Home' Be : Issue 10 Contents Sporting chance
As demanding as working with athletes is, Dr Hohmann
couldn't help but be drawn to the sports orthopaedics field.
While in Johannesburg he worked closely with Dr Mark
Ferguson -- who has since gone on to become South Africa's
pre-eminent orthopaedic surgeon with clients such as the
Springboks rugby team -- before returning to his native
Germany where he completed a fellowship in sports medicine
in Munich. It only took a call from a friend in 2002 who was the
director of orthopaedics at Rockhampton Hospital to convince
him to come to Australia and Dr Hohmann has been here and
working closely with CQUni ever since.
Founding the Musculoskeletal Research Unit with Adam
Bryant in 2003, Dr Hohmann has been a leader in the field, and
alongside Bryant and German medical student Elisabeth Eiling
undertook groundbreaking research into the effects of estrogen
levels on sportswomen. Looking primarily at netballers, the
study concluded that young female athletes are at greater
risk of injury during ovulation because estrogen made their
supportive muscles more tender and pliable.
"The links are significantly strong that estrogen does
affect stiffness of the neuromuscular system -- and the risk of
sustaining an injury at the time of high estrogen or ovulation is
substantial," Dr Hohmann notes.
Far from being directed at elite athletes, the implications
of the research were more practical and far reaching. With top
sportswomen tending not to have nor mal menstrual cycles
because of the amount of physical activity they undertake,
the consequences are felt more by recreational female athletes
who play sport two or three times a week. Dr Hohmann's
recommendation is that women who play in impact sports,
such as netball, should consider going on the pill to regulate
the fluctuation of estrogen levels in the body and lessen the
chance of injury. The research gained national attention on the
Australian ABC-TV program, Catalyst.
More recently, Dr Hohmann's PhD research investigated
the association between clinical outcome tools such as
questionnaires and scores and objective findings through
laboratory testing. Subjective assessments were so inadequate
Dr Hohmann has recommended adding hopping tests,
strength measurements and radiographic analysis to what is
As for the future, Dr Hohmann sees three major areas of
progression in orthopaedic surgery.
"We are tackling more and more joints than we have before
and I think hip arthroscopy is going to take off," he says. "There
are also certain surgeries around the shoulder that haven't
been done very well in the past; as soon as you have 20 different
operations for one specific problem you know you haven't found
the answer." Though there is one of sorts. In 2010, Dr Hohmann
began using a German technique of using hamstring tendons
to reconstr uct shoulders. He modestly describes the result of
this procedure thus far as "fairly successful".
Perhaps the biggest growth will be in the application
of stem cells. While much has been made about the ethical
concerns relating to the use of stem cells from an embryo or
foetus, it's not expected to be an issue in orthopaedic surgery,
with the patient's own bone marrow used for cartilage and
joint operations. The ethical dilemmas, at least as far as
Dr Hohmann is concerned, relate a lot more to money. Modern
techniques, such as harvesting cartilage in a lab and replanting
into the defective area of the patient (which was successfully
done on the knee of North Queensland Cowboys r ugby league
fullback Matt Bowen) cost upwards of A$12,000 -- and that
doesn't even include the surgery.
"The question is whether society can afford this or should
afford this," says Dr Hohmann. "My belief as a doctor is
very strong. A patient who has a problem needs to be treated
adequately and if a health system can't afford good and latest
technology, then in my opinion society is not looking after its
people very well." •
̈ Wear appropriate protective gear for your sport whether
that's a helmet, padding, mouthguard or strapping.
̈ Warm up and cool down. Loose muscles are effective
muscles. Stretching afterwards is good for blood pressure and
̈ Know what you are doing and understand the rules.
While there's nothing wrong with improving or aiming for
personal bests, have a general understanding of what feels
right and wrong for your body and what its performance
limitations may be.
̈ Watch out for others on thefield. The reckless, the well-meaning
-- but incompetent -- or just someone who is doing something
out of the box. Always be aware of what's going on around you.
̈ Don't play when injured. Something simple can turn pretty
ugly, so it's best to get checked out if there's any doubts.
"THE LINKS ARE
THAT ESTROGEN DOES
AFFECT STIFFNESS OF
SYSTEM -- AND THE RISK
OF SUSTAINING AN INJURY
AT THE TIME OF HIGH
ESTROGEN OR OVULATION
HOW TO PREVENT SPORTING INJURIES
Links Archive Issue 9 Be Issue 11 Navigation Previous Page Next Page