Hi, I am Dr. Amanda Martin at Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. I specialize in sports medicine injuries and surgery of the hip, knee, shoulder, and elbow.
I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma on a cattle ranch, and that is where I picked up a lot of my orthopedic tendencies.
When I was younger, I was hurt frequently. You ever hear the phrase, “give it to Mikey, Mikey will try it”? Well, in our household it was “give it to Amanda, Amanda will try it.” I was a gymnast, and you could catch me doing many ill-advised flips regularly.
I was led to orthopedics as I got older. Along with countless doctor visits when I was little, I suffered a severe injury in college that really got me thinking about what I wanted to do. I was intrigued by this field of medicine (orthopedics) where you can work with young and healthy people that are hurt and who get better.
What is your background in school, residency, and fellowship?
I did my medical school at Oklahoma State University (Go Pokes). Once I graduated from medical school, I did my residency in New Jersey. I was a small midwestern town girl who took on the big city of New Jersey at the University of Medicine and Dentistry. After my residency, I started my fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama.
When I was in my fellowship, I saw this hole in the field where sports medicine doctors treat tendons and ligament injuries and trauma doctors treat fractures, but there is a lot of fracture work involved in sports medicine. A lot of sports medicine doctors do not like bone work and many trauma doctors do not like soft tissue work. So, I wanted to add trauma work to my fellowship to sort of fill that gap.
I had an opportunity to do a traveling fellowship in Cape Town, South Africa with the AO North American Institute. I moved to South Africa and worked at Schuur Hospital, which was the first place in the world a heart transplant was done. I got to learn a lot from the team physician for Rugby there and figured out how to merge trauma and soft tissue work of sports medicine. I have sort of carved out a niche in my practice of helping athletes get back on the field from fractures as well as things like ACL tears.
What types of patients do you see?
I see a wide variety of patients in sports medicine. I predominantly specialize in lower extremity injuries of the hip and knee, while also treating the elbow and shoulder.
I see a lot of labrum tears, rotator cuff injuries, and ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tears.
I always say that whenever you are trying your best to keep your parts you come to me. When you are ready to get rid of them (joint replacement surgery), you see one of my partners.
Why did you choose Elite?
I started my orthopedic career in Birmingham where I worked teaching fellows at the American Sports Medicine Institute. I never thought I would leave there until I married a singer/songwriter and Nashville was the place to be. I told my husband that if I could get a job with Elite Sports Medicine that I would leave.
Next thing I know, six years later, here we are. It is the best decision I ever made!
What are some of your greatest accomplishments?
I am incredibly lucky that I get to work with US Soccer and Major League Soccer. I worked alongside some of the greatest in our field. It has become so surreal.
And as great as that is, every day is an accomplishment. I love high-fiving people when they are done. I love giving patients hugs. When you really think about it, we praise professional athletes for getting back on the field, but what about when it is your mom or dad who can return to work and provide again? To me, that is an awesome feeling.
What does it mean to be an orthopedic doctor?
I am a bone doctor. I like to describe it as carpentry with a little bit of blood and guts. Orthopedic surgery is surgery of the joints, bones, tendons, and ligaments surrounding them, and I think it's the best field in all of medicine. Pain is the main reason people see a doctor, and orthopedics allows us to really make a difference.
What is it like being a female physician in the orthopedic field?
I like to think there is no difference at all, and if there is, it is a good one. As a mom, sometimes I put my mom glasses on when talking with patients, and I think there is a sort of empathy that comes with that. Whether that empathy is self-directed or just years of people feeling more comfortable talking to you, it gives an advantage and helps my patients.
For me, it is not so much a female vs. male thing. The word “doctor” comes from the Greek word “docere” which means teacher. The ability to take with the patient and teach them about their condition is really a privilege. I think what we do is the greatest honor in the world; that someone would trust you with their life, their livelihood, their body. I take that seriously.
We do sports medicine. I think of it as they are my teammate, instead of I am the coach, and they are the player. If we can be bold and have a close relationship, then they are going to have a much better outcome than someone who does not know what is going on or why they are doing what they are doing.
How Do You Value the Patient Experience?
For me, my patients are family. They are going to know about me and my kids and I will about their kids and their goals. In order to get the best outcome for you individually, we must know who you are. That is how we recommend our treatments by knowing what works for you in your life, not just some recipe or cookbook answer out of a book.
What is One of Your Greatest Success Stories?
From professional football or soccer players down to even the little kids, anytime someone can get back into a sport, the gym, or back to work, that is a great success story. I like to think we have 35-40 of them a day!
Why do you love working with the United States Women's Soccer Federation?
Soccer makes me want to do more with my life. It is inspiring to be around people who expect greatness and demand it of themselves. It is a privilege to watch and take care of athletes at that level. It has opened a whole new world for me. I have traveled to countries I never thought I would travel to, and it has just been such a great opportunity that I am thankful to God for.