Joseph L. Finstein, M.D.: Good Sport
As the Vice Chairman of Orthopedic Surgery at East Jefferson General Hospital, Dr. Joseph L. Finstein treats a “broad range” of patients, from toddlers to men and women in their 90s.
His specialty, however, is sports medicine, and the majority of his practice is devoted to treating injuries of the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, foot and ankle. He also serves as the team orthopedic surgeon for St. Charles Catholic High School and De La Salle High School, treating student athletes throughout the greater New Orleans area and serving on the sidelines of the football games.
Growing up, Dr. Finstein was always involved with sports and even played on the varsity basketball team at Brandeis University, where he was named Academic All Conference. His passion for athletics is what attracted him to medicine, and he received his degree from the Tulane University School of Medicine before completing his orthopedic surgery residency at Hahnemann University Hospital/ Drexel University College of Medicine, where he served as the administrative chief resident. He honed his focus on operative sports medicine during a sports medicine fellowship at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University, choosing the field because it allows him to treat athletes and “weekend warriors” alike from diagnosis through recovery.
In his practice, Dr. Finstein says his patients are “predominantly athletes,” though he will also perform surgeries and treatments that allow people to return to their daily activities at any age, including total knee replacements. Within orthopedic surgery, Dr. Finstein says most of his procedures are minimally invasive orthoscopic operations, particularly those involving joint surgery, though more intense procedures — like total knee replacements — must be performed using open surgery, but still utilizing what Dr. Finstein refers to as “muscle-sparing techniques” that minimize tissue damage and scaring. To aid patients in their recovery, Dr. Finstein employs a “multimodal pain management” approach, including prescription medications, blocks, anti-inflammatory drugs and rehabilitation.
Much of his practice involves injury prevention and helping patients return to their pre-injury activity level. He says he answers a lot of questions regarding healthy lifestyle changes and recommendations for ways to keep exercise as part of a person’s daily routine.
“When I meet with a patient, I’m able to gauge what his or her interests are and we discuss how to prevent injuries through healthy living,” Dr. Finstein says. “We’ll talk about the sort of activities they enjoy to develop a solution that will be more beneficial and help them avoid injury or over-training. For an avid runner, that might mean taking up yoga or simply keeping mileage reasonable and changing running shoes more frequently.”
Though every patient’s injury and circumstances are different, what Dr. Finstein appreciates most about his role is being able to “see a patient through the process,” he says. “I enjoy fixing someone’s physical difficulty, whether surgically, non-operative, through medications or rehabilitation exercises. Seeing a patient be able to get back to things he or she truly enjoys is what I enjoy most!”
Medical School: Tulane University School of Medicine
Residency: Orthopedic Surgery, Hahnemann University Hospital/Drexel University College of Medicine
Fellowship: Sports Medicine, Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University
Board Certifications: Orthopedic Surgery
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