Treating Triathletes at UHealth Sports Medicine Institute

A Holistic Approach to Keeping Athletes Competitive

Dr. Thomas Best is a primary care sports medicine physician at UHealth Sports Medicine Institute. To learn more about how the team at UHealth Sports Medicine treats triathletes or to make an appointment, call 855-782-3932 or visit the University of Miami's health news blog at newsumiamihealth.org 


Seasoned triathletes like Eric Winter train all year to stay competitive as swimmers, cyclists and runners. But specializing in three events can increase the likelihood of injury for these athletes. During a training run last Fall, Eric felt pain in his knee.

“Immediately, I knew something was wrong,” says Eric. “One of the first things I did was call UHealth Sports Medicine Institute to get it checked out.”

Eric turned to fellow triathlete and sports medicine physician Dr. Carolyn Kienstra, who is part of a team of physicians, surgeons, nutritionists and physical therapists at UHealth Sports Medicine Institute. Soon after, Eric had surgery on his knee performed by Dr. Lee Kaplan, director of University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute and medical director and head team physician for the Miami Marlins and Miami Hurricanes.

“The team of physicians at UHealth walked me through the entire process and made me feel very comfortable,” says Eric. “The day of the surgery couldn't have gone better. The facilities were amazing, the staff was phenomenal and the surgery went exactly as expected.”

Triathletes commonly develop injuries to the shoulders, knees and hips. Dr. Thomas Best, a primary care sports medicine doctor at UHealth Sports Medicine Institute, has taken a special interest in this group. He says triathletes often come into the sport with a history of injuries sustained from other sports, such as baseball, soccer or long-distance running.

“We really try to take the approach to say, we know you're coming in for your shoulder, but let's look at all three of those sports, and those different moving patterns, and how one might be affecting the other,” says Dr. Best.

Dr. Best says the best approach to caring for triathletes is with a holistic approach. Research conducted by his team supports this idea. “We've had a wonderful opportunity here to conduct studies to better understand more about these individuals, to examine their injury patterns, as well as their sleep, nutrition and mental health issues related to performing at that level on a continual basis,” says Dr. Best.

The team at UHealth Sports Medicine Institute provided Eric with a comprehensive recovery plan following surgery that included physical therapy to strengthen his core muscles and the muscles surrounding his knee. Within months, he returned to competition. 

Since then, Eric has competed five triathlons in less than a year following his surgery.  “I run pain-free,” he says. “I'm not worried about my knee whatsoever.”


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