Photography by DANIEL BARCELÓ
Newer to the Winter Haven area, Relevé Sports Medicine provides non-surgical treatments and care for individuals in all levels of athletic careers and patients from any age.
A New Year’s resolution we all seem to have in common is to exercise more. Often times, though, a slight injury to a knee or a sore muscle can keep us from achieving that goal. Whether it’s an injury from a Saturday morning soccer game, a pulled muscle after a run, or just the pain of getting out of bed in the morning, Relevé Sports Medicine provides treatment and care to get you back into your New Year’s resolution workout routine.
Merely into their second year of operation in Winter Haven, Relevé caters to clients from all walks of life. With a wide array of services, the clinic offers non-surgical orthopedics, sports physicals, platelet-rich plasma therapy, and treatment for sports concussions and arthritis. The team at Relevé includes Michelle Henne, M.D., medical director; Ali Spradley, certified athletic trainer and registered radiology technician; Olivia Caldwell, certified athletic trainer; and Adrienne Collier, practice manager.
“[It’s] the first of its kind in Polk County. We get to take care of people so that they are able to get back to what they love,” says Henne. As the founder of Relevé, Henne has a rich background in treating all types of clientele, from professional athletes to individuals who struggle with arthritis. Henne has published articles in The American Journal of Orthopedics and The 5-Minute Clinical Consult, as well as presented at many conferences, including the American Medical Society of Sports Medicine. Her passion for sports medicine started at a young age.
“[it’s] the first of its kind in Polk County. We get to take care of people so that they are able to get back to what they love.”
Originally from Melbourne, Florida, Henne attended the University of South Florida (USF) to pursue her undergraduate and medical school degrees and ultimately trained in sports medicine. A sports enthusiast herself, Henne played soccer in high school before deciding on a career in medicine. “I have always been a part of sports. I knew that I wanted to get back into it,” she says. USF is where Henne met her husband, Carter, and the pair eventually moved to his hometown of Winter Haven.
Henne went on to complete her medicine residency at Bayfront Health in St. Petersburg, Florida, before joining a sports medicine fellowship in Orlando. While in Orlando, Henne worked with the Orlando City Soccer Club, in addition to U.S. Soccer, the National Women’s Soccer League, and the United Soccer League. During spring training for Major League Baseball, Henne spent time with the Washington Nationals performing physicals and assisting with health- and injury-related needs for the athletes.
At the time, Henne commuted back and forth from Winter Haven to Orlando. She soon discovered there were no clinics in Polk County that were fully dedicated to sports medicine. “I determined that there was a need for a sports medicine clinic throughout the county. I wanted to be able to provide that care in Winter Haven,” says Henne.
Her familiarity with Polk County started after she married into a family that had lived in Winter Haven for several generations. After moving to the area, in addition to practicing medicine, she began participating and performing with the Cypress Gardens Water Ski team, a world-class skiing team started in 1943. She also provided medical care for the team’s athletes. “It’s been a great way to represent the community,” she says.
When it came time for Henne to find a location in which to open her clinic, it wasn’t hard for her to choose her new hometown of Winter Haven. In December 2017, Relevé opened on Cypress Gardens Boulevard. The name of the clinic was selected after a word that would represent the mission of the clinic. “When we came across Relevé, we considered the meaning: a ballet move of elevating onto the highest point of the foot. We felt that this exactly represented our goal of getting our community members to their highest potential,” says Henne.
Since their opening, Relevé has treated children with joint pain, adults with arthritis, and athletes from surrounding schools, including All Saints Academy, Webber International University, Warner University, and Polk State College. “Our focus is on identifying and treating injuries, particularly as people age. I am able to go through a list of conservative options with clients,” says Henne. The clinic also specializes in the care of concussions and works with athletes and their families on the road to recovery.
In the field of sports medicine, Relevé keeps up to date with leading technology and tries to provide an alternative to surgical orthopedics. Whether it’s helping an athlete play or getting someone back on the golf course, Henne enjoys the opportunity to help people meet their goals. “Some people get up in the morning and they don’t want to be in pain. I have high-activity people and folks that just want to be able to do the daily grind,” says Henne.
One treatment Henne prides the clinic in doing is the use of ultrasound guidance when performing interventional procedures, such as injections to an individual struggling with arthritis. Instead of blindly injecting an area, Henne is able to pinpoint the exact location of pain. “The ultrasound guides us to identify the target location. Image guidance is a game changer. It ensures the accuracy of the treatment,” says Henne.
A benefit of utilizing ultrasound guidance is that small joints or small structures, which are millimeters in size,are able to be targeted. Also, accurately targeting structures allows for well-informed decision making for a patient. “For example, a person may come in with hip osteoarthritis, sacroiliac joint pain, and greater trochanter syndrome. If we can get them 95 percent better by treating their hip weakness, pelvic tilt, and with PRP treatment to their gluteus medius tendinopathy with a partial tear, then we can help them to avoid a hip replacement surgery which may have only contributed five percent to their overall pain,” says Henne.
“When we came across Relevé, we considered the meaning: a ballet move of elevating onto the highest point of the foot. We felt that this exactly represented our goal of getting our community members to their highest potential.”
Henne specializes in the use of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment, often used by professional and recreational athletes in order to stay in their given sport. This utilizes a person’s own messaging signals to treat an area of injury, whether it’s in a joint, muscle, or tendon. Through PRP treatment, patients are injected in the location of the injury, which sends a message to the rest of the body to send stem cells and other reparative cells to the area in order to repair the ligament or tendon or potentially build new cartilage. “The use of PRP is an adjunct in the healing process. There is great evidence for this treatment in certain conditions. It helps individuals in professional sports get back into the game sooner,” says Henne.
In addition to providing treatments to their local clientele, Relevé is also highly involved in local athletic teams. During football season from August to November, the clinic opens on Saturdays at 8 a.m. to provide guidance for coaches and families of players who were injured at a Friday night game. “A lot of coaches are concerned about when their players can play again. We are able to help take care of letting them know when they can safely return to the sport,” says Henne. The clinic has an x-ray on site and provides appropriate assessments to the injury, treatment plans, and helps determine the return to play plan of the athlete. The Relevé team also volunteers at local high schools during the fall season to provide physicals for local athletes.
As Relevé looks to the future, one of their goals is to continue to hold monthly education seminars for athletic trainers in the county. During the seminars, they invite speakers from a variety of fields, including physicians, physical therapists, optometrists, and other specialists pertaining to athletes. “There are niche experts in fields that we want to bring in. We want to continue to expand this opportunity,” says Henne. The seminars are held at the clinic on the first Tuesday of the month.
Relevé also plans to continue to play a role in local sporting events. Kicking off the new year in January, Henne served as a volunteer medical director for the Florida Cup 2019 game, which is a winter soccer tournament with top players from South America and Europe. In the spring, Henne looks forward to the start of baseball, where she is part of the affiliate medical staff for the Nationals and the Braves. She is also an affiliate with the LPGA Symetra Tour which holds their kickoff golf tournament at the Winter Haven Country Club.
RELEVÉ SPORTS MEDICINE
5535 Cypress Gardens Boulevard, Suite 270
Winter Haven, FL 33884