Game changing surgery: building a pain free athlete

FRESNO, Calif.

Too much, too hard, too fast! Millions of weekend warriors will end up at the doctor's office this year.

"It was at first the most excruciating pain I've ever felt really," Tim Acevedo, a cyclist, told Action News.

"I couldn't walk at all without severe pain," Gary Stearns, an avid runner, said.

Backs, knees, shoulders, ACL's, hips, all pushed to the extreme and exhausted! Tim Acevedo was more comfortable on two wheels than two feet until the competitive cyclist was literally thrown off his game.

"I was coming down a hill and i hit a bump that i didn't see so it threw me up in the air and I landed on my shoulder, my hands landed first and that popped the shoulder," Acevedo explained.

"Number one, the bone breaks, and number two the coraclavicular ligaments tear," Spero Karas, M.D., head team physician for the Atlanta Falcons and associate professor of orthopedics at Emory Sports Medicine, explained.

Traditional suture repair failed just one week after surgery, then Tim met doctor Karas, one of the only U.S. surgeons doing clavicle repair with a European device called a sub-acromial hook plate.

"It goes underneath the acromium and actually pushes the clavicle back down," Dr. Karas said.

Implanted during surgery, studies show the hook plate stabilizes the joint during healing. Three months post-op, Tim's shoulder was stable enough to remove the plate. Now, he's back on two wheels.

"My shoulder is very relaxed, my range of motion has increased tremendously and the strength is coming back quickly as well," Acevedo said.

It probably won't be Tim's last sports injury. In fact, cycling, running, tennis and golf are the sports with the most injuries for people over 40. From avid athletes to those who work out just a few times a week, our knees take the most abuse. The average knee bends about five-thousand times a day. Add running five miles, three times a week and that adds up to 1.7 million knee bends a year. That's why half of all 45-year-olds will end up with a knee problem before they're 65.

"My knee got really painful when i was walking or hiking," Gary Stearns, an avid runner, said.

If there's a 14-thousand foot mountain anywhere in the U.S., Gary Stearns has seen the top of it.

"There's a real feeling of accomplishment," Stearns said.

But arthritis in his right knee stopped this avid mountain climber in his tracks. Traditionally, doctors would replace the entire joint, but now orthopedic surgeons are turning to a partial knee replacement. The outpatient partial knee replacement surgery is shorter and less invasive than a total knee.

"Now I just treat the arthritis. I basically take minimal bone from both the thigh bone or femur and tibia or shinbone and replace it with metal, cement and plastic," Grant Garlick, M.D., from the Florida Orthopedic Institute said.

Patients are able to walk without crutches or a cane two weeks after surgery. Six months after surgery, Gary was able to climb without pain. Now there is nothing stopping this climber or a cyclist, or you from pushing your limits pain free.

For tennis fanatics, researchers at Stanford have developed a surgical alternative for tendinitis using your own blood. Doctors take blood from a healthy part of your body, process it to boost platelet content and inject it into the affected area in the elbow kick starting the healing process. The result is 93% success rate equal to surgery, but without the knives.


Spero G. Karas, MD
Head Team Physician- Atlanta Falcons
Associate Professor of Orthopedics
Emory Healthcare Sports Medicine

Angela Davis
Florida orthopedic institute
(813) 978-9700 ext 7340

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.