional athlete to the 70-year-old recreational runner—to achieve their goals.”
After medical school at the University of Washington in Seattle and a family medicine residency in Colorado, Dr. Scofield practiced in Nome, Alaska and taught at a medical residency program in Anchorage before completing a fellowship in sports medicine at the U of M and joining Summit. “I am an adventurer,” he grins. “It was great fun to have the experience of practicing medicine 500 miles from anywhere, at the edge of the world.”
He explains that sports medicine is a specialty distinct and complementary to orthopedic surgery. “Sports medicine takes a more global perspective than surgical specialties,” he says. “My training encompasses movement analysis, body mechanics, concussion management, nutrition, and cardiovascular issues related to athletes. I am also trained to cover races and sports teams. My focus is on getting patients back to their highest level of performance. You could say that my practice combines the joint awareness of an orthopedist, a physical therapist’s attention to the function of the entire body and the knowledge of how various sports stress the body in unique ways causing characteristic injuries for that sport.”
“Sports medicine is really all about exercise and movement,” Dr. Scofield continues. “Some of my patients are high level athletes and some are people who simply want to increase their level of activity safely; I enjoy working with the entire spectrum. Because I take care of a lot of endurance athletes, I also specialize in chronic overuse injuries, like tendonopathies, that runners tend to get.”
“When patients come in, I always ask what they do for exercise. If they are athletes, I want to know what kind of athlete they are. If they play hockey, I want to know about position they play, and for what level of team. With runners, we discuss their race goals and their mileage. I focus on what they do that brought them to me, and what their goals are. If a runner keeps getting stress fractures, we don’t just treat the fracture—we look for the underlying problem.”
The population of the Twin Cities is nationally recognized for its fit, athletic lifestyle. “I think it’s fantastic that people here are so active,” says Dr. Scofield. “At Summit, we are serious about the health of our community. By partnering with running organizations to provide medical care at local races, we hope to make a real difference keeping people injury free and safe when they race.”
Dr. Scofield explains the factors he considers when making decisions about which tendon treatment to use.
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