Getting patients back in the game
Dr. Michael Sisk specializes in joint arthroplasty and sports medicine at Steamboat Orthopaedic & Spine Institute
Brought to you by Steamboat Orthopaedic & Spine Institute
Dr. Sisk was accepted to the University of Colorado Medical School in 1990 and attended orthopedic residency from 1994 to 1999. During that time, he was a team physician for the University of Denver Pioneers volleyball and hockey teams and the CU Buffaloes football team.
In 1999, Michael joined the team at Orthopaedics of Steamboat Springs. He has also worked as an associate professor for orthopaedics at CU, is a fellow with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and works as a U.S. Ski Team physician. He is also a Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series board member
His practice is targeted toward sports medicine and joint replacement, as well as foot and ankle trauma and reconstruction. For more information or to book an appointment with Dr. Sisk, visit steamboatorthopaedicandspineinstitute.com or call 970-879-6663.
Dr. Michael Sisk got to know the orthopaedic surgeons in Jackson, Wyo., pretty well one summer during his college years while working as a wrangler on a ranch and riding bucking horses.
His rodeo coach at the University of Colorado sent him to Jackson for a summer job and for rodeo training, and that experience mapped the trajectory for his medical career. He recalls thinking that the orthopaedic surgeons who treated him for various injuries had a cool gig.
Dr. Sisk, a sports medicine and joint-replacement specialist at Steamboat Orthopaedic and Spine Institute (SOSI), said those rodeo injuries set into motion a passion for sports medicine. His father trotted out to the field to help injured athletes as the town doctor in Rifle, where Dr. Sisk grew up, which also contributed to his career path.
Having such a positive impact on a patient’s life is something Dr. Sisk finds particularly appealing about orthopaedic surgery. Other forms of medicine might treat diseases and other conditions, but patients often aren’t totally healed or cured when they leave the office for the last time. With orthopaedic surgery, you can send somebody back out into the world to do the things they love, oftentimes at a higher level than they did before.
“I still get that feeling pretty much on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s very gratifying to have the ability to massively impact somebody’s life. We can take a massively injured patient and restore that person’s function to get them back in the game. That is so fulfilling and rewarding as a surgeon.”
As medicine continues to evolve, Dr. Sisk supplements his more than 20 years of experience with a variety of practices that keep him at the forefront of orthopaedic medicine. From studying peer-reviewed journal articles to attending medical conferences, he’s continuously adapting to the latest, greatest advancements in his field.
“Orthopaedic medicine is an evolving science, so we continuously change and evolve our techniques,” Dr. Sisk said. “Here in Steamboat, if you’re not world class, you’re just not going to be working here. To make it in Steamboat, you have to be head of the class.”
Dr. Sisk has experience and enjoys treating orthopaedic injuries all over the body, but his practice has evolved to specialize in joint replacement. He’s particularly excited about customized knee replacements.
“When I got to Steamboat, I really focused on everything. I couldn’t imagine operating on just hands for the rest of my life — I would be bored out of my mind,” he said. “I have really enjoyed being full service, and having spent my whole career in Steamboat, I have seen everything.”
A commitment to Steamboat
Growing up, Dr. Sisk often traveled to Steamboat from his hometown of Rifle to compete in rodeos. As he pursued a rodeo career, he always found himself looking forward to the pro rodeo held in Steamboat every summer.
“As I worked myself into the pro ranks — and Steamboat was one of the towns you could enter — every time I came to Steamboat, I just loved it,” Dr. Sisk said. “The combination of the Western heritage, the ski mountain and the hunting opportunities around here — those were all major draws for me. I was lucky enough to get out of residency and immediately be able to get a job here with Orthopaedics of Steamboat Springs.”
As an orthopaedic surgeon in a ski town for more than 20 years, Dr. Sisk has had the opportunity to take care of just about any type of professional athlete you can imagine. He’s also extremely proud to take care of the community as a whole, and of the outreach work he does in Granby, Craig and southern Wyoming.
“We have world-class athletes here, from all over the world,” he said. “I treat every patient like they’re a part of my family. The decisions I make, the advice I give — regardless of your nationality, where you live or insurance status — I will treat you as if you’re part of my family.”
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Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of a 2-part series. Part 2 outlines non-surgical and surgical treatment options for hip injuries.