Top Doctors 2016
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Back on the Court
Dr. Juris P. Simanis, a Top Doctors winner in the occupational medicine and sports medicine categories, helped local student-athlete Christina Zentai recover from a recurring hamstring injury with new treatment methods—all in tournament season.
Dr. Juris Simanis treated Christina Zentai’s hamstring tear with PRP injections, physical therapy, strengthening and stretching.
“Pop!” Christina Zentai, a tennis player at Southwest Baptist University, had just finished the second set in a home match when she heard a pop in the back of her knee. The team trainers knew it was a hamstring tear, so they started the normal therapy with rest and stretching. But after two weeks, Zentai wasn’t getting better. And there was another problem: she was six weeks away from NCAA tournaments, which were starting at the end of April last year.
Zentai met with Dr. Juris P. Simanis, a sports medicine specialist at Citizens Memorial Hospital who also serves as the head team physician at SBU. Since the conservative treatment wasn’t helping, he decided to speed up the healing with platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, injections. These injections use the patient’s own blood to lessen the pain in muscle injuries and help cells repair themselves. Simanis used the injections as just one part of her therapy, combining it with physical therapy, strengthening activities, stretching and modifying practice moves to prevent her from overworking too soon. The treatment worked, and after two weeks Zentai was competing again. She went on to win all her matches in the conference and regional tournaments.
Despite the success, this would not be the only meeting between Zentai and Simanis. She was teaching a tennis camp over the summer when she felt the all-too-familiar pop again. The main concern was if her recurring hamstring injury would be persistent and affect her health. But there was also a looming regional tournament set for early October. Simanis helped her through the same treatment program: PRP injections, physical therapy, strengthening and stretching. It was successful again, and Zentai has not had an issue with her hamstring since. And she’s grateful to Simanis for her clean bill of health. “He really focused on what [the treatment] was helping, and what was best for me,” she says.
Simanis says his passion for sports medicine comes from his experience as an athlete in high school, college and beyond. But he doesn’t just work with athletes—he treats any type of muscle, bone, joint and tendon injury that doesn’t require surgery. He’s also a front runner in new areas of sports medicine, like ultrasound treatments and minimally invasive procedures for chronic conditions like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, Achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis. Simanis’ success comes from his ability to connect with athletes and be empathetic with their mindsets. “I can relate to their mentality,” he says. “There’s always that balance of working through a certain amount of pain, but sometimes you don’t know good pain from bad pain. I help them understand that and how to deal with that, and it’s fun to help them succeed.”
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