Making the Rounds with Dr. Stephen Duncan

Meet Dr. Stephen Duncan, renowned orthopaedic surgeon and avid cyclist

Making the RoundsIn our latest edition of Making the Round, we spoke with Dr. Stephen Duncan, a nationally recognized surgeon at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.

Dr. Duncan specializes in hip surgery and hip preservation and sees patients of all ages. He’s also an avid cyclist who appreciates the importance of an active lifestyle.

What is your care philosophy when you meet a new patient?

I’m not an operate-first, meet-you-second doctor. I want to get to know you and figure out what’s the best treatment for you. And whether that’s doing medication or physical therapy or surgery, the biggest thing is getting to know you and what’s going to work for you.

What’s your favorite hobby outside of work?

Running and biking. I’ve been biking for 13 years. I used to bike competitively but now with the demands of being employed and having kids, I can’t really do it as much anymore. If I wasn’t a doctor, though, I’d be a bike mechanic.

Tell us about your family.

My wife is a pediatrician here at UK. We have two boys; they’re 5 and 7. The biggest challenge is trying to keep them out of the orthopaedic clinic. The best part of being a parent is that I get to be a kid with them.

What’s your favorite type of music?

Country. I lived in Nashville for eight years and it kind of grows on you there and then it finally just sinks in. You can actually hear the stories behind the music if you listen to it. It helps keep my blood pressure low.

What do you enjoy most about your work at UK HealthCare?

The biggest thing that gives me satisfaction is when I’ve seen that I was able to immediately help a patient in their life. When a patient comes in who has a lot of pain, and depending upon if we needed to operate on them or just do a simple injection, if they come back and give me a hug, I enjoy that.


Check out our video interview with Dr. Duncan below. He tells us more about the types of hip injuries he treats and why he chose orthopaedics as a specialty.


Next steps:

  • Duncan is hosting a public lecture about hip and knee arthritis on Dec. 8 at the Eastside Branch Public Library in Lexington. The event is free. Please call 800-333-8874 to reserve your seat.
  • Learn more about the comprehensive care for patients of all ages offered at UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine.
Making the Rounds with Dr. Darren Johnson.

Dr. Darren Johnson, top-ranked knee surgeon, talks about his most important role

Making the RoundsDr. Darren Johnson, chairman of UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, joined us for our third installment of Making the Rounds, a blog series where you’ll get to know what our providers are like away from the hospital.

Dr. Johnson has been seeing patients, including UK student-athletes, at UK HealthCare since 1993, and thanks to his exceptional care, recently he was named one of the 16 best knee surgeons in North America.

In his free time, Dr. Johnson enjoys spending time with his wife, Nancy, a registered nurse, and their three children, Lauren, Kelsey and BrandonAll three Johnson children are pursing careers in medicine.

Dr. Darren Johnson

Dr. Darren Johnson

What person, real or fictional, do you most admire?

That’s a tough one because for me, you’d have to think of mentors that I’ve had. And that goes back to medical school at UCLA, residency at USC and then my fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. It’s probably just physician-mentors that I’ve had that I try to model myself after.

I’m a huge John Wayne fan, and I’m a Clint Eastwood fan, too. That’s probably it.

Do you have a favorite movie?

A favorite movie for me, personally? Probably “Braveheart.” Great movie, right? But yeah [my kids and I] go to movies a lot. I like to go to movies. Unfortunately, I don’t get to go enough.

Do you have a favorite meal or type of food you like to eat with your family?

Fortunately for my wife I’ll eat anything, but if I had to pick, growing up in Southern California, probably Mexican food.

From left to right: Dr. Johnson, Mrs. Nancy Johnson, daughters Lauren and Kelsey, and son Brandon.

From left to right: Dr. Johnson, wife Nancy, daughters Lauren and Kelsey, and son Brandon.

When you do get time off, where do you like to go?

Destin, Florida, because we’ve always gone there since our kids were little, and that’s the kids’ favorite spot. So if it’s your kids’ favorite spot, that’s your favorite spot. Pretty simple.

How would your kids describe you?

Hard worker. Expects a lot out of them. Sometimes too honest for a father – kids don’t like honesty. You know, hopefully as a great dad. That’s my most important role – being a dad.

We have a very close family.


We asked Dr. Johnson about his work with patients with sports injuries. Watch the video:


Next Steps

Drs. Darren Johnson and Christian Lattermann have been ranked as two of the best knee surgeons in North America by Orthopedics This Week.

Two UK knee surgeons ranked among 16 best in North America

Dr. Darren Johnson

Dr. Darren Johnson

Dr. Christian Latterman

Dr. Christian Latterman

Drs. Darren Johnson, chairman of UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, and Christian Lattermann, director of cartilage repair and restoration, have been ranked as two of the “16 Standout North American Sports Knee Surgeons” by the publication Orthopedics This Week, the most widely read publication in the Orthopedics industry.

“I am truly honored and humbled to be recognized at this level. I have always strived to provide the best care to the patients I serve,” said Johnson, who has been working at UK since 1993 and serves as chair of the department. “This could not be accomplished without those that I work with in my department including colleagues and partners, residents and fellows, athletic training staff as well as our overall staff support in the clinic and operating room.”

Lattermann was also included in the ranking and serves as director of cartilage repair and restoration. “This honor is the result of hard work towards the orthopaedic mission at the University of Kentucky,” he said. “As a physician scientist I am particularly happy to be included in this list of outstanding sports medicine physicians.”


Next Steps

Physical therapy

Physical therapy often better than opioids for long-term pain management

Written by Tony English, PT, PhD, director of the Division of Physical Therapy at the University of Kentucky‘s College of Health Sciences.  

Tony English

Tony English

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sales of prescription opioids have quadrupled in the U.S. since 1999, even though there has not been an overall change in the amount of pain reported.

People with chronic pain conditions unrelated to cancer often depend on prescription opioids to manage their pain. As opioid use has increased, so has the misuse, abuse and overdose of these drugs in Kentucky and across the country.

The statistics are sobering:

  • As many as one in four people who receive prescription opioids long term for non-cancer pain in primary care settings suffer with addiction.
  • Heroin-related overdose deaths more than quadrupled between 2002 and 2014, and people addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin.
  • More than 165,000 people in the United States have died from opioid pain-medication-related overdoses since 1999.
  • Every day, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misusing prescription opioids.

The CDC released guidelines in March urging prescribers to reduce the use of opioids in favor of safer alternatives in the treatment of chronic pain. Physical therapy is one of the recommended non-opioid alternatives.

If you or someone you know has pain not related to cancer, consider physical therapy as a safer alternative for managing your pain. Physical therapists diagnose and treat movement disorders that may be contributing to your pain and will develop an active treatment plan specific to your goals.

A 2008 study following 20,000 people over a period of 11 years found that people who exercised regularly reported less pain. Manual therapy can reduce pain and improve mobility so that people have more pain-free movement. That, in turn, promotes more activity, which reduces pain even further. Exercise and manual therapy are two components of an active treatment plan that may be used by a physical therapist to help manage pain.

The American Physical Therapy Association has launched a national campaign called #ChoosePT to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the choice of physical therapy as a safe alternative for long-term pain management.


Next steps:

Preventive exercises have been shown to reduce the risk of ACL injury, and they are becoming increasingly important for young athletes.

Preventive exercises can reduce ACL injuries

Written by Dr. Cale Jacobs, Assistant Professor in UK’s Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.

Dr. Cale Jacobs, Assistant Professor in UK’s Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine.

Dr. Cale Jacobs

Unfortunately, each year, about 7 million sports-related injuries occur in the U.S. Approximately half occur in people between the ages of 5 and 24 years old. Injuries, especially to the knee, remove young athletes from the playing field and can have long-term repercussions that limit mobility and lead to more severe issues.

Tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the tough band of tissue joining the thigh bone and shin bone at the knee joint, is not uncommon in “cutting” sports like soccer, volleyball, football and basketball. An ACL tear is a particularly damaging injury as it often leads to knee arthritis, and studies have reported that 50 percent of people who tear their ACL develop arthritis within 15 years of their injury. When you consider that most ACL injuries happen to those under the age of 25, this means that many patients are developing knee arthritis in their 30s or early 40s.

The ACL can be surgically reconstructed, which improves the stability of the knee. However, for young female athletes playing in cutting sports after ACL reconstruction, roughly one in three of these athletes will suffer a second ACL injury. Also, recovery after ACL reconstruction differs from patient to patient, with some taking longer to safely return to sports.

Because of the high rate of early knee arthritis and the risk of a second injury, preventing the first ACL injury is crucial. Preventive exercise programs have been shown to reduce the risk of ACL injury, and the free Get Set-Train Smarter app available on Android and iOS is a great resource for parents and athletes. This app, created by the International Olympic Committee, enables athletes to select an exercise program that is specific to the sports they play.

In addition, UK researchers are studying a number of ways to prevent a second ACL injury as well as prevent or delay the onset of knee arthritis for younger athletes that suffer an ACL injury. These include injections to lessen cartilage damage, improved surgical techniques for younger athletes and innovative rehabilitation protocols like one’s being used with injured NFL athletes. Current research has also identified that athletes still have sizeable muscle imbalances when they return to sports, suggesting that both improved rehabilitation protocols and better testing methods be used to safely return young athletes back to their sport.


Next Steps