What do you like to do in your free time?In my free time I enjoy being with my wife, three boys, and dog. I like being outdoors, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and music. I enjoy playing the piano, and I’m trying to learn to play the guitar.


Published 1/1/2013
Michael F. Schafer, MD

A Nation in Motion Is You!

Share your unique story and point of view through Surgeon Stories and Ortho-pinions

Michael F. Schafer, MD

Last year, the AAOS launched the “A Nation in Motion” campaign to promote the role of orthopaedic surgeons in helping people regain mobility, reduce pain, and reclaim the freedom to do what they love. Through the end of 2012, the campaign website featured more than 600 moving patient stories—provided by Academy members and their patients and attracting thousands of visitors to ANationInMotion.org

As the campaign evolves, I want to urge you to continue to provide and promote patient stories. I also urge you to contribute to A Nation in Motion’s newest features: “Surgeon Stories” and “Ortho-pinions.”

Surgeon Stories
Surgeon Stories reveal the faces, passion, and real life stories behind the practice of orthopaedics and
A Nation in Motion.

Each of us has a personal, interesting, and sometimes emotional reason as to why we chose to devote our lives to orthopaedics. As I wrote in my Surgeon Story, for me it was the 2 weeks that I spent in an iron lung as a 10-year-old boy. I will never forget the compassionate orthopaedic surgeon who treated me and eased my anxieties while I was quarantined in a polio ward.

For Claudette M. Lajam, MD, it was seeing her elderly great aunt Loretta, once a vibrant and active woman, debilitated from arthritis. Daniel J. Solomon, MD, chose to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, an orthopaedic surgeon who served in the military during World War I and as a team physician during the 1928 and 1932 Olympics.

To submit a Surgeon Story, click on the “Submit Your Stories” button on the ANationInMotion.org home page, and then select “I am an orthopaedic surgeon.” A one-page online form will ask you to provide a photo and basic contact information, and to answer four questions:

  • I became an orthopaedic surgeon because…
  • What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?

It’s easy and doesn’t take much time. (See the example below by Michael A. Flippin, MD.) You also can include a link to your practice, which may help drive traffic to your website.

In addition to Surgeon Stories, A Nation in Motion now features Ortho-pinions—400- to 1,000-word, patient-friendly articles about various aspects of orthopaedics. Ortho-pinions can cover condition and injuries, common health concerns, preventive care, and treatments. A topic or question that comes up frequently in your practice—whether related to life or medicine—or one reflecting the diversity of the different specialties that make up orthopaedics would make an excellent Ortho-pinion. (See the example on the facing page by Rachel S. Rohde, MD.)

Articles can be submitted online by clicking on the “Orthopaedic surgeons: Submit your Ortho-pinions” button on the homepage at ANationInMotion.org.

All Ortho-pinions are subject to an editorial review process by a subgroup of the AAOS Communications Cabinet.

Any way you choose to participate will help strengthen this campaign, and once you submit your story or article, please remember to add a link with the A Nation in Motion logo to your website. You can find the HTML code for the logo by clicking the A Nation in Motion link on the AAOS.org homepage.

Michael F. Schafer, MD, chairs the AAOS Communications Cabinet.

A Surgeon’s Story: Michael A. Flippin, MD
Southern California Permanente Medical Group San Diego

I became an orthopaedic surgeon because...

I became an orthopaedic surgeon because I was fascinated by the ability to use my hands and help people. As I look back at the whole process of becoming a doctor, I may have been a little bit biased by the three orthopaedic procedures that I had as a child. During medical school I was intrigued by all the different specialties, but none of them impacted me like my first orthopaedic rotation. I remember one particular night during a trauma rotation at UC Davis. A woman was badly injured in a car accident and was brought to the hospital. She was taken to the operating room that evening to fix her fractured bones. A couple of days later she was able to leave the hospital with her family. Four weeks later she came back to the clinic, was able to sit up and use her hands despite the pain from her recently fixed forearms, and she was able to say hello and thank you. I loved seeing that immediate impact on a patient’s life!

What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?

The most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon is establishing a relationship with patients, taking care of them, and seeing them do well. Whether it is getting patients back to sports, helping them to walk without having severe pain, or helping a cancer patient preserve function and be able to get out of bed, I really enjoy being able to help others. I also enjoy seeing the amazing strength and courage in our patients as they recover and improve.

Michael A. Flippin, MD

In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?

Giving back to the community is very important to me. I volunteer at a local free clinic that is run by the medical students at UC San Diego School of Medicine. I am involved in mentorship programs for minority students in the local schools. I like to contribute to medicine by being involved in various committees and subspecialty societies in my hospital and in orthopaedics.

Actions for AAOS Members in the New Year

  1. Submit your Orthopaedic Surgeon Story
  2. Submit an Ortho-pinion
  3. Continue to submit patient stories


Example of an Ortho-pinion
Are Your Hands Keeping You Awake at Night? It Might Be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Rachel S. Rohde, MD

See if this sounds familiar: you finally drift off to sleep, only to awaken in the middle of the night again with that dreaded feeling of your hands on fire! Does it sometimes seem that your hands are falling (and staying) asleep better than the rest of you? If so you might have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness, tingling, loss of sensation, or a burning feeling in your hand caused by pressure on the median nerve in your wrist. This nerve most commonly gives sensation to your thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers, as well as supplying the muscles that control your thumb.

More common in women, carpal tunnel syndrome can be associated with a variety of health conditions, including thyroid problems, diabetes, and pregnancy. Sometimes it is attributed to repetitive activity, although recent studies suggest that keyboard use is not the cause. Because the nerve runs into the palm, however, leaning your wrists on a keyboard or support cushion can put pressure on your nerve.

Night symptoms are very common because we tend to curl our wrists at night, putting even more pressure on the nerve. For this reason, nighttime wrist splints might help your symptoms. Other treatment options are aimed at decreasing pressure on the nerve; these include steroid injections and carpal tunnel release, a procedure done under local anesthesia.

See your orthopaedic surgeon to see what treatment option is best for you.

For more information on carpal tunnel, visit OrthoInfo.org