I became an orthopaedic surgeon because...

I had a great deal of orthopaedic experience growing up. I spent more time in the orthopaedist’s office than the pediatrician’s. Each time, he was able to “put” me back together so I could continue my active lifestyle. I had great admiration for his calm demeanor in which he treated not only me, but addressed my parent’s concerns as well. Orthopaedics is a great way to combine my passions of interacting with people of all ages (birth to 100+) and making their life better. Twenty-five years after starting in practice, I can’t think of anything else that I would have preferred to do.

What is the most rewarding part of being an orthopaedic surgeon?

Getting people back doing what they want to do. Easing their pain. Orthopaedic surgeons are the physicians that deal with improving quality of life. Someone who can’t walk across the street because of severe hip arthritis has a new lease on life after their hip replacement. For many patients, they don’t need surgery, but an orthopaedic surgeon who can diagnose their condition and set up the correct rehabilitation program. Counseling patients about transitioning their activities because of an orthopaedic condition is rewarding. It may be time to give up running due to hip, knee or ankle problems, but helping them transition to biking, swimming or rowing so they can stay active and not need surgery makes you feel good at the end of the day. After 23 years in private practice, I spend most of my time administratively, but provide care to those who are the most neediest: those without insurance and the Medicaid population though Norwalk Hospital’s weekly orthopaedic specialty clinic. These people really need care and otherwise wouldn’t have access without the clinic. There is nothing better than having a patient walk out of an exam room and thanking you for making their life better.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Being active is important. I live by the motto, work hard and play hard. I’ve played most sports over my life. I’ve run 3 marathons, and played competitive tennis. Now I keep active by snow skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, biking, kayaking and occasionally playing golf. Most of these are activities I do with my family. Family time is very important. I don’t take it for granted.

In what volunteer activities or efforts do you engage that mean the most to you and those you serve?

As a physician, you have the ability to be a leader in your community. For 25 years, I’ve been on the sidelines for Weston High School football. I have an expertise that allows me to make sure that if athletes are injured in a game, they will get the sideline care they deserve. I’ve helped set up a girls softball league and made sure that appropriate first aid kits were available for each team.

Ortho-pinions by Dr. Michael Marks

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