Recent addition Dr. Jack Whitaker brings a special expertise to the residents of Elkin. Although he has been qualified as an osteopathic surgeon, Whitaker recently completed extra training called a fellowship to be an expert in upper extremities.
This means that those suffering from such common ailments as carpal tunnel, arthritis and rotator cuff tears will not need to travel to see a specialist. “People don’t have to travel 45 minutes to stand in a line and become a number,” stated Whitaker. “I’m one of the most approachable people they’ll meet.”
It’s important to Whitaker to treat people well and to be friendly, which is a big reason why he ended up at Tri-County Orthopedic and Sports Medicine. Growing up in Johnson City, Tennessee, Whitaker knew he wanted to remain in the Appalachian area. Although the Hugh Chatham Hospital was impressive in its status and services, it was the people that caused him to choose Elkin.
“I chose to come [to Tri-County Orthopedic and Sports Medicine] because the people were not just good at what they do, but they had good personalities. That was most important to me,” enlightened Whitaker, who also appreciated the small community environment.
Whitaker knew long before he finished medical school at Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine what he wanted his specialty to be. “During training the most exciting thing to do was upper extremities because of the complexity,” explained Whitaker, who decided to enter the field while in the eighth grade.
“We used to go skiing in Banner Elk,” Whitaker said. “I guess I was trying to hot shot, do some extreme tricks, when I broke both my legs.” After surgery and very painful recovery, Whitaker decided he would help others.
The best way to help is to encourage good habits that prevent patients from the need for a visit. “Stay healthy in general,” admonished Whitaker, “with an appropriate diet, exercise and strengthening. Arthritis [one of the most common conditions] is often hereditary. Keep your bones strong and healthy and talk to your family physician.”
Using braces and ergonomically correct equipment when working also helps prevent problems caused by continuous motions.
“The most common injuries are fractures. Kids’ wrists and forearms as well as the elderly. As we get older, our bones become more brittle,” explained Whitaker. “The most common conditions are in the hand and shoulder.”
Those who do need extra care for their upper extremities can stay in town. With Whitaker’s advanced specialty fellowship, he can do the intricate surgeries some require for relief including endoscopic, which requires a much smaller incision and leads to shorter recovery.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.