SPOTLIGHT: Dr. Kathy Vidlock

Dr. Kathy Vidlock is a local orthopedic physician. Her clinical interests include non-operative sports injuries, concussion management, ultrasound for diagnostic purposes and injections and athletes with asthma, fatigue and other medical conditions. She enjoys helping athletes of all levels, competitive or recreational, get back to their activities.

1) How did you end up in Colorado, and what do you most like about our state?

I am from Minnesota and have loved Colorado since I came here for a chemistry conference in college.  My husband and I always talked about moving here and finally decided we only had one life and we should live in a place we love so we moved here in 2013.   One of my favorite activities is to just run trails for hours immersed in the beauty.

2) What drove you to become a physician and why did you choose to practice in orthopedics?

I have always enjoyed sports medicine.  When my teammates got hurt in high school I would look up their injuries in our encyclopedia to find out more.  For a while I though I would be an organic chemist, but I realized working in a college lab wasn’t where I wanted to be.

3) What are your hobbies, recreational activities or sports? 

I grew up swimming competitively in high school and college.  I still swim on a masters team and in open water swims and although I am a much better swimmer than runner, I adore running.

4) Do you have a family? 

My husband and best friend is Brad who is an environmental engineer.  I have a son in college at Mines, a daughter in high school and a daughter in junior high.

5) What is your favorite population of patients you treat and why?

I enjoy seeing people of all abilities who want to remain active in some way.  I find great satisfaction in hearing the stories of my patients winning a race, hiking without pain, being fit enough to stop their diabetes meds and other goals.   I have treated professional athletes and people who are simply walking to lose weight and I would like to help each one get to the level they desire.

An area that has become a niche is our bone health clinic.  Osteoporosis is underdiagnosed and undertreated and we have made it a goal to optimize our patients bone health so they avoid fractures and have better surgical outcomes.

6) What is your current philosophy of the following:

       – how do you wrap physical therapy into your treatment plan? (before and/or after)

With many sports injuries, physical therapy is crucial to recovery.  I tend to use it pretty quickly in the course of recovery and when needed have patients continue to refresh their home exercise program.

       – do you think physical therapy should occur prior to surgical intervention? (do you have patient success stories or examples) 

Depending on the injury, physical therapy can be very helpful before surgery.  Some injuries may do well with physical therapy alone.  Even when surgery is planned, physical therapy may be helpful.  An example is an ACL tear.  A patient who gets some therapy and has better range of motion and strength prior to their surgery will have a better outcome.

       – do you recommend maintenance of care throughout the cycle of an injury (or recurrent episodes) to your patients; 

If a patient has a chronic injury, for example tennis elbow or low back pain, I often recommend maintenance of their home exercise program.

What are your “go to” interventions and why? 

One of the interventions I find extremely useful is musculoskeletal ultrasound.  Using it in the office I have the ability to watch tendon, muscles and nerves as a patient moves.  This can pick up injuries an MRI can miss, such as a snapping hip, nerve entrapment, shoulder impingement.  There are many newer procedures done under ultrasound guidance that can allow a patient to avoid surgery.  Examples are percutaneous tenotomy (roughing up a tendon with a needle to encourage growth factors to work) needle release of carpal tunnel, nerve, tendon or joint injections.  There are more and more studies showing injections of biologics  (PRP, Stem cells etc) may be quite helpful in certain conditions and I suspect we will see more use and better coverage of these types of injections in the future.

Additional information:

We post tips and information on our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoOrtho/

My clinic website including our blog is http://www.orthotree.com/

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