Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Monika Radloff loved the Southwest, with endless opportunities to explore nature and play and hike in the mountains. But by the time she was ready for college, she was eager to see what other regions were like, so she headed to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a Division I college volleyball scholarship at the University of Tulsa that allowed her to be a student and athlete. After completion of college Monika retraced her path back to her much-loved New Mexico where she studied to become a physician.
When Monika was selected for a residency in Family Medicine, she savored the landscape in Redding, California, getting to know the West Coast. After becoming familiar with the key issues doctors face within family practice, Monika became increasingly interested in sports medicine.
“What I love about sports medicine is that my patients are so motivated to get better. They are active and want to be able to get back to their activities, whether that is running or gardening.”
Sports medicine doctors can assist people of all ages and all activity levels to lead healthier lives with attention to their musculoskeletal system. In other words, what we can all do to keep our bones, muscles, and tendons as healthy and happy as possible, and avoid fracture or other injury. And when we have pain or trauma, the sports medicine team can reduce pain and coordinate with colleagues (physical therapists, athletic trainers) to get us back on track?
So Monika made the leap to specialize in sports medicine, a relatively new field in medicine at that time, and she accepted a fellowship in Muncie, Indiana. Throughout Monika’s fellowship and in her years in practice since Indiana, Monika has reaffirmed the advantages of sports medicine, with all that it offers to consumers.
“As a sports medicine physician, I not only work with high level competitive athletes, but I also take care of patients who just want to be active in order to be able to take their dog for a walk around the park. I can assist patients recovering from an injury and help to prevent future injuries.”
Following Monika’s fellowship she practiced in Flagstaff, Arizona, where because of its highelevations there was winter skiing, yet the summer days reached 80 degrees, but not more.
As Monika’s family grew however, she decided that she needed a better work/life balance, so she and her husband Karl decided it was time to get to know another part of the country. After considering other positions, they found Ithaca had much to offer. Since Monika, accompanied by her husband and children, joined Cayuga Medical Center in 2018 she has her office in the Cayuga Wellness Center incorporated into the Island Health and Fitness Center on Taughannock Blvd.
Why are patients raving about this special center? There are three Sports Medicine physicians and the program emphasizes flexibly accommodating consumers quickly. This means a lot when someone is in pain. The department has an engaging, informal feel and the administrative staff, the athletic trainers, and the physicians all appear personally invested in good patient outcomes. Monika credits CMC’s support for this evolving department of medicine which has a booming caseload.
When Dr. Monika Radloff is not helping in her office overlooking Cayuga Inlet, she is likely in the Cayuga Medical Association’s Women’s Health Clinic on Craft Road or in CMA’s Cortland office.
“I enjoy being at more than just one location because it allows me to focus on different aspects of being a sports medicine physician,” Radloff said. “Becoming a part of the Women’s Health Clinic has allowed me to expand into providing Metabolic Bone Health and Osteoporosis care. I see young women who have had multiple stress fractures as well as postmenopausal women who are suffering from Osteoporosis. In my Cortland clinic, I can provide better access to the athletes from Cortland and Homer High Schools for which CMC also provides athletic training support. In all three locations I have supportive colleagues and wonderful staff that help to make my job so much easier and more enjoyable.”
Judging from patients’ comments, sports medicine is a dynamic department within Cayuga Medicine’s rich array of services. Patients can be seen quickly, and the physicians are able to spend the time necessary to help patients get back on track. X-rays and ultrasound imaging are available on site.
Radloff and family loved the natural beauty and available outdoor activities in Flagstaff, elevation 6909 feet. But so far, they are having a good time hiking around the gorges and waterfalls in our region too.
“Being physically active is very important to my family and to me,” she said. “We have enjoyed downhill skiing with the Greek Peak Ski Club, skate skiing on groomed cross-country trails, and of course, all the wonderful summer activities in the area such as cycling, hiking, kayaking, and swimming. Annaliese, age 8, and Kaarina, age 5, have been having fun skiing every weekend, with their two active parents rushing to catch up.”