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Robert Palumbo, headshot

Robert Palumbo, MD

Elbow / Arm, Foot / Ankle, Knee, Shoulder
Sports Medicine

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Robert Palumbo, headshot

Robert Palumbo, MD

Specialties: Sports Medicine

Robert Palumbo, MD - Sports Medicine Doctor

Sports Medicine Specialist
Elbow / Arm, Foot / Ankle, Knee, Shoulder


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How did you become interested in medicine?

I was 10 years old when I was diagnosed with a congenital abnormality of my right hip. At the time I was an active athlete and sports kept me focused so when I was told I would need to two surgeries in two years and that I would be lucky to walk without a limp but likely not play sports again I was devastated. We went for a second opinion and when Dr. Tom Altizer told me not to worry that I would be playing football in two years I was hooked. Two years later I was a triathlete and I knew sports medicine orthopedics was my calling. From that point forward everything I did in my personal sports career and schooling was to get me to sports medicine orthopedics. Almost to a fault because while pursuing this dream I had a bit of tunnel vision to the other areas of medicine.

When did you decide to specialize in sports medicine and orthopedic care?

Originally I was interested in sports medicine orthopedics as an academic rather than a surgeon but a tragic accident in which I lost two close friends made me change my course instead I landed in Orlando, Florida where I started with performance athletes and professional athletes.

What are common conditions you treat? Is there anything patients can do to avoid developing their conditions?

I treat a variety of sports injuries including many shoulder and knee injuries but I think what I see most is overuse and career ending injuries in youth. There is an epidemic of children’s injuries because single sport athletes are focusing at too early an age. Training for one sport limits the muscles and movements you are trained and conditioned for. That’s why programs like Stop Sports Injuries are so important. If I had one campaign to advocate for it would be that today’s youth should not be single sport athletes at such an early age and that we need to focus on prevention.

What do you like best about working with your patients?

I like that after caring for a patient and releasing them they can go back to the things they enjoy. Return to the sports they are passionate about. I also really appreciate the relationships we build with our patients. They often share with us their recovery successes and if needed come back to us for future injuries.

What do you like most about working at OAA?

I like that we can provide total patient care here and that I can focus on what I do best because I have a large network of specialists who are excellent in each of their areas right here at OAA.

Where are you from, originally, and how did you come to live in the Lehigh Valley?

I was raised in Hagerstown, MD a great small close-knit town but later I lived in NJ and FL. By the time I was living in Florida my professional career was where I wanted it to be really but I was missing out on my family life. I was in London at the Arsenal Stadium in the Presidents Box as a guest of Geoff Hurst and I missed my oldest son’s 1st home run. I knew then I needed a better balance. It was actually my wife who refused to give up and had stumbled upon an opportunity with OAA.

If you were not a Sports Medicine Physician, what would you be doing?

This is extremely hard to answer because as I mentioned I really was on a direct path for sports medicine orthopedics my entire life but I think if I weren’t in sports medicine maybe I would be in biomechanical or chemical engineering, maybe making orthopedic devices.

How do you apply your experience as a Physician to the rest of your life?

I guess I’m old school because there really is no separation between my personal and professional life. When I was working with Michele Akers in Florida, Michele use to come to my home in Orlando for physical therapy. It’s my way of life, completely integrated really.

Of what achievements are you especially proud?

When I look at my professional career I am extremely proud of the OAA Sports Medicine Foundation I started and working with so many amazing athletes but foremost I am proud of being a father to four and a husband to my wife of more than 25 years.