For the most part, we are a healthy community. We hike on the weekends, join in community 5K runs and participate in active outdoor recreation in beautiful Thurston County. And that means for many of us, we may need a quick visit to the doctor from time to time to check out a new ache or pain or possibly an injury.
Whether you have a repetitive motion injury from marathon training or simply played a little too hard with the kids on the weekend there is a quick, easy and injury specific option beyond your primary care doctor: the Sports Medicine doctors at Olympia Orthopaedics Associates. The very popular sports medicine physician, Dr. Leyen Vu, has been serving patients at Oly Ortho for the last 2 years with fantastic results. Patients are seen quickly, assessed by trained injury specialists, and treated by top physicians in the field. Backed by a comprehensive team of surgeons and orthopaedic specialists, Dr. Vu is able to provide quick and effective diagnosis and treatment including referral to the Oly Ortho team.
And now Dr. Vu has a little help. Oly Ortho is excited to welcome a new Sport Medicine doctor, Dr. Tracy Hamblin, providing a second physician on site daily to assess patients with sports related injuries and provide care for non-surgical musculoskeletal injuries and conditions.
Dr. Hamblin joins the group after extensive training. A Utah native, Dr. Hamblin completed her undergraduate work at the University of Utah in Biomedical Engineering. “I always thought when I was a kid that I’d grow up to be a doctor, but I just wasn’t ready when I finished my undergrad work,” she explains. As a result she enrolled in graduate school at Syracuse University, earning her masters in the same field.
“It was my first semester of grad school,” Dr. Hamblin recalls, “when I realized I really was ready to go to medical school.” She completed her two years of study at Syracuse and moved back to Utah, enrolling in University of Utah Medical School. She loved being back home in the west and stayed put for her residency in Family Medicine.
It was during this time that she met Dr. Vu as he was completing his Sports Medicine work at the University of Utah. “We became good friends. Both of us did residencies in family medicine but we both had a passion for sports medicine,” says Dr. Hamblin.
The pair continued to see each other at professional conferences throughout the next year while Dr. Hamblin completed her fellowship at the John Peter Smith Sports Medicine program in Fort Worth, Texas. When she was ready to begin her full-time clinical work, she looked again to her friend Dr. Vu for guidance on where she could use her specialized training in Sports Medicine.
Luckily the stars aligned and Oly Ortho was looking to expand their Sports Medicine services and Dr. Hamblin was a perfect fit. “I really wanted to find a job where I could fully use my sports medicine training to help patients live healthy lives,” she shares. “I also really wanted to use my unique skills, developed during my fellowship, for fluoroscopic injections to aid patient healing and not all clinics offer that service. Olympia Orthopaedics not only offered it but was excited about my specialized training.”
Fluoroscopic injections are x-ray guided injections directed at very specific areas of a joint. By utilizing small amounts of contrast dye in the joint, along with a live x-ray image, Dr. Hamblin is able to pinpoint an injection, directing medications exactly where they are needed, alleviating pain and helping with diagnosis of injury.
When asked what she is most excited about in her new position at Oly Ortho, Dr. Hamblin shares, “The opportunity to be around so many Ortho docs will be great. The learning opportunities will be tremendous plus I’ll be able to use the skills learned in my fellowship on a daily basis. But the most exciting is that this position is 100% Sports Medicine related. It is my passion and I never tire of seeing patients with injuries and helping them get back to an active lifestyle.”
Dr. Hamblin will also serve as team doctor for many of the area’s college and high school athletes. “I love working with the students, seeing them grow as athletes throughout the season and helping them through any injury challenges.”
She is uniquely suited to working with students, too, as Dr. Hamblin was a competitive gymnast for over ten years and continues to value an active lifestyle. She has completed at least one triathlon a year since 2007 and explains, “I’m not out there to win the race, but simply to finish. It feels good to finish – to accomplish my goal. That’s what keeps me coming back to races each year.”
It’s this value on staying active and healthy that she hopes to instill in her patients as well. “Olympia Orthopaedic’s motto is to get your Life in Motion. I always try to live my life as an example for my patients – showing them that staying healthy and in motion leads to a happy life.”