Category: News

Recover Like a Pro

Athletes can be sidelined for weeks or months due to common sports injuries such as ligament tears or sprains. It might give the impression that exceptional athletes recover from injuries more quickly than the everyday person. The Orthopaedic Center’s Sport Medicine specialists explain what everyday athletes can do to speed up their recovery after an injury or surgery.

The time it takes for elite athletes to recover from injuries is significantly less than the everyday athlete. Dr. John Greco works with all levels of athletes, from the professional athlete to the weekend warrior, and he understands what factors play in their favor.

“The elite athletes are extremely motivated. They are itching to get back to competing in their sport. It’s often their job, so you have to get back to it quickly,” Dr. Greco says. “Often they’re in better shape than the average person, so their muscles have already been pre-trained, which makes a recovery easier.”

While it may be unrealistic to expect the average athlete to recover as quickly, Dr. Cantrell says there are steps anyone can take to help with their recovery. “It is essential that the recovering athlete get proper rest and nutrition. When fatigued, the athlete’s ability to participate in their recovery can suffer. Regarding nutrition, we must give our bodies the proper elements it needs to heal and recover.”

Physical therapy is essential when it comes to getting patients back to their sports. According to Dr. Davis, “we perform the surgery to repair the ligaments and tissues, but physical therapy is just as important in getting patients back to sports as quickly and safely as possible. I tell my patients that their outcome depends on them taking responsibility for their own recovery and attending physical therapy two to three times a week, essentially managing the healing process.”

TOC is honored to have the most comprehensive team of sports medicine doctors in Alabama. Our team consists of seven fellowship-trained sports medicine providers and three providers with a special interest in sports medicine. More than 40 athletic trainers from 24 schools in the North Alabama area work together to provide top-notch care for TOC’s student-athletes.

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Repairing Your Meniscus

Whatever sport you play, your meniscus keeps you in the game.

What is your Meniscus?

A meniscus is a C-shaped of cartilage that is both strong and elastic. Each knee has two, one on the inner and one on the outer side of the knee. The meniscus provides cushioning and stability to the knee joint. A common type of meniscus damage is a torn meniscus. A meniscus tear can occur suddenly or over time. A traumatic meniscal injury can be from a twist of the knee or a sudden stop and are commonly seen in athletes. Wear and tear from a lifetime of use can also cause degenerative tears in adults.
Meniscus tears are a common injury, and TOC’s Sports Medicine specialists have years of expertise delivering the gold standard for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Depending on the nature and extent of the damage, meniscus tear symptoms may vary. Pain, swelling, stiffness, instability, and a catching or locking sensation in the knee are all possible symptoms.

How is a torn meniscus repaired?

To improve patient outcomes, the TOC Sports Medicine team has developed excellent methods for healing and repairing the meniscus. They have the following:

• Innovative surgical techniques that result in faster recovery times.

• Mastering procedures for repairing or transplanting them.

Meniscus tears can be treated at TOC with procedures that are less invasive than in the past, which enables athletes to get back to the sports they enjoy playing faster. “Some treatments can be delivered through minimally invasive procedures and quicker recovery time than before” states Dr. Cantrell.

“Younger athletes have a greater improvement with meniscus repair compared to removal,” says Dr. Davis. Which may also be associated with a lower risk of developing arthritis.

Tears in the meniscus are a common injury among younger athletes, but the sports medicine team at TOC usually has considerable success treating them.

According to Stanton Davis M.D., “in the past, if you tore your meniscus, arthritis was inevitable. With surgery we have reduced this risk. Now, we can fix tears that couldn’t be fixed even five years ago. Techniques to repair or replace a torn meniscus have improved outcomes, returning athletes to play quicker, safer and with better long-term results.”
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is being used in certain meniscus procedures by the doctors at TOC Sports Medicine to speed up the recovery time.

John Greco, M.D. explains, “the use of PRP in surgery helps promote healing because there are new stresses placed on the root repair.”

What if the meniscus can’t be repaired?

If the meniscus is so badly damaged that it cannot be repaired, it may need to be removed.

Meniscus replacement, or meniscus allograft transplantation, is a minimally invasive surgery in which a healthy meniscus is surgically implanted in place of a damaged one. TOC’s Stanton Davis, M.D. has a high success rate with meniscus replacement.

Some people simply aren’t good candidates for meniscal transplants. A meniscal transplant might not help someone who already has knee arthritis. Still, meniscal transplants can be a game-changer for those who qualify.

Overall, there has been significant progress made in the treatment of meniscal injuries. “We’ve been able to help patients who were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to bend their knees in a certain way or have a full range of motion to return to their sports,” explains Michael Cantrell, M.D.

How long does it take to heal from a meniscal surgery?

The healing process following meniscus surgery can take from two to six months. Athletes who have had their injuries repaired at TOC benefit from the clinic’s individualized rehabilitation programs. “TOC Sports Medicine is dedicated to the complete care of sports-related injuries, offering a comprehensive program of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. We’ll get you back in the game” says Dr. Greco.

TOC is pleased to provide its patients with Alabama’s largest group of sports medicine specialists. Seven of our providers have completed a fellowship in sports medicine, and an additional three providers have a keen interest in the field. In the North Alabama region, TOC works with more than 40 athletic trainers to provide treatment for athletes at 24 schools.

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Football Injuries

Football season is in full swing!! A backyard pickup game or a high school football game, football can be a rough sport, that can have potential for serious injuries. TOC- The Orthopaedic Center would like to share some tips on how to prevent spine injuries while you are playing football this season.


Train, Stretch and Warm-up

Playing football is an intense sport and involves the entire body. If you’re not physically prepared, you may suffer a back or neck injury. Strength training will improve your core muscles. Stretching will also increase the flexibility of your muscles and tendons, reducing injuries during practice or games. Also, remember to warm up for 20-30 minutes before any practice or game to ensure your body is prepared for the physical demands of football.

Maintain Your Gear

Football requires a lot of protective gear, including pads. As you prepare to gear up, make sure your gear is in good shape by inspecting your equipment. Inform your coach or the equipment manager if any of your gear is ripped, missing straps, or cracked so it can be replaced. Make sure your helmet fits properly, and the chin strap is positioned properly to prevent neck and head injuries. Always check your helmet for cracks if you take a big hit out on the field. Safety equipment is designed to help prevent serious injuries, so make it a habit to inspect it on a regular basis.

Use the Correct Tackling Technique

Always tackle with your head up and your opponent facing you, and never lead with the top of your helmet. Concussion, whiplash, and even spinal fractures can result from tackling your head down. Because of bad tackles, many players have suffered career-ending and debilitating injuries, so make sure you follow the rules and know how to tackle properly.

Don’t Play with Injuries

Football players are known for their toughness and ability to “play through injuries.” If you are injured, you should see a doctor or a trainer right away. This is especially true for neck and back injuries. A hit to the spine can result in paralysis, so don’t ignore neck or back pain; instead, see a doctor before returning to the field.

At TOC- The Orthopaedic Center, we love treating athletes. Their passion for the game shows in their commitment to their team each week. We admire these players, and we want them to be able to keep playing the game they love for a long time. That’s why we always advocate safety, not just for football players but for all athletes. If you’ve sustained an injury to your neck or back on the football field, schedule an appointment with one of the physicians at TOC. Good luck and be safe this football season!

TOC is pleased to provide its patients with Alabama’s largest group of sports medicine specialists. Seven of our providers have completed a fellowship in sports medicine, and an additional three providers have a keen interest in the field. In the North Alabama region, TOC works with more than 40 athletic trainers to provide treatment for athletes at 24 schools.

Request an Appointment

Dr. Nadella to Begin Seeing Patients in Guntersville

Dr. Saranya Nadella will begin seeing patients at TOC Guntersville, effective August 11, 2022. Dr. Nadella specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. She provides her patients with spinal injection procedures, including:

  • Facet injections
  • Epidurals (cervical, thoracic and lumbar)
  • Sympathetic blocks
  • Discograms
  • Myelograms
  • SI joint injections
  • EMG/nerve conduction studies
  • Botox® injections

About Dr. Nadella

Dr. Nadella completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1998. She practiced psychiatry for 3 ½ years in Florence, AL, and completed her Interventional Spine Fellowship at Alabama Orthopaedic and Spine Center in Birmingham, AL. She is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and in the subspecialties of Pain Medicine and Electro Diagnostic Medicine (EMG/NCS). She is also certified with the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners.

Dr. Nadella will be seeing patients at TOC Guntersville every two weeks, and she will continue her practice at TOC Huntsville. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nadella, you can do so by calling (256) 539-2728 or by clicking below.

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Memorial Day Hours

Soldiers Raising the American FlagIn observance of the Memorial Day holiday, all TOC locations will be CLOSED on Monday, May 30.  The Walk-In Clinic and the Pediatric Injury Clinic will also be closed.  We wish you a safe and peaceful holiday!

Employee Appreciation Day 2022

To ALL of our exceptional employees,

Thank you for your warmth, compassion, and commitment to taking care of our patients! We are so grateful for your dedication to your work and your involvement in Team TOC. We wanted to highlight some employees from all corners of TOC who exemplify the core values of our company: compassion, integrity, purpose, servanthood, stewardship, and teamwork.


Kelley Chance
MA, Rad Tech for
Dr. Patrick Boyett


Kelley has been with TOC for 10 years. She is committed to her team and is a problem solver. She is confident, hardworking, and reliable. “Kelley is an asset to TOC. She is trustworthy and always finishes the job.”
-Shea Whitt

Joan Clark
Medical Records


Joan has been with TOC for 19 ½ years! She has a great personality, good work ethic, and is reliable. She is fun to work with, knowledgeable, and caring. “Joan is a dedicated and loyal employee who likes her job. She has been a good employee for TOC, and she deserves recognition.”
-Karen Whiteley

Shiela Coleman
4th Floor Registration


Shiela has been with TOC for just under 6 months and has already made a huge impact on her team! She never fails to do everything to help any situation, and other employees can vouch that she can always be relied on. “Shiela is a strong addition to our team and a huge benefit to TOC.”
-Bailey Mitchell

Kristi Conner
R/OT MA for Dr. Smith


Kristi has been with TOC for 15 years. You can always depend on her to get the job done. She stands out in her leadership, teamwork, dependability, and enthusiasm for her job. “Kristi is such an asset to our team. She is a great leader that always goes above and beyond. We are not only a team, we are a family.”
-Jeremy Gaertner

Amy Fowler
Call Center Specialist


Amy has been with TOC for 4 years. Her personality and commitment to her job make her a valuable team member. She is always very helpful, a great employee, and is a joy to be around. “She means a lot to all of us in the department. She is very helpful, always willing to help when anything is needed to be done. She is a delight to work with, and very hardworking.”
-Robin Duey

Brian Kimbugwe
DME Lead Fitter


Brian has been with TOC for over 6 years. He goes above and beyond for his patients and the TOC staff. He is very knowledgeable and patient. Everyone says, “I love Brian!” His smile and positive attitude are infectious. “Brian is an integral part of our team. Not only is he very knowledgeable, but he is such a caring, kind, positive person.”
-Brandon Strode

Renee Mann
Physical Therapist Assistant


Renee has been with TOC for 17 ½ years. She is a constant team player and is always willing to do whatever is needed to take care of our patients. She often stays late or works through lunch to get patients in. Renee has an incredible demeanor and attitude and is very professional. “Renee is a leader in the clinic in both professionalism and teamwork. I am thankful for the way that she makes the Huntsville clinic a better place to work by improving the culture.”
-Jeff Keith

Lisa Mitchell
Call Center Specialist


Lisa has been with TOC for 4 years. Her personality and perseverance make her stand out. She is very helpful and always available and willing to listen when needed. She is a team player. “Lisa means a lot to all of us. She is always available, dependable, helpful, dedicated, and willing to do the job that is needed to be done.”
-Robin Duey

Susan Patterson


Susan has been with TOC for 4 years. She is always willing to step up to anything new that’s thrown at her and never without a loss in productivity. She is a wonderful asset to the coding team professionally and personally. “Susan is one of our seasoned clinic coders, and her work is always very dependable. She has a very strong work ethic and is a wonderful asset to TOC.”
-Julie Zuidema

Sharon Sentell
AR Appeals


Sharon has been with TOC for 24 years. She is ALWAYS willing to go the extra mile to go to bat for our providers and make sure claims are processed properly and fairly. She is an excellent teammate and a genuine friend who strives for us all to be successful. She is great at answering questions and is a wonderful mentor. “Sharon is a superstar when it comes to her expertise with the claims appeal process.”
-Julie Zuidema

Tracey Syler
LPN/Team Lead for Dr. Parks


Tracey has been with TOC for 10 years. Tracey will help anyone that asks. She is kind to patients, very dependable, and provides medical assistance for emergencies almost always. She is also generous and a great cook! “Tracey is a leader to not only her team, but for many others at TOC. And she puts up with Dr. Parks and Tom!”
-Kathleen Miller

Jennifer Tompkins
X-Ray Tech


Jennifer has been with TOC for almost 6 years. She is a problem solver and is willing to learn new skills for the benefit of her team. Jennifer is not only awesome to work with, but you can always count on her for a nonjudgmental ear and helpful words. “Jennifer is always willing to help out others, and not just in the radiology department. She is very resourceful and looks at the big picture when solving problems.”
-Marti Roland

Derrick Townsend
MA – Floater


Derrick has been with TOC for 9 months. Everyone loves Derrick! He is kind, hardworking, and always helpful. Teams ask for Derrick regularly and always sing his praises. Many teams have tried to steal Derrick, but he remains a free spirit! “Derrick is dedicated, dependable, very flexible, kind, funny, and an asset to TOC!”
-Kathleen Miller

Desiree Wallace
Athens Registration

Desiree has been with TOC for 6 months. She is a hard worker, and her positive attitude helps her stand out. She is dependable and always willing to help others. “Desiree is an asset to her team. She is a dedicated employee.”
-Shea Whitt