January 2019

Hip Check: Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Chad T. Zehms: from the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field to the rolling fairways of Hilton Head Island

Author: Barry Kaufman

There is a world of difference between Green Bay, Wisconsin and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Especially this time of year. There is, however, one place where the two may as well be one and the same.

“I live in Sea Pines now, and we discovered Jump ’n’ Phil’s fairly quickly,” said Dr. Chad T. Zehms, a recent transplant from the land of the cheeseheads. “We go in there for Packer games, and I feel like I’m back in Green Bay.”

Back in his native Wisconsin, Zehms utilized his extensive career in orthopedic surgery as a trauma specialist for the Green Bay Packers. Drawn south by the warmer climes of coastal Carolina and his family, he continues that world-class care as part of Optim Orthopedics, treating patients at Optim’s new South Carolina locations in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island.

The same expertise he brought to bear up north as a board certified, fellowship-trained surgeon specializing in orthopedic sports medicine surgery for musculoskeletal injuries, he now brings to South Carolina. And while the sports may have changed, the impact on the body hasn’t.

“The types of injuries I see, interestingly enough, are actually the same. It’s just the athlete that’s different,” he said. “I’m still seeing ACL tears, rotator cuff tears and meniscus tears in the knee. They’re just a result of playing golf and tennis rather than football or soccer.”

Another thing he brings to this area is something that’s been sorely lacking: in-depth knowledge of hip arthroscopy and anterior hip replacement.

“Currently, there’s no one offering direct anterior hip replacement or hip arthroscopy on Hilton Head Island,” he said. “This is a very specialized and improved way of treating injuries and arthritis of the hip. People are heading to Savannah or Charleston to get that done. Patients are very savvy, and they’re reading about the anterior hip approach and are intrigued by its success. So, they seek out providers doing that procedure. Now they have an option right here on the island.”

Offering a quicker healing and recovery time and less post-operative pain, anterior hip replacement is quickly becoming one of the most popular choices for patients seeking relief. And it’s just one of the services in which Zehms excels, including arthroscopic ACL reconstruction, meniscus repair and transplantation; arthroscopic rotator cuff repair; sports arthroscopy of the hip, shoulder, knee, elbow and ankle; cartilage restoration and replacement; and advanced trauma/fracture repair. For an island dominated by scratch golfers and tennis aces, it’s a suite of services that definitely fills a need.

“One thing I’ve been very surprised by is how in shape everyone I’ve been taking care of down here is,” Zehms said. “I have 75-year-old tennis athletes come in who are in better shape than I am. It’s good living down here.”
You don’t need to tell Dr. Zehms that. A long-time visitor, he’d been itching for an excuse to move his practice to sunny South Carolina when opportunity presented itself in the form of Optim Orthopedics.

“We were at the Heritage three years ago, and I remember saying I’d give my right arm to come work down here,” he said. “It really was the perfect opportunity.”

Learn more about Dr. Zehms at www.optimhealth.com.

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