Athens Orthopedic Clinic

Hand, Wrist & Elbow

The AOC Hand and Upper Extremity Center was established in 2008 by Dr. Michael Shuler when he joined Athens Orthopedic Clinic. The AOC Hand and Upper Extremity Center was established to insure coordinated and exceptional care for both acute injuries and chronic conditions. The center provides a complete unified team approach to upper extremity ailments including board certified and fellowship trained hand and upper extremity surgeons along with certified hand therapists. Initial management commences either in the AOC Urgent Care (open 7 days a week) or in one of our specialty hand and upper extremity clinics where patients with immediate needs are addressed and a definitive care plan is established. If Surgery is required with acute injuries, operative management is often performed within the same day or two in order to prevent complications associated with delayed treatment.

Hand and upper extremity injuries and ailments can be very complicated based on the complex anatomy of the upper extremity. Additionally, stiffness is a major risk associated with upper extremity injuries. The clinicians at the AOC Hand and Upper Extremity Center work closely with the six certified hand therapists at AOC to provide the most balanced care that maximizes motion while limiting risk to injured structures. The difference in a good and a bad outcome relies not only on expert surgical care but also on the skilled and specialized therapy after surgery. AOC employs six out of the 70 certified hand therapists in the entire state of Georgia who monitor your progress and keep our clinicians up to date with any concerns or needs during the recovery phase. Without experienced and qualified hand therapy, even the best care can result in subpar outcomes.

The Hand and Upper Extremity Team consists of founder Dr. Michael Shuler and his certified physician assistant (PA-C) Karl Kline, PA-C who joined Dr. Shuler at AOC in 2009. Dr. Shuler was joined by Dr. David Katz in 2011 as the second fellowship trained hand surgeon. Most recently Paul Schofield, PA-C has been added to the team as Dr. Katz’s PA. Dr. Shuler is based out of Athens with Dr. Katz splitting time between Athens and the Loganville and Snellville areas. Additionally AOC provides certified hand therapy in the Loganville area. The team of experts in upper extremity offer daily availability for urgent injuries to be both seen and potentially managed operatively if required. Together the team at the AOC Hand and Upper Extremity Center strive to provide you with complete, cohesive, timely and expert care that is unmatched in Northeast Georgia.

At AOC we strive to provide the best and most up to date care possible. With fellowship trained and subspecialized surgeons, you will receive care provided by experts in the specific field of your condition. Many of our clinicians are leading the way in cutting edge research and technologies in order to provide you with the most up to date and minimally invasive procedures to meet your specific needs. This dedication to your needs includes providing specialized therapy such as certified hand therapists, spine therapy, aquatic therapy and physical therapy. Additionally we can assist in the transition from therapy to return to sports through the state of the art Sports Performance and Rehabilitation Center (SPARC) where you have access to world class training to make sure your mechanics and techniques are not only correct but safe. The goal of SPARC and its specialized team is to get you back to your pre-injury or desired level of activity as fast as possible while preventing injuries in the future. Lastly, as the official orthopedic consultants for the University of Georgia, trust the specialized care for all your needs just like the Bulldogs do.

Specific conditions we offer expertise in are:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Cubital Tunnel Syndrome(Minimally invasive endoscopic releases)

Trigger Fingers & DeQuervain’s synovitis (Tendonitis)

Ganglion cysts (cysts, masses bumps of the upper extremity)

Elbow, forearm, wrist, hand and finger fractures (distal radius fractures, scaphoid, carpal, metacarpal, phalanx fractures / breaks / dislocations)

Ligament tears and dislocations (gamekeepers tears, scapholunate ligament tears)

Tendon, nerve and vessel injuries/lacerations (flexor tendon / extensor tendon lacerations and repairs, mallet & jersey fingers)

Hand and thumb arthritis (Minimally invasive CMC arthroplasties)

Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex (TFCC) tears (arthroscopic repairs and debridement)

Dupuytren’s Contractures (Xiaflex injections for non-surgical management)

Hand & upper extremity sports injuries as well as workman’s comp injuries.