Mark Dundas, MD, is a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation) who focuses on nonsurgical sports medicine and orthopedic care. Dr. Dundas developed a special interest in sports medicine after having his own share of injuries. “I’ve known what it’s like to have an injury and go through the rehabilitation process—there is a struggle coping with the loss of your function, managing pain as you reactivate your muscles, and working through the fear of moving again,” he says.
As a physiatrist, Dr. Dundas focuses on the whole person as opposed to one specific body part. “Our joints are wonderfully and frustratingly connected. So, I need to examine the surrounding body regions to design the best rehabilitation plan. We are learning more and more how pain changes more than just the injured anatomic structure. I often talk to my patients about how they're sleeping, their mood, their diet, and how their life has changed because of the problem they've come to talk to me about. I look at a picture that is often more than just what the MRI or X-ray shows,” he says.
Dr. Dundas uses a variety of approaches that includes exercise and may include medications, injections, and physical therapy to help patients reach their goals and return to their activities. He also helps patients prepare for surgery. “The better you are moving before going into surgery, the better you will do after surgery,” he says. “Regenerative medicine is a growing and exciting field of orthopedics that has the potential to improve function and potentially avoid surgery in conditions like arthritis and tendinopathy. I am excited to be a member of the team here at Yale and engage in clinical trials with these new treatment options.”
As assistant professor of clinical orthopedics at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Dundas often draws upon his early work in a biomechanics laboratory, where he studied how people move. “I've been able to build on that knowledge and use it when I'm assessing patients,” he says. “I tell patients there's no bad exercise or activity, but you can do anything improperly and increase your risk for pain and injury. That’s where things like form and mechanics come into play.
Running is an example of a sport where form is important,” he says. “When I'm assessing a runner, I look at everything: the whole kinetic chain, or how the whole body moves. If there's a weakness or restriction around your ankle, it can change stresses at your hip and vice versa. Everything's connected and it is my job to help keep you moving.”