Dr. Atkinson grew up in Hollywood, Florida. He graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale. Attending Harvard University on an academic scholarship, he graduated cum laude. During his tenure he also played varsity baseball and was elected captain of Harvard's freshman football team.
As a student at Yale Medical School, he served as the President of the Student Council before beginning his orthopedic residency at Duke University. While at Duke, Todd scored in the 90th percentile on nationwide orthopedic exams and wrote many peer-reviewed articles. He also served as team physician to the Duke basketball and football teams.
Following residency, Todd was selected to be the 2004-2005 Intercontinental Shoulder Fellow. He spent six months at Massachusetts General Hospital with Dr. JP Warner and then six months at the University of Zurich with Dr. Christian Gerber. During this year, Dr. Atkinson trained with perhaps the most well known and well respected shoulder surgeons in the world.
Dr. Atkinson treats patients with other upper and lower extremity problems, as well. Along with Dr. Abbott Kagan, he has served as local team physician for the Boston Red Sox and also for Bishop Verot High School. Dr. Atkinson has been with A. Kagan & T. Atkinson Orthopedics and Sports Medicine since 2004 and is Board Certified in Orthopedic Surgery.
John Griffith started lifting weights in high school. He has played shortstop for 18 years. As captain of the Sanibel Fire Department, he lifts ladders, hoses and patients. Then, at age 40, his shoulder hurt.
"There was no specific day, but I tore my rotator cuff," John says. "My shoulder saw a lot of use for a long time, throwing that softball from third base to first. I tolerated it, wrote it off to arthritis, but then I couldn't sleep."
John went to see orthopedic surgeon Todd Atkinson, M.D. John told Mr. Atkinson how it hurt to pick up a gallon of water and how he felt his shoulder aching when he was jogging on the treadmill. On Jan. 4, John underwent surgery to repair his rotator cuff - the network of four muscles and tendons forming a cover around the top of the upper arm bone.
"Typically with younger patients, I recommend repair as soon as possible," says Dr. Atkinson, who specializes in shoulder pain. "Tears can get bigger over time. Bigger tears are harder to fix. If you wait too long, your tendons and muscles will grow stiff and atrophy, making surgery more difficult."
If a patient's shoulder pain does not interfere with their quality of life, Dr. Atkinson pursues conservative, non-operative treatments, such as physical therapy. But all too often, Dr. Atkinson sees patients who can't lift their arm above their head, patients who say, "Doc, I think I tore my rotator cuff three years ago, but I've been too busy to have anything done. Can you fix it for me now?"
"It's much easier to prevent stiffness than to get rid of stiffness," Dr. Atkinson says. And John agrees. Though he's raking leaves and wrestling with two sons, he believes he could have saved himself a lot of pain if he would have gone to the doctor sooner.