Richards, and Dr. Chris Bell, his partner in practice, treat a wide variety of ailments affecting joints not needing surgery, from broken bones to muscle injuries in patients from 2 to 90 years old.
“Sports medicine is just the name of the specialty,” Richards said. “We’re actually in general practice, working with a wide, wide variety of problems dealing with all joints, offering treatments and exercises geared to the patient to safely get (the patient) back to their daily activities or their sports activities,” Richards said. “We do more than giving patients medicine and a brace.”
He gave the example of a runner having difficulties. “We may give them exercises to stretch their buttocks or inserts into shoes,” to help them run more safely and effectively.
Intermountain Sports Medicine Specialists will have a booth at the Health and Wellness Fair, at the South Davis Recreation Center, Oct.20-21 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., where Richards will be offering advice on healthy exercise and advice to runners of all ages and levels to make their runs safer and more enjoyable.
The Bountiful office, 280 N. Main, is one of four sports medicine practices operated by Intermountain Health Care in the state. Richards said he and Bell are the only two sports medicine physicians who are not orthopedic surgeons in Davis County.
In that role, they may work with an arthritic patient until that patient needs a knee replacement, when the patient will be turned over to one of the orthopedic surgeons at Intermountain Health Care.
“Our background training is primary care. We look at the whole picture, how for example an ankle problem may be affecting (the patient’s) knee,” Richards said.
That also may include nutritional guidance and strength and flexibility training, which enables the doctors to help a patient, whether they are involved in sports or a job, or a mother, trying to keep up with five kids. “Exercise and activity is good medicine,” he said. “We want to promote activity and exercise and help patients learn to do that more safely and more effectively,” he said.
At their Bountiful office, Richards and Bell have a running lab, which focuses on a training program specific to each patient. The lab identifies areas of need in strength and flexibility and includes a treadmill, which helps the physicians make recommendations to patients on the mechanics of running.
Richards is a native of Utah, having grown up in Salt Lake City. He graduated from the University of Utah Medical School, and did his residency in Indiana. He completed his fellowship training in Provo.
Richards has been in practice six years, five and a half of those with the Intermountain Medical Specialists.