By: 3 July 2023
Doctor in focus with Dr Jesus Olmo

Dr Olmo was the Real Madrid Medical Director from 2013 – 2017, and the Doctor for the Spain Rugby Sevens National Team. At Isokinetic London Dr Olmo is part of the team who believe that exercise is medicine, treating the whole person in a unique environment to optimise healing and positive change. Isokinetic London is a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence and has been at the heart of London’s Harley Street area for a decade and comes out of a 35-year heritage to offer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of sports and orthopaedics injuries.


OPN: What drove you to choose a career in orthopaedics and sports injuries?

JO: Being the son of two doctors and having an early interest on all kind of sports, later being a competitive volley and rugby player, it was almost natural for me to be interested in sports medicine, not only about the injuries, but also very interested in a technical 360 degrees vision of sports including training and performance. I still train everyday, play competitive tennis and follow many sports, sometimes experiencing myself injuries and learning from them! You never stop learning as there is so much still unknown in orthopaedics.


OPN: You recently conducted a new Europe-wide study on injuries in elite women’s football, could you tell us more about what the research involved and what outcomes you discovered?

JO: The two main concerns currently in elite women’s football are the prevalence of ACL injuries, which has been reduced in men but is raising in women, and the increased incidence of hamstrings injuries in women. This injury is characteristically less frequent in women than in men, but we are seeing that at high-level football this is less and less so, maybe indicating that the intensity of women’s game is increasing, and that the physical demands and biomechanical imbalances caused by the game are not completely met by a lag in physical and medical preparation.


OPN: What could your early findings mean to the orthopaedic industry and the patient experience?

JO: As said, demands of the game are increasing as the public interest does. We need to provide better medical and physical care to women’s football from the orthopaedic industry, and players need to invest in injury prevention and physical conditioning to be ready to meet the requirements of the game.


OPN: What’s next? Are you currently working on any new research articles, or developing work with emerging technologies?

JO: My research and clinical interest has a double branch: one is the refinement of the biomechanics restoration of the injured or injury-prone athlete, and of the degenerative joint in active patients; and the other one is the development of the new biological regenerative orthobiologic technologies. Particularly, I am very involved in the clinical implementation of the expanded stem cells treatment, that is yielding game-changing results.


OPN: Please can you tell us more about the research and what it could mean to athletes?

JO: Athletes need good biomechanics and physical condition to perform consistently with low injury risk. Apart from this, they are unavoidably subjected to injuries and musculoskeletal damage that can lead to degenerative changes. Improvements in biomechanics understanding, training methods, and regenerative therapies are allowing athletes to perform better during a longer career, and to control the health or their musculoskeletal system for the rest of their lives when they retire. We cannot forget that there are more and more elder people that are athletes, in the way that they want to be active, have a good quality of life and even compete. For these patients, often affected by degenerative conditions with less effective surgical options, these kind of conservative approach combining biomechanic exercise and regenerative therapy is the future in my opinion.


OPN: What’s the best part of your job?

JO: Of course the acknowledgement of a patient. I think every doctor will tell you the same.


OPN: … and the worst?

JO: I enjoy my work and have little bad moments to be honest. Maybe what I dislike the most is the lack of respect for my work, or in general the lack of respect for the people that is frequently seen in the current society.


OPN: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

JO: Now, for sure. Obviously there have been public highlights when I was the medical director of Real Madrid CF and we won so many Champions League cups, but I see my career as a constant improvement, and currently I am working at the top medical institution in my field, which is Isokinetic. In this way, I think I am in the top of my profession right now, but tomorrow will be higher than today for sure. Medicine is mainly experience.


OPN: Are you planning to attend any orthopaedic events this year?

JO: The main meeting of course will be the Isokinetic Conference in Madrid in June 2024. It will be at the Atletico de Madrid stadium and I estimate that it will suppose the biggest conference in Football Medicine in history. The amount of knowledge and networking that can be obtained from this event cannot be compared with any other.


OPN: If you weren’t a doctor, what would you be?

JO: Probably something related with the military. I admire them.


OPN: What would you tell your 21-year-old self?

JO: Never forget to take better care of your beloved people: your family and friends.


OPN: If you were Health Minister for the day, what changes would you implement?

JO: If in Spain, I would change the public model to a more controlled management of the public money and completely private service. I think that quality medicine including prevention is best done at the private level, of course keeping the public financing system and the care of the less favoured people.


OPN: Away from the clinic – what do you do to relax?

JO: Family, friends and sports. I don’t think anything else.


OPN: How do you think the future looks in the field of orthopaedic and what are your predictions for 2023 and the next decade?

JO: I think that the future will bring less surgery, more minimally-invasive treatments, and an emphasis on injury prevention and wellness.