Introducing the Concoff Method: The Interface Between Sports Medicine and Rheumatology


In today's issue of Rheumatology Network, we introduce The Concoff Method, a new column by Andrew Concoff, M.D., a rheumatologist who serves as executive vice president and chief value medical officer of United Rheumatology. Over the course of the next year, Dr. Concoff will publish columns that address sports medicine, value in rheumatology and managing a medical practice in the era of COVID-19. In this inaugural issue of the column, he covers the interface between sports medicine and rheumatology.


Dr. Andrew Concoff brings tremendous range and unique experience to envisioning the future practice of musculoskeletal medicine. After completing fellowships in rheumatology and sports medicine and a Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health to study exercise for osteoarthritis, Dr. Concoff has developed novel, hybrid approaches to treating musculoskeletal disorders over the course of over 20 years in private practice. He is also a nationally recognized expert in the diagnostic and procedural musculoskeletal ultrasound in rheumatology and sports medicine. For twelve years, Dr. Concoff supervised a renowned wellness center where he developed evidence-driven physical therapy protocols and holistic care paradigms incorporating mind-body approaches, acupuncture, massage therapy, Pilates, yoga and nutritional interventions.

Dr. Concoff is focused on advancing value in the practice of musculoskeletal medicine as Chief Value Medical Officer for United Rheumatology. He has created innovative programs, supported by economic modeling, to evolve specific aspects of clinical care toward better outcomes and lower costs. His programs span the range of musculoskeletal medicine from shoulder and low back pain to osteoarthritis of the knee, as well as a variety of autoimmune diseases.

“The Sports Rheum I” is an introduction to the clinical interface between rheumatology and sports medicine. Several examples are provided to illustrate the rich opportunities provided by this approach. A general description of the pathophysiology of joint damage in osteoarthritis forms the basis for the complementarity of exercise and pharmacologic intervention in osteoarthritis. Two clinical cases are provided to demonstrate the challenges of diagnosing athletes that present with rheumatic disease. An initial introduction to the application of advanced physical therapy techniques to improve strength without antagonizing affected arthritic joints is also provided. Finally, a description of the application of complementary medicine approaches to musculoskeletal disorders is presented.

Each of these examples will be explored in greater depth in subsequent episodes of The Sports Rheum as a part of The Concoff Method from The Rheum Additional series will explore the challenges of practicing medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, The COVID Rheum, and efforts to evolve musculoskeletal medicine toward better outcomes and lower costs, The Value Rheum.

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