Dr. Corkum specializes in the assessment and treatment of acute and overuse injuries, as well as chronic musculoskeletal conditions – when she isn’t training for triathlons or playing basketball, that is! We recently had a chance to get to know our new Sport Medicine Physician, Dr. Corkum, a little bit better. Read the full interview below to learn more!
- You have a very athletic background! What was it like managing responsibilities as a student-athlete while you played varsity basketball at Francis Xavier University?
Being a varsity athlete is all about time management and this worked well for me because I enjoyed staying busy. You learn to identify priorities and schedule your days. I still find myself scheduling my days in 60 minute increments.
- You grew up in Halifax – did this influence your decision to attend medical school at Dalhousie University?
Of course! Dalhousie Medical School has a great reputation and after being away at St. FX University for four years I was eager to start my second degree while laying down roots in Halifax.
- What led you to pursue your Sport Medicine Fellowship?
I switched into Kinesiology from Chemistry in my third year of University. That was the catalyst to pursuing a career working with the musculoskeletal system! My first elective as a medical student was in Sport Medicine and I quickly grew to love the field. During my family medicine training I always found myself counseling patients on the importance of physical activity, and if I can help Nova Scotians become more physically active, then my career will be extremely rewarding.
- What were your favourite aspects of living in Toronto?
The professional sports teams. Having friends and family visit. The food, musicals and concerts. There is so much to do in Toronto and being there for just one year we really tried to take advantage of it, which led to some great memories!
- What made you wish to return to Halifax to work?
Coming back was a no-brainer! Halifax will always be our home and luckily most of our family and friends still live here. My husband is also completing his Plastic Surgery residency at the Halifax Infirmary.
- As a primary care musculoskeletal consultant, you diagnose patients and create individualized treatment plans. What are some of the major benefits associated with an individualized treatment plan?
Creating an individualized treatment plan ensures that the patients’ goals for recovery are prioritized. A patient that wants to return to running a personal best may have different goals than someone that just wants to walk without pain. I want my patients to leave the office happy with a plan that we created together, making them more invested to actively participate in their treatment. Having individualized plans allows us to see what is working and what needs to be changed at follow up appointments. Having a flexible individualized plan allows patients to recover from their injury in a way that fits their day-to-day life.
- Approximately 90% of sports injuries can be treated non-operatively. What are some of the most common non-operative treatments for sports injuries?
A treatment plan may consist of working with a physiotherapist, massage therapist, chiropractor, occupational therapist, bracing specialist, pedorthist, or a podiatrist. There could also be a role for oral medications or injections. I am fortunate to be working in an interdisciplinary setting where patients can have a ‘one stop’ experience as many of these non-operative treatment options are available at Arthritis and Injury Care Centre.
- You have worked with a wide range of professional, elite and amateur athletes. What was your favourite experience you had while working with these various athletes and teams?
Working with athletes is extremely rewarding! They are a highly motivated group and usually keen to get back to their sport. I loved the opportunity to work with such a large variety of athletes. It was fascinating seeing the flexibility of the dancers in The National Ballet of Canada, the quadriceps muscle bulk in the up-and-coming lacrosse players and the professional manner the Toronto Football Club (TFC) players conducted themselves with. I would have to say a special memory for me was when I was working with the Canada Basketball Men’s U19 team during their preseason physicals. I was impressed at how they carried themselves. They were respectful and mature while being obviously excited about their upcoming FIBA World Cup tournament. When I saw that they had won the tournament (giving Canada its first gold medal at an international FIBA competition) I looked back very fondly and thought what a deserving group of young athletes to win that honor.
- What were some of your responsibilities while you travelled as the team physician for Canada Basketball? How did your experiences with this team help you develop as a physician?
Traveling as a team physician you play the roles of both the family physician, treating general medical conditions, as well at the sport medicine physician with a primary goal to prevent illness and injury. You also have to have an emergency action plan ready for any circumstance that may come up! This trip helped my growth as a sport medicine physician, in large part because I had the opportunity to work with Patrice Pepin, a physiotherapist that has been involved with Canada Basketball for many years. His experience with this level is something that can’t be taught in a textbook and I enjoyed learning many practical tips from him.
- What are the major services you will be providing at Arthritis & Injury Care Centre?
I will be seeing patients in consultation for musculoskeletal conditions, including acute and overuse injuries. I will provide a diagnosis and management plan, including regular follow up appointments to ensure the patient is on the right path to recovery. I will provide injections of both corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid when indicated.
- What are you looking forward to the most with this new chapter in your career?
To be working with such a great group at the Arthritis and Injury Care Centre. I’ve met most of the team now and it is very exciting that they all seem to have the patients’ best interest as their number one priority.
- You’re currently training for an Ironman 70.3 Triathlon. How do you balance your work and training schedule? What is your favourite component of the triathlon and why?
This comes back to time management. Scheduling my days to the minute and exercising with my husband so that our quality time is also productive, (ha-ha). I love the swim, training for it is easy, you just need to get in the water and sink or swim!