Common Knee Injuries: Kirk Scofield, MD

Listen to Summit Orthopedics’ sports medicine and running expert Kirk Scofield, M.D. share some common knee injuries in runners. Awareness is your first step to preventing these injuries. Dr. Scofield is a dedicated runner and medical director at a number of Twin Cities races, and helps his patients achieve their fitness goals.

Understanding endurance athletes

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.”

Insights for Runners from Dr. Kirk Scofield:

Education and early career “at the edge of the world”

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.”

Sports medicine training brings a wealth of benefits for patients

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.”

Get more information: What Can Runners Do To Reduce The Risk Of Achilles Tendonopathy?

A practice centered around the unique needs of the individual

“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.”

Technologically-advanced care for chronic tendon issues: Ultrasound & Tenex

Tendinopathy, or chronic tendon pain, is caused when a tendon develops painful scar tissue in response to an acute or overuse injury. In the past when pain didn’t resolve with conservative treatment, the only option was an invasive surgical procedure to scrape out the scar tissue on the tendon. Tenex technology offers a minimally invasive alternative for removing painful tendon tissue.

“Today, we are using ultrasound for more than just visualizing tissue and placing needles for injection; we are actually using ultrasound-powered tools to cut, debride, and remove scar tissue in the tendon under visual ultrasound guidance,” explains Dr. Scofield. “Although there is still a role for surgery in some cases of tendinopathy, these new ultrasound-based procedures are minimally invasive and can be done without surgically opening up the joint in an operating room.” Tenex technology is a minimally invasive new treatment developed to treat chronic tendon pain. “Initial studies are very positive for Tenex,” Dr. Scofield shared, “with one showing a 94 percent resolution of tissue damage and a 100 percent patient satisfaction rate. Subjects remained pain-free even at three years’ follow-up.”

Ask Dr. Kirk Scofield – Tendon and Tenex series:

Specializing in Orthobiologics

Dr. Scofield has done extensive study around the use of regenerative medicine as an alternative to traditional treatments for a host of joint conditions and issues in the soft tissue, like tendons. Regenerative medicine therapies seek to use concentrated platelet and stem cell injections to decrease pain and improve function, supporting the body’s ability to heal itself.

Types of orthobiologic therapies:

  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) Platelet-rich plasma is obtained by drawing the patient’s own blood and then making a PRP preparation that concentrates the platelets. The concentrated solution is then precisely injected back into the injured area using guided imagery.
  • Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) Concentrated bone marrow contains adult stem cells and a host of other regenerative properties. It can be used in guided regenerative injections. The marrow is extracted from the patient’s pelvic bone and concentrated to isolate stem cells and growth factors. This bone marrow aspirate concentrate is then injected into the injured area using guided imagery.

Orthobiologics videos featuring Dr. Scofield:

Undergraduate Studies
Seattle Pacific University – Seattle, Washington

Medical School
University of Washington School of Medicine –
Seattle, Washington

North Colorado Medical Center – Greeley, Colorado

Primary Care Sports Medicine, University of Minnesota – Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • Musculoskeletal Ultrasound – Alliance for Physician Certification and Advancement

  • American College of Sports Medicine
  • American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
  • Wilderness Medical Society

  • Team Physician, Concordia St. Paul
  • Team Physician, Park High School — Cottage Grove, MN
  • Former team physician, Bethel University, University of Minnesota, Eastview High School, Minnesota Swarm Lacrosse Team
  • Medical Director, Red White and Boom Half Marathon — St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Former Medical Director, Big Wild Life Runs, Marathon and Half Marathon — Anchorage, Alaska
  • Medical Provider, US Olympic Trials Marathon,  Houston Marathon, Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Ironman Wisconsin

Runner, triathlete and Nordic skier with multiple Ironman, Boston Marathon, and Birkie finishes. Also enjoys mountain biking, trail running and hiking.

Patient Education

Knee Animated Conditions and Treatments Library

Hip Animated Conditions and Treatments Library

Shoulder Animated Conditions and Treatments Library


“Bone Health in Endurance Athletes: Runners, Cyclists and Swimmers,” Current Sports Medicine Reports, November 2012

John's Story

Thanks to you Dr. Scofield I visited Dr. Scofield in Oct, 2015 for pain in my foot. Along with exercise, stretching and icing he recommended comfortable shoes which happened to be running shoes. I told him I might as well start running, at age 67 with no running history ever. He gave me the “couch to 5k” 8 week plan which I completed. I have been consistently running/training and recently retired my first pair of shoes. I have completed six 5k races, all with great results, and keeping the pain at bay. I now consider myself a serious runner. Who knows where this will take me, and it could have just as easily not happened. Thanks again, Feeling good

Kristen's story

I want to say a BIG BIG THANK YOU to Dr. Scofield and his team at the Vadnais Heights clinic. I was able to get in (last minute) to see him yesterday for help with excruciating shoulder pain I was experiencing. After doing x-rays and some physical testing and gathering verbal facts from me regarding my symptoms and history, he was able to give me cortisone shots in my shoulder. I experienced some immediate improvement and felt generally better the rest of the day. I took ibuprofen to help a little over night and when I woke this morning I felt like a new person. I slept pain-free all night and I’m able to experience full range of motion in my shoulder with very very very very very little pain…on a scale of 1 – 10, pain is barely a 1. So thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you for the excellent care. And to boot, everyone was so nice and so fun. If all clinical experiences could be like this, people would rave about and look forward to their doctor visits!!

Survey Feedback

Dr. Scofield was very professional, yet at the same time kind and sensitive. He was helpful during our discussions regarding my sore heal.  Never did he make me feel I was taking up his time.  His assistant was also very helpful and kind.  Thank you.

Survey Feedback

Love Dr. Scofield and his staff, they are the greatest!

comment from patient satisfaction survey

I already have and will continue to recommend Summit Orthopedics and Dr. Scofield and team to family and friends. Top notch care!

Survey Feedback

Dr. Scofield was excellent.  He took time to call me on the phone after hours to discuss my diagnosis.  He gave me options for care and once I choose an option (steroid injection) he was very good at administering the same and advising me of what I would experience.  I would highly recommend him.

Patient Survey Comment

Dr. Scofield and his team were incredible form start to finish. I can’t thank them enough for such great care.

Articles and Videos from Kirk Scofield, M.D.