What is Activity Preservation? With Dr. Bill Sterett

What is Activity Preservation? With Dr. Bill Sterett

What do we need to do to keep you doing the activities you love?
— Dr. Bill Sterett

In the past, the focus of orthopedic surgery has been treating injuries to get people back to a baseline level of comfort.

This is a new era. We're starting to realize that people don't only want to be pain free. They want to be back  doing the things they love better than before. This fact can inform our approach when it's time to line up treatment. 

Who does the concept of activity preservation apply to?   

Here are examples of people who can benefit from the concept of activity preservation.

1. Athletes who wants to continue excel at the highest level 

For the top athletes, a complete dedication to the sport of their choice is often a necessity. These competitors push their bodies daily to achieve the heights of athletic glory. This constant drive to climb the competitive mountain catches up sooner or later. The results are aches, pains, and sometimes a major injury or setback.

Working with the U.S. Women's ski team, my concern is not only to get the injured athlete moving again.  It's also to get them back competing at the highest levels. So, in this case, we aren't only concerned with activity preservation. We also want to bring the athlete back stronger, faster, and better than they were before. 

We now have the luxury of:

  • Advanced techniques 

  • Medical knowledge

  • Experience 

  • And the world's best rehabilitation specialists.

As a result, the dream of returning from injury to perform at higher levels is now a reality. 

2. Weekend warriors who want to continue doing the sports they love

Many of us play sports at a competitive or recreational level. And although we aren't re-defining the boundaries of human achievement, we are still having a damn good time enjoying the sport of our choice! I know that if I were to have to give up playing golf or skiing in the winter, my life sure as heck wouldn't be as fun. The same goes for everybody who has an activity they love to do. 

So when somebody comes in with a knee injury, we want the focus to be less about merely fixing and healing the injury. We want it to be  more about getting that knee up to speed to, say, play hoops at lunchtime, get back to snowboarding on the mountain, or to resume hiking or biking. 

3. Aging People who want to preserve an active lifestyle

Many people want to know how to to continue to live an active lifestyle, even as their bodies slow down. The truth is, we are all going to age, and there will come a day when we can't push ourselves as we once could. But that doesn't mean that we have to abandon an active lifestyle. 

There are plenty of activities that you can do well into old age. And activity preservation applies to you in this case, as well. Having the ability to take walks, go swimming, or lift weights can be crucial to continuing a healthy life.

So whether it's evaluating if you should have a knee or hip replacement or just figuring out what the best course of action is to keep you pain-free in your everyday life, activity preservation once again comes into play.

See the video below for more! 

"What do we need to do to keep you doing the activities you love?" That's the question Dr. Sterett answers, introducing the concept of Activity Preservation when it comes to your chosen treatment for a sports medicine injury.

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