Dr. Steven Greer has a unique specialty in treating your bones, joints and muscles

Steven Greer, MD

Medical director for St. Joseph’s/Candler Sports Medicine

Specialty: Musculoskeletal medicine

Office Locations:

SJ/C Physician Network – Bone, Joint & Muscle Care
101 St. Joseph’s/Candler Drive, Suite 330
Pooler, Ga. 31322

In Savannah each Wednesday:

5354 Reynolds Street, Suite 102
Savannah, Ga. 31405

Undergrad: Bachelor’s of Arts in Neuroscience from the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware
Medical degree: St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada, West Indies
Residency in Family Medicine: Cone Health in Greensboro, NC
Fellowship in Sports Medicine: Cone Health

SJ/C: Why did you decide to become a doctor?

Dr. Steven Greer

I’ve always liked helping people. Even when I was young, growing up on St. Simon’s Island, I always found myself in situations where I was trying to help people. I was a lifeguard. I was in the Boy Scouts. I was the kid that always had band-aids handy. Fast forward to high school, I played tennis a lot. My knees hurt a lot. I went to a total of three different doctors and two physical therapists who all said you need to stop playing tennis. That was not an option for me. While I know now that not all physicians think that way, at that point in time, that was what I experienced. I finally found a doctor, who eventually became one of my sports medicine mentors, and he pulled some exercise instructions out of a file cabinet, and said if you do these exercises, within a couple of months, you will be able to play tennis without hurting.

It was the first time somebody didn’t say stop. For many people, stop is not an acceptable answer. And certainly for me it wasn’t an acceptable answer. That made me determined to not only be a doctor, but be a doctor like this guy. He did what I wanted to do which was work in his clinic all day and then volunteer at his local high school to take care of the kids.

SJ/C: Was it your desire to help people, that doctor or your love of tennis that made you choose this specialty?

It was a combination. It started out with a desire to work with athletes. I wanted to know enough about sports medicine so I could volunteer at my local high school, but musculoskeletal medicine wasn’t my initial goal. The more I learned about musculoskeletal medicine, the more I wanted to know more. Every time I learned more, I realized I needed to know more. For the first part of my career, I did both family medicine and musculoskeletal medicine. I spent half my time in each area. It got to the point where other people were good at family medicine but not as many people were good at musculoskeletal medicine. I felt that I owed it to my community to do what I was best at doing and fill that need.

SJ/C: What are some of the common conditions you treat at SJ/C Physician Network – Bone, Joint & Muscle Care?

I do a lot of sprains, strains, muscle tears, tendon injuries, broken bones, arthritis, concussions. I do a lot of injections. I’ve been a consultant for the CDC for their concussion protocols. And then pre-surgical care, so treating lots of things that might end up in surgery, but they aren’t quite ready for surgery.

SJ/C: You like to emphasize you don’t just work with athletes. You can help anyone, correct?

Dr. Steven Greer with patients

Correct. All activity levels, any musculoskeletal pain. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how active. I see little kids hurt on the playground, mature folks with arthritis, marathoners, recreational workers and elite athletes. I see work injuries, injuries from tripping over the curb and pain from walking to the mailbox.

One of the things that I particular love is the performing arts. When I was in North Carolina, we ran a performing arts clinic, and when I was in Minnesota, we took care of Circus Juventas, which is a kid’s version of Cirque du Soleil. I was the physician for the Augusta Ballet. They bring their own interesting challenges.

The basic tenant of musculoskeletal medicine and sports medicine in general is exercise is medicine. It’s not just athletes that can benefit from the care we provide – it’s anybody. Everybody moves. Everybody has bones. Everybody has joints. Everybody has muscles. If they aren’t working the way you want them to work, for whatever it is you want to do whether it’s playing tennis, dancing, playing the flute, we can help.  

SJ/C: What would you say to encourage people who are living with knee pain or shoulder pain, for example, to come see you to help improve their quality of life?

That’s the big thing, the quality of life, and it goes back to when I was playing tennis as a teenager. The idea that you stop doing the things you want to do because of whatever pains you have, that’s just wrong. I feel it’s our job as physicians to help people do the things they want to do. There are all sorts of things we have people do that do not involve surgery. For example, 10 years ago, if you tore your rotator cuff, we’d say you have to get to surgery right away because the sooner you fix it, the better. We’ve since found you are actually better off doing rehab first. About 80 percent of people who go through good physical therapy for a complete rotator cuff tear end up not needing surgery. Even if you end up having surgery, if you rehab first, then your recovery is better.

Then, there are some situations where you are better off having surgery so you don’t sit on your duff doing nothing. More importantly from my perspective, if your knees hurt, and you’re not doing the things you want to do because your knees hurt and you become less and less active, then you start gaining weight. Then you start getting out of shape, and if you are overweight and out of shape, that’s when you are higher risk of getting diabetes and hypertension and other medical issues. You want to come see somebody like me sooner rather than later so we can make sure you are doing exercises that are comfortable for you, exercises that you want to be doing and not putting yourself in a situation where you end up needing surgery, but you can’t have it because of uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure.

SJ/C: Do you have a moment in your career when you thought, ‘This is why I became a doctor?’

There are so many. It happens every day or every other day. I’ve had people come in and say –  just like what happened to me – ‘I was told to stop doing what I love.’ Then I get to figure out what’s wrong and help them. It literally happens at least once a week, if not every day. I do something so few people do, which is kind of cool too.

SJ/C: What’s some general advice you often share with patients to take care of their bodies and their overall health?

There are four things and a quote. When you go to the doctor, make sure you ask about your options. There may not be any but still ask. No. 2 is ask if now is the time. It may be that there are things you can do to optimize the success of surgery or minimize your recovery time, or  both. No. 3 is nobody cares about your health as much as you do, except maybe your mom, so be your own advocate and make sure you understand what’s happening before you let the doctor walk out of the room. No. 4, and probably the most important, is exercise is medicine. If you exercise three days a week, you decrease your risk of dying from anything by 30 percent. If you exercise five days a week, your decrease your risk of dying from anything by 50 percent. Exercise is as good or better than any single drug for high blood pressure, diabetes and depression. It decreases your risk of getting at least 21 different types of cancers. It improves your sleep habits; decreases your risk of falling as you age. Exercise truly is the best medicine for human beings.

Then the quote is by Edward Stanley, ‘Those who do not make time for exercise will eventually be forced to make time for illness.” He said that in 1873, so it’s not like it’s a new thought.


Family: Brilliant, amazing wife and four amazing children (two in college, one in high school and one in middle school)
Whatever the kids are currently into, guitar and tennis




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