University of Colorado, School of Medicine, PM&R Faculty


Photo of Dr. Akuthota

Venu Akuthota MD

Chair, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (SOM)


Primary Phone:720-848-2031

Dr. Venu Akuthota is the CU Medicine Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (CU PM&R) at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Akuthota and CU PM&R are devoted to growing the value of the PM&R disciplines through interdisciplinary clinical care and research as well as training the next generation of rehabilitation physicians, physical therapists, and rehabilitation researchers. Through his role as service line champion of The Spine Center at University of Colorado Hospital and CU Sports Medicine, he provides clinical expertise in aggressive, non-operative treatment of spine and musculoskeletal conditions. He is board certified in PM&R with subspecialty certifications in Sports Medicine and Pain Medicine. Dr. Akuthota also serves as a team physician for University of Colorado Buffaloes and University of Denver Pioneers, and he has been repeatedly voted by his peer physicians as a Denver 5280 magazine “Top Doctor.”

After training and working as a faculty physician at Northwestern University’s prestigious Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now Shirley Ryan Ability Lab), he was recruited, in 2002, to the University of Colorado to develop the multidisciplinary Spine Center and multidisciplinary Pain and Sports Medicine Fellowship. Dr. Akuthota is the author of more than 100 publications, author/editor of two textbooks and a sought after visiting professor/speaker. He served as a founding senior editor of the journal PM&R and previously served on the Boards of NASS (North American Spine Society) and the erstwhile PASSOR (Physiatric Association of Spine Sports and Occupational Rehabilitation). He is currently a co-editor of Evidence-Based Physiatry within the American Journal of PM&R. In 2012, he and co-authors received the Outstanding Paper Award by The Spine Journal for research on spinal injections. He is part of the LESS study group of investigators which has published seminal lumbar stenosis research in the New England Journal of Medicine and other publications.

Dr. Akuthota is an active physician scientist investigating innovative spine and musculoskeletal treatments, having held grant funding from agencies like the AHRQ, PCORI, Foundation for PM&R and the CU Health and Welfare Trust. Dr. Akuthota has been a senior or lead investigator on various published clinical trials, including ones for regenerative spine medicine, lumbar spinal stenosis, efficacy and utilization of spinal injections, functional movement training, hamstring stretching, hip provocation maneuvers, and nerve injuries in athletes.

Clinical Interest for Patients

Dr. Akuthota is Professor and Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado. In addition, he served as the medical director of the Spine Center at University of Colorado Hospital and is responsible for the Runners' Clinic at the University Sports Medicine Center. He is board-certified in sports medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, pain medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. His clinical interests include prevention and management of the neck, spine, lower back pain, and running injuries.

Care Philosophy

Treat people like family members


  • Chair, Professor (2002)
    School of Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
    Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spine, Running Injuries, Outcomes Research


Areas of Expertise

Specialty Information

  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - Pain Medicine, Board Certification (2003)
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Board Certification (2002)
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - Sports Medicine, Board Certification (2009)
Conditions & Treatments
  • Bones, Joints and Muscles
  • Arthritis
  • Back Pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Foot and Ankle Injuries and Disorders
  • Hip Injuries and Disorders
  • Knee Injuries and Disorders
  • Leg Injuries and Disorders
  • Neck Disorders and Injuries
  • Osteoporosis
  • Shoulder Injuries and Disorders
  • Spine Injuries
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Brain and Nervous System
  • Spine Diseases and Conditions
  • Spine - Sacroiliac Joint
  • Symptoms and Manifestations
  • Pain
  • Wellness and Lifestyle
  • Wellness and Lifestyle - Exercise and Physical Fitness

Education, Licensure & Certifications

Education & Training

Medical Schools:
  • MD, Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy (1994)

Undergraduate Schools:
  • BS, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine (OH) (1991)

  • McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University Program (1995)

Residency Program:
  • McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University Program, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (1998)

  • McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University Program, Sports Medicine (1999)



Recognition & Awards

  • PASSOR Legacy Award and Lectureship, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, (2015)
    Awarded to mid career physician who has excelled in PM&R clinical care, education, and research.
  • 5280 Top Doctor, 5280 Magazine, (2014)
    Recognized as a Top Doctor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation from 2012-present
  • Visiting Professor, Harvard University, (2012)
    Visiting Professorships at Harvard, Cornell, National University of Korea, Eastern Virginia, Turkish Rheumatologic Congress, Dalhousie University (Halifax, Canada), University of Utah
  • Best Paper, North American Spine Society, (2011)
  • Inspired Kindness Award, Grateful Patient & Family Program, University of Colorado Hospital Foundation, (2010)
  • Golden Goniometer Academic Teaching Award, Dept of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, (2007)


Professional Memberships

  • American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR), Member
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Member
  • Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP), Member
  • International Spinal Intervention Society (ISIS), Member
  • North American Spine Society (NASS), Member

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