Meet Dr. Tracey Teasdale, a Naturopathic Doctor and Certified Sports Nutritionist, who focuses her practice on sports medicine. Dr. Teasdale is the clinic director of Absolute Athlete Care with two locations in Barrie, Ontario and Alliston, Ontario. In addition to private practice, Dr. Teasdale is an assistant professor of clinical education at CCNM, and a supervisor on the sports medicine focus shift. Dr. Teasdale has helped many patients improve their health and achieve their goals, including completing a marathon for the first time, recovering from a sports injury, and reaching the podium! Read on to learn more about the exciting focus of naturopathic sports medicine.
What are the most common sport medicine conditions encountered in your practice?
I see mainly overuse injuries relating to the hip, knee and shoulder. Iliotibial band syndrome, patellofemoral syndrome and rotator cuff disorders are among the top three. I also encounter a lot of plantar fasciitis.
What special challenges do you encounter when treating athletes?
I have two main challenges. The first is getting the athletes to take adequate time off from training to allow their injury to heal. Most of them fear the losses in performance they might suffer if they reduce or stop their training. My approach is to help my athletes adapt their training program through their injury recovery.
The second is getting the athletes to fuel properly. Most of the athletes I see consume far too few calories, and what they do eat is generally lower in protein and fats. Changing the timing of their meals and the composition of their diet takes some buy-in as it takes extra effort. We work together to come up with easy options that will fit into their busy schedules.
What are some of your “go-toremedies” for sprains and strains?
I love using acupuncture, electrostim and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization for sprains and strains. I also use acute homeopathics like Arnica, Ruta, and Rhus Tox, as well as topical treatments such as Arnica cream/gel, hydrotherapy and castor oil. The prescription depends on the patient’s presentation.
What treatment modalities do you use the most with athletes?
While my main modalities are acupuncture and clinical nutrition, I add in any other modality that is indicated for patients. I try to keep my treatments cost-effective for my athletes, so I try to find ways to supplement vitamins and minerals through their diet. I also use a lot of home care hydrotherapy, as well as prescription rehabilitation exercises.
Do you recommend your patients use ice or not with an acute injury?
The evidence on cryotherapy is conflicting. I use it in cases where there is significant swelling. Otherwise, I use it short-term for pain management or if the patient reports that their symptoms are ameliorated with cold.
What are some common bad habits of seasoned athletes?
In my practice, the bad habits are neglecting their nutrition and supplementation regime, not doing rehabilitation exercises, and trying to do too much too soon after an injury.
What is your favourite sport?
These days, I really enjoy triathlons. I’m able to change up my training routine and it gives me a lot of variety, so I don’t get bored. It allows me to train with a group when I need motivation, but it also lets me train on my own when I need more of a moving meditation.
Which athletes are your favourite to work with?
My favourites are motivated athletes. I love working with anyone who is committed to improving their performance. Beginner and novice athletes are fun because I am able to guide them through the process of becoming active. Injured athletes are also rewarding, as I get to see the joy in their smiles as they recover and return to the sport that they love. Elite athletes are really interesting as they go off to their competitions abroad, and come back to tell me their stories and show me their awards! They also add another layer of difficulty since we have to make sure that anything we do is in accordance with their anti-doping policies.
Do you have any advice or tips for new graduates interested in focusing their practice in sports medicine?
I have three main tips:
- Learn about sports. It is imperative that you understand exactly what your athletes are doing while you are working with them. Learn what you can, and always ask your patients about their experience.
- Brush up on your orthopedic skills. The key to clinical diagnosis of musculoskeletal conditions is in your physical exam. Know which tests to perform, and make sure you do them correctly and understand what they mean.
- Take more continuing education courses in assessment, pain management and rehabilitation techniques. The field is constantly changing, so you need to be on the cutting edge.
If you could recommend a book to a new graduate starting up his or her practice, what would it be (sport-related or not)?
I’m a fan of most books by Seth Godin. He has some really great ideas on business and what you can do to be successful.
To learn more about Dr. Tracey Teasdale’s clinic, please visit absoluteathletecare.com.