Our Program

The USC Sports Medicine Center at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles specializes in treating sports-related and recreational injuries affecting the shoulder, knee, hip, elbow and neck.

We offer expertise in a full range of treatments for injuries such as tears to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus in the knee, shoulder instability, rotator cuff problems,  frozen shoulder, pain, shoulder impingement, tennis elbow, and cartilage preservation procedures.

In addition to being leading experts in minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures, joint replacement and reconstructive procedures, our specialists at the USC Joint Preservation and Replacement Center also perform traditional procedures to restore damaged joints, ligaments and bones. We are highly regarded in total shoulder replacement as well as treatment of complex fractures.

Our physicians are the official doctors of USC Trojan athletes. We treat professional athletes, Olympians, high school athletes and weekend warriors. Our physicians have worked or are currently working with many professional teams including the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and U.S. Women’s National Soccer.

Our Approach

We treat our patients with a customized approach. By tailoring our treatment and rehabilitation plans to our patients’ sport-specific needs, we help empower them to achieve their personal goals for rehabilitation and injury prevention.

We collaborate across disciplines to ensure our patients receive the most comprehensive care. As an integral part of this multidisciplinary care, physical therapists use specialized skills to assess and treat injuries, prevent pain or further damage, train the muscles needed to participate in a particular sport and, ultimately, enable patients to return to their sport or activity safely and without limitations.

Acromioclavicular shoulder joint pain

Pain in the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, the joint located at the top of your shoulder, is usually caused by stress or strain of the joint or by arthritis.

Acromioclavicular shoulder joint arthritis

Arthritis is a condition in which one or more joints are inflamed due to the breakdown of cartilage. Without the normal amount of cartilage allowing the joint to move smoothly, bones rub together causing pain, inflammation and stiffness. Arthritis in the shoulder is usually due to the repetitive use of the AC joint leading to the wearing away of the cartilage within the joint.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in the knee

ACL tears may be partial or complete tears. ACL injuries can occur if you get hit very hard on the side of your knee, overextend the knee joint or quickly stop moving and change direction while running, landing from a jump or turning. Basketball, football, soccer and skiing are commonly linked to ACL tears. Symptoms include pain, swelling at time of injury, and instability in the knee.

Biceps tendon disease of the shoulder

Biceps tendon disease is the inflammation, fraying or tearing of the biceps tendon, which may lead to significant pain in the shoulder.

Biceps tendon tear at the elbow

A tear in the tendon that attaches the bicep to the elbow will result in a loss of strength in the arm. Other muscles in the arm would allow the arm to bend at the elbow, but the arm would lose the ability to rotate from palm up position to a palm down position. Permanent weakness will occur if the tendon is not repaired.

Calcific tendonitis of the shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder loses motion due to inflammation. Most of the time, there is no cause for frozen shoulder, but symptoms usually begin with pain. The pain prevents the shoulder from moving, which leads to stiffness and less functional use.

Collateral Ligament of the Knee

The medial collateral ligament, one of two collateral ligaments, is located on the inner part of the knee helping keep the knee stable by keeping the shin bone in place. Injuries to the medial collateral ligament may be caused by impact to the inside of the knee. Collateral ligaments are likely in people who ski, or play basketball, football or soccer.

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder loses motion due to inflammation. Most of the time, there is no cause for frozen shoulder, but symptoms usually begin with pain. The pain prevents the shoulder from moving, which leads to stiffness and less functional use.

Hip impingement

Hip impingement is a condition where the bones of the hip are abnormally shaped, rub together and cause damage to the joint. Over time, this condition could lead to the development of osteoarthritis.

Meniscal tears in the knee

Meniscal tears occur in the meniscus, the c-shaped shock-absorbing cartilage in the knee. Meniscal tears are commonly caused by twisting or overflexing the knee joint. A tear in the meniscus may have occurred if a “pop” is heard at the time of the injury or there is knee pain and locking or swelling of the joint.

Neck Problems

Irritation of nerves that connect from the neck and pass down in front of the shoulder may cause pain in the shoulder.

Shoulder impingement

Shoulder impingement is an inflammation of the tendons of the rotator cuff. The tendons may become more frayed during shoulder movements when inflamed. This condition may be caused by keeping the arm in the same position for long periods of time, sports requiring the arm to be moved over the head such as swimming, weight lifting, and baseball pitching, or employment in painting or carpentry. Shoulder impingement may be a result of fraying of the tendons that occurs with age as well.

Shoulder instability

Shoulder instability may result from a traumatic injury or small repetitive traumatic injuries. A baseball pitcher may develop shoulder instability after many years of pitching. A football player may develop instability following a bad tackle. Shoulder instability may also result following a shoulder dislocation.

Shoulder rotator cuff tears

Rotator cuff tears may result from a sudden jerking motion when lifting something heavy or may stem from chronic tendonitis or impingement syndrome that has led the tendon to wear down. A rotator cuff tear may be partial, which is when a tear does not completely sever attachments to do bone, or a complete tear. Athletes who do overhead activities such as baseball pitchers or tennis players may develop a rotator cuff tear from repetitive motion.

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)

Tennis elbow is caused by small tears in the tendon on the outside of the upper arm near the elbow. The injury is common in athletes who play tennis or other racquet sports. The backhand is the most common stroke to cause tennis elbow symptoms such as pain or weak grasp. Tennis elbow can also occur by repetitive twisting of the wrist.

Acromioclavicular shoulder joint arthritis

Medication such as anti-inflammatory drug or cortisone injections may be used to reduce the inflammation if the source of pain is due to arthritis.
If pain continues over time, surgery may be necessary to remove bone-to-bone contact by removing the capsule surrounding the join and a portion of the clavical bone.

Acromioclavicular shoulder joint pain

Medication such as anti-inflammatory drug or cortisone injections may be used to reduce the inflammation if the source of pain is due to arthritis.

If pain continues over time, surgery may be necessary to remove bone-to-bone contact by removing the capsule surrounding the join and a portion of the clavical bone.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction

ACL reconstruction is typically done via knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure in which a camera is used to look inside the knee and small incisions are made to perform the procedure. In ACL reconstruction, a new ligament is used to substitute for the torn ACL, the ligament in your knee. The tissue that will replace the torn ACL may come from the patient’s own body or a donor.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears in the knee

Initial treatments for torn ACLs include rest, ice, elevation and anti-inflammatory medicine, as well as physical therapy to regain full range of motion and increase strength of the knee-surrounding muscles. If a patient is experiencing stability in the knee, surgery may not be necessary. Athletes and patients who experience instability and/or swelling with activity are recommended to undergo ACL reconstruction.

Biceps tendon disease of the shoulder

Biceps tendon disease may be treated surgically by reattaching the tendon to another location on the arm.

Biceps tendon tear at the elbow

Surgery to repair the tendon should be done during the first two to three weeks after the injury before the tendon and bicep begin to scar. There are several surgical procedures that physicians use to reattach the tendon to the bone.

Nonsurgical treatment may be recommended for patients who are elderly or inactive.

Calcific tendonitis of the shoulder

Calcific tendonitis is primarily treated non-surgically with anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections intended to remove the calcified area.

In rare cases, arthroscopy will be used to remove the calcified areas. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small camera is used to view and perform the procedure.

Collateral ligament injuries in the knee

Rest, ice application, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and knee elevation above the heart level will treat most collateral ligament injuries. After a period of rest, physical therapy can help strengthen the knee.

Surgical procedures are often not needed. Surgery may be needed if the lateral collateral ligament or medial collateral ligament is not the only damaged ligament.

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Nonsurgical treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections and physical therapy can relieve pain and improve motion.

Frozen shoulder often heals on its own within two years if left untreated.  Surgical treatment may be used if nonsurgical treatments provide little relief. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small camera is used to view and repair tissue in the shoulder.

Hip impingment treatment

Doctors may recommend activity changes, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, or physical therapy to relieve stress and pain in the hip and groin area.

If pain is not relieved by nonsurgical options, arthroscopic surgery can treat problems associated with hip impingement. Using small incisions and a small camera, surgeons can shave down the bone and repair the torn labrum if present.

Knee arthroscopy

Knee arthroscopy is an option for patients with sudden injury to the meniscus, as opposed tears due to chronic wear, or athletes with high activity level. In a minimally invasive procedure using small incisions and a small camera, surgeons can repair or remove the meniscus.

Labral tears in the shoulder

Physical therapy is usually the first line of treatment in the care for labral tears. Typically, surgery is needed to trim and sew the cartilage.

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a small camera is used to view and perform the procedure. The procedure is done through tiny holes in the shoulder to remove tears in the labrum.

Shoulder instability

Physical therapy will be used to strengthen muscles in the shoulder to increase stability in the shoulder.

If pain persists or moments of instability continue such as dislocations, shoulder arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure in which a small camera is used, can be used to repair or tighten the ligaments in the shoulder.

Shoulder rotator cuff tears

Treatment for rotator cuff tears will begin with physical therapy. If physical therapy does not increase joint function, surgical alternatives are considered.

Rotator cuff repair, a surgical procedure to repair a torn tendon in the shoulder, can either be done via an open incision or a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure.

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)

Initial treatment for tennis elbow includes rest and avoiding activities that caused tennis elbow for two to three weeks. Treatments also include icing the elbow and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Physicians may apply cortisone injections or platelet rich plasma (PRP) to the region.

Athletes experiencing tennis elbow may need to make changes in technique, changing equipment or playing less often may help. Physical therapy may help strengthen forearm muscles. An elbow brace may also help minimize pressure on the muscles.

Surgery may be recommended after six months to one year of persistent pain. Surgical procedures generally involve removing diseased muscle and reattaching healthy muscle to the bone. Surgery can be performed via open surgery or arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure in which small incisions and a small camera are used to view and perform the procedure.

Sports Medicine Physical Therapy

Sports medicine physical therapy is a form of physical therapy (PT) that specializes in preventing and treating injuries that occur as a result of training for and participating in athletic activities. Our sports PT staff focuses on the unique musculoskeletal injuries that occur in athletics, using specialized skills to assess and treat the injury, prevent pain or further damage, train the muscles needed to participate in a particular sport and, ultimately, enable patients to return to their sport or activity safely and without limitations. Sports PT is provided on an outpatient basis at Keck Hospital of USC by therapists who are board-certified in this specialty by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This means that they not only are licensed physical therapists, but also have met rigorous national standards of education, experience and clinical expertise in the specialty of sports medicine.

Among the conditions we treat:

  • Elbow and shoulder injuries, including shoulder instability and rotator cuff disorders
  • Injuries to knee ligaments and cartilage
  • Injuries to ankle ligaments
  • Muscle strains
  • Tendon injuries
  • Overuse injuries
  • Osteoarthritis

For more information, click here.

Support Information

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
http://www.aaos.org

American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
http://www.aofas.org

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
http://www.sportsmed.org

International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine
http://www.isakos.com

Orthogate – The Gateway to the Orthopaedic Internet
http://www.orthogate.com

Our Physicians

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Practicing Locations

Beverly Hills Doctors Surgery Center
Faculty/Staff Health Clinic at USC Engemann Student Health Center
Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC - Beverly Hills
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Outpatient Surgery Center

Specializing In

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery and Ligament Reconstruction (ACL Surgery), Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Rotator Cuff, Shoulder Instability), total and reverse shoulder replacement, cartilage preservation procedures

view profile

Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Outpatient Surgery Center

Specializing In

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, and ligament reconstruction (ACL Surgery), Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (rotator cuff shoulder instability), Cartilage Preservation, Knee Osteotomy, Total and Reverse Shoulder Replacement

view profile

Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Outpatient Surgery Center

Specializing In

Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, Total Elbow Replacement, Total and Reverse Shoulder Replacement, Hip Arthroscopy

view profile

Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Outpatient Surgery Center

Specializing In

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery and Ligament Reconstruction (ACL Surgery), Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Rotator Cuff, Shoulder Instability), total and reverse shoulder replacement, cartilage preservation procedures.

view profile

Practicing Locations

USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Outpatient Surgery Center

Specializing In

Cartilage Preservation; Arthroscopy and open surgery of the Knee, Shoulder and Elbow

view profile

Practicing Locations

Keck Hospital of USC
Keck Medicine of USC – Glendale
USC Healthcare Center 2
USC Outpatient Surgery Center
USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

Specializing In

Arthroscopic Knee Surgery and Ligament Reconstruction (ACL Surgery), Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery (Rotator Cuff Shoulder Instability), total and reverse shoulder replacement, cartilage preservation procedures, and Hip Arthroscopy