Five Questions With: Dr. Ramin Tabaddor

Dr. Ramin Tabaddor, a Certificate-of-Added-Qualifications-certified sports medicine orthopedist specializing in hip- and pelvic-related disorders, joined University Orthopedics at its new East Greenwich location at 1598 S. County Trail as director of sports medicine for that office in July.

Providence Business News asked the newly settled orthopedic doctor about the future of orthopedic medicine, how he’s preparing himself for that future and how he hopes to share that plan with new orthopedic physicians.

PBN: What drew you to University Orthopedics? Can you list some noteworthy changes with the new office?

TABADDOR: The decision to make any practice change is always a challenging one. What has led me to UOI is the opportunity to be involved in the training of future orthopedic surgeons, the teaching of medical students and collaborating with researchers and orthopedic experts. It also allows me to engage in research and academics alongside my clinical practice. It is a very dynamic and progressive environment with state-of-the-art facilities.

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PBN: What is the most important thing orthopedic residents need to focus on for the future? Which area are you most excited about pursuing?

TABADDOR: Orthopedic residents are trainees who have completed medical school and are licensed doctors training to be orthopedic surgeons.

It is a demanding and arduous training program. First and foremost, it is important for them to learn the fundamentals of patient care and surgical techniques. Once this is established they will be able to easily build off a strong foundation. The medical landscape is so dynamic and ever-changing that they also need to be prepared with basic knowledge of public health policies, medical management and essentially the business side of medicine. Unfortunately, as all physicians are learning, there is more to medicine than treating patients these days.

The conditions involving the hip and pelvis are extremely exciting at this time and is a wide open field given the complexity of the anatomy and the difficulty in accurately diagnosing a problem. I have specialty training in hip and pelvic conditions but there is so much more to learn and understand. The biomechanics are intriguing and the treatments are still evolving. The conditions I am specifically targeting are sports hernias and hip impingement.

PBN: What sports do you see the most orthopedic injuries? What can kids and parents do to prevent these injuries?

TABADDOR: Each sport has its own unique injury pattern and every season has a sport that yields more injuries than others. Fall is always busy with football injuries, given the aggressive contact nature of the game, but soccer also produces a high volume of injuries. Winter tends to see a number of basketball and ice-hockey-related injuries while spring will see baseball and track injuries. However, given the rise of masters and youth sports programs, many athletes are engaging in the same sport all year round.

Football, soccer, ice hockey and basketball tend to produce more acute-type injuries, while baseball, softball, swimming and track and field will produce more chronic overuse injuries. As an orthopedic sports medicine provider managing athletic injuries, it is important to understand the nature of the sport, the mechanism of injury and the importance of timing in returning these athletes to their sport.

The most important thing any athlete can do to help reduce injuries is to understand the rules of their sport and how to properly play the game. That means learning and executing correct techniques and mechanics (i.e. proper tackling in football, safe checking in ice hockey, proper pitching biomechanics in baseball/softball). Athletes also need to engage in appropriate warmups and stretching prior to activity as well as off-season cross-training. Also, equipment needs to be fitted and worn correctly. At the end of the day, nothing can reduce the risk of injury to zero, but education and awareness by both the athlete and their parents can help to greatly reduce injury occurrence.

PBN: Concussions are a major concern for parents and athletes these days. What is being done to prevent them and why does it seem to be a bigger problem now?

TABADDOR: Concussions have always been a problem, but fortunately we are becoming more aware of them, which has led to a higher rate of recognition and diagnoses. There are many ways to help reduce the incidence of concussions. As stated before, proper tackling and checking techniques, appropriately fitted gear and equipment, and awareness can help reduce the risk of this potentially catastrophic injury. It is also extremely important to educate coaches, players, parents, school nurses and teachers on the signs and symptoms of a concussion so that a timely diagnosis can be made if a concussion has been sustained.

PBN: More athletes are playing one sport year-round. Does this lead to a greater risk of certain types of injury?

TABADDOR: This is a very hot topic and a frequently asked question. These athletes are at more risk for developing chronic overuse injuries along with emotional stress and burnout. Sports diversification can better help develop physical and cognitive skills as they apply to athletics. A study released by the National Federation of High Schools found that high school athletes who specialized in a single sport were 70 percent more likely to sustain an injury. Playing different sports throughout the year will not only keep the game fresh but will keep the athlete physically fresh as well.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.