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Accurately Diagnosing Knee Pain


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Besides back pain, knee pain is one of the most common issues that most athletes face. It can come out of nowhere, and be excruciating, and many times will need a qualified Arizona orthopedic surgeon to determine the root cause. Because the knee is such a crucial joint in the body, taking on a lot of pressure and use every single day, it’s imperative that you get the proper diagnosis directed at the exact cause of the pain, and implement the best treatment options, even it that means orthopedic surgery.

Common Knee Problems

Accurately diagnosing knee problems can literally mean the difference between a lifetime of pain and suffering, and a lifetime of activities and comfort. It takes a skilled, experience Arizona orthopedic surgeon to determine the issue behind the pain – the true source of what is causing all of the suffering. Dr. Martin, a highly recognized Arizona orthopedic surgeon, is just the man for the job.

As team doctor for the Arizona Rattlers, Dr. Martin understands knee pain like few other orthopedic surgeons in Arizona. In his opinion, some of the most common issues behind knee pain are the following:

  • Dislocated Kneecap – though most often suffered by Arizona athletes, a dislocated kneecap can be excruciatingly painful, and if not diagnosed properly can lead to a lifetime of knee problems. This type of  injury is fairly easy to diagnose, however proper treatment of the exact type of dislocation by an experienced Arizona orthopedic surgeon will keep your knee fresh for many years to come.
  • Torn Ligaments – the knee consists of three main ligaments that hold everything together. The three ligaments that are quite commonly injured by athletes are the Medial Collateral Ligament, Anterior Cruciate Ligament and the Posterior Cruciate Ligament. All three can be stretched, sprain and torn. The proper diagnosis by an experienced Arizona orthopedic surgeon is paramount.
  • Cartilage Injuries – cartilage tears are quite common in both athletes and weekend warriors. The meniscus is made of cartilage and function to distribute body weight across the joints. A meniscus tear is commonly cause by trauma to the area, or from degeneration. It’s an injury suffered by all ages, and in order to accurately treat whether it’s a tear or arthritis, it’s important to sit down with an Arizona orthopedic surgeon.
  • Bursitis – If you kneel for work, are a carpenter, landscaper or gardener, this injury is quite common to your industry. This type of injury is caused by frequent pressure, force trauma, or a bacterial infection.

Of course, there’s always breaks and sprains that are associated with the knee, as well as inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis) and many other conditions associated with knee pain. This intricate and important part of the body has many functions and many facets, so it’s important that if you’re feeling knee pain you contact Arizona’s best orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Shelden Martin, today.

What is the Recovery Time for a Torn ACL?

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With the NBA playoffs in full swing, many in the Arizona sports medicine world are wondering where Derrick Rose is. Why isn’t Derrick Rose back on the court yet? How bad was his ACL injury, and what is taking his ACL surgery recovery so long? In sports medicine, one of our main focuses in Arizona is prevention, however treatment and recovery are also a large part of what we do. And in the recovery phase, it’s most often the patient’s body that dictates the length of time.

Derrick Rose and ACL Surgery

In April of 2012, Derrick Rose, a Chicago Bulls strong forward with amazing skills that led him to a Most Valuable Player award, tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and underwent surgery. Surgery went as planned, physical therapy ensued and his sports medicine doctors cleared him to play. So, why isn’t he playing?

Rose told ESPN that “he didn’t have the muscle memory and was still thinking instead of reacting.” Could it be that, although his physicians have cleared him to play, his muscles are not ready? Just this week, the Chicago Bulls lost their final game in the NBA Playoffs, and many fans are left to question if the return of Rose could have prevented this playoff elimination.

Torn ACL Surgery Recovery Time

Speaking as an Arizona orthopedic surgeon, a torn anterior cruciate ligament is a common sports injury occurring within the knee quite often from a sudden stop or change in direction. The torn ACL will immediately swell, feel unstable and become awfully painful. Many times you’ll see NBA players fall to the floor in agony after suffering a torn ACL.

Depending on the severity of the torn ACL, the Arizona athlete could require invasive treatment, surgery, physical therapy, and can expect a long recovery. It is expected that nearly 200,000 people will suffer from an ACL injury in 2013 alone.

Orthopedic surgery on a torn ACL in Arizona could mean a tendon graft to replace the torn pieces of tendon. New techniques such as anteromedial drilling can replace torn tendon in a far more efficient manner, allowing the knee to move more naturally and thus limiting the risks for a torn ACL in the future.

Arizona rehabilitation and physical therapy will include range-of-motion exercises and muscle-strengthening and stability exercises. After an Arizona orthopedic surgeon attaches the ligaments and tendons, you can expect a 4 to 6 month recovery time.

So why isn’t Derrick Rose back in the game? As an Arizona orthopedic surgeon, I see many reasons why Rose has not made it back onto the court, many of which are due to continued physical ailments. While many fans see Rose’s refusal to hit the court a mental thing fueled by fear, however as an Arizona orthopedic surgeon we know that a variety of physical ailments might still be plaguing him.

After ACL surgery, problems related to the affected area can still occur, including limited range of motion, numbness and pain, grating of the kneecap, muscle loss, muscle stiffness, and a higher risk for repeat ACL tear. In the case of a professional NBA player, this physical ailments, though they might not affect a non-athlete, can greatly affect things like Rose’s shot, his ability to move on the court, his rebound abilities, even his reaction time.

As an Arizona orthopedic surgeon who has surgically treated many ACL tears, it’s understandable that Rose did not make it back onto the court. With so many factors playing into his decision, it’s time to respect his choice.

Floyd Mayweather’s Injured Hand – Dr. Martin’s Comments

mayweather hand injury

Did you happen to catch the ‘Money’ Mayweather vs ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero fight over the weekend? If so, you might have noticed how the fight stalled a bit towards the final rounds – many blaming Mayweather for watching the clock and protecting his obvious victory. But others, particularly those in the Phoenix orthopedic surgery industry, noticed a holding back from Mayweather, indicating a possible injury sustained in the prize fight. And if you’ve kept an eye on boxing news today, you’ll notice that Mayweather did indeed sustain a hand injury sometime during the middle rounds. 

As an Arizona orthopedic surgeon, it wasn’t difficult to ascertain the extent of the injury based on the final rounds of the fight, but let’s dive into hand injuries that boxer’s most often endure, and how the injury might affect Mayweather’s September fight.

Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather’s Hand Injury

Floyd Mayweather is a beast of a fighter. With a record of 44-0, this young man has successfully established himself as one of the best, holding titles in five weight classes. And while his fight over the weekend may not have been one of the most exciting or entertaining for any orthopedic surgeons watching, it was a lesson in boxing that many found compelling. And, later in the evening, when we found out that Mayweather was boxing with an injured right hand, it became even more apparent how remarkable this boxer is.

According to Bryan Armen Graham of Sports Illustrated, Money said that he hurt his hand somewhere in the middle stages of the fight and felt the injury is what prevented the undefeated champion from knocking Guerrero out.

After a visit to the hospital after the fight, Mayweather’s camp is telling the press that his hand is fine, no factures, simply soreness, dispelling fears regarding Mayweather’s September fight. From a Phoenix orthopedic surgeon’s perspective, the injury is most likely soft tissue contusion from multiple traumatic impacts. Something that you might expect after a boxing match that lasted as long as this one did.

Dr. Martin, Phoenix’s best orthopedic surgeon, suggests simple symptomatic treatment including rest, ice, NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and progressive return to boxing as symptoms allow.

While the extent of the injury is still unknown, as an Arizona orthopedic surgeon I can tell you the most common boxing injuries and what Mayweather could possibly be facing.

Common Boxing Hand Injuries

Boxing wreaks havoc on the body, from the spine to the knees to the neck, head, arms, shoulders, elbows, and hands. In this instance, where Mayweather experienced ‘soreness’ during and after the recent fight, we’re taking a look at common boxing hand injuries that can cause pain such as Mayweather’s, many of which Phoenix orthopedic surgeons see quite often.

Boxer’s Fracture – A Boxer’s Fracture occurs when the clenched fist is collided with a skull or hard, immovable surface. The great impact results in compression of the knuckles, which snaps the metacarpal bone. This fracture can lead to orthopedic surgery to realign the fractured metacarpal bone, casting, and rehab. In the mildest cases of Boxer’s Fracture, recovery time can be up to 3 months.

Boxer’s Knuckle – This is an injury to the prominent metacarpophalangeal joints of the hand, also known as the knuckles. Because the knuckles are highly vulnerable, this is a quite comment injury and as an Arizona orthopedic surgeon it is something that I’ve often treated. 

Finger Fractures – These types of fractures are also very common among boxers, especially those just starting out because they most often occur when a punch lands wrong. This type of injury could require treatment from an Arizona orthopedic surgeon, as well as physical therapy.

Bruising and Sprains – Boxing bruises and sprains are also very common, but as an Arizona orthopedic surgeon I have seen these simple injuries become something far worse if not treated properly. While these injuries are not considered emergencies, they can lead to a fracture or major break if left untreated.


As Dr. Shelden Martin always promotes – prevention is truly the best medicine for boxing injuries, or any injuries related to the hand, for that matter. Hand injuries can interrupt every single aspect of your life, and as an Arizona orthopedic surgeon who has operated on many hand fractures and hand injuries, Dr. Martin suggests treating any hand injury immediately. From the smallest scrap to the most painful fracture, seeking proper treatment immediately will reduce recovery time and get you back into the ring, or on the playing field, must faster.

Call today for an appointment with the best orthopedic surgeon in Arizona! 480.685.2850

Arizona Orthopedic Surgeon’s Take On Kobe Bryant’s Achilles Tendon Rupture

achilles xray

If you watch basketball, or perhaps like to tune in to ESPN during your afternoon workouts, you’ve not doubt heard about Kobe Bryant’s Achilles injury. While it might not be big news in your household, sports enthusiasts all across Arizona are weighing in on Bryant’s future in basketball, his teams’ future without him, and what it’s going to take to heel a torn Achilles tendon. It’s a good thing that we have Dr. Shelden Martin, Arizona Rattlers Team Doctor, to clear some things up for us!

According to Dr. Martin, Achilles tendon ruptures are commonly seen in older athletes, most notably over 30 years of age and weekend warriors. Kobe Bryant is definitely not a weekend warrior, although he does cross the age threshold at 34 years old.

Eccentric Contraction 

In clinical terms, the mechanism of Bryant’s injury is an eccentric contraction, where the ankle and knee are bent so the gastrocnemius and Achilles tendon are maximally stretched and then forced to lengthen resulting in the rupture of the tendon. If you happened to catch the Lakers vs Warriors game back on April 5th you might have seen Bryant crumble to the floor after making a move to the basket. It was in this moment that you can see the Achilles tendon stretched in the seconds before he hit the ground.

Achilles Tendon Rupture Treatment 

Initially after the injury, Kobe Bryant received nearly immediate surgery to repair the torn tendon. According to Dr. Martin, who has seen this injury many times treating Arizona weekend warriors, treatment options for such Achilles damage can range from non-operative to surgical repair to reconstruction using patients own donor tendon grafts to cadaveric grafts to biological graft substitutes to “bridge the gap” and reinforce the repair when the injury is chronic and long standing. As you can see, there are a variety of options for Achilles tendon rupture, many of them non-operative in the cases of our weekend warriors. 

Surgical repair is usually recommended for the more active individuals, especially high-level athletes such as Kobe Bryant, says Dr. Martin.

And, in Bryant’s case, depending on the location of the tear, surgery would have involved an orthopedic surgeon sewing the two ends of the tendon together with high tensile permanent sutures or reinserting into the calcaneious bone tendinous insertion site using various techniques, usually suture anchors or sewing the tendons through bone tunnels.

For the most innovative techniques, Dr. Martin says that biologic stimulants have more recently been used to augment repairs and aid in healing in hopes of stimulating faster and more complete healing with the hope of promoting a faster, more complete and reliable return to the sport, especially for high-demand athletes like Bryant.


Dr. Martin goes on to say that in instances like Kobe Bryant’s injury, recover time no matter what the procedure or treatment method typically requires six to nine months and involves extensive physical therapy. 

However, with that said it is not impossible for Bryant to return sooner than that, although it is highly unlikely. Whether or not he returns before six to nine months, he will return. Many high-profile professional athletes like Bryant who have ad similar injuries have returned, Dr. Martin points out.

For example, Elton Brand, Dominique Wilkins and Chauncy Billups are just a few professional athletes who ruptured their Achilles tendon and returned successfully the sport they love.

Athletes and Joint Pains: Is It Something You Have to Learn to Live With?

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Aches and pains are a normal part of life, especially if you are an athlete – but at what point does it cross over from being a normal pain to pain from an injury? Accord to the leading Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon, many athletes push through injuries because they think it’s the name of the game, but by doing so they put themselves at high risk of chronic or worsening conditions. Learn about injuries you may be experiencing as an athlete that are causing you joint pain.

Types of Joint Injuries that Cause Pain

Achilles Tendonitis

This condition occurs when the tendon that runs along the back of your leg, at your ankle, and right above your heel, becomes swollen or stretched. Achilles tendonitis is common with athletes due to overuse and abuse.

Torn ACL

An injury to your ACL is painful and can be very serious if not treated. The anterior cruciate ligament inside your knee joint is most commonly damaged during sports activities which involve suddenly stopping and constant changes in direction – this is why soccer players, basketball players, and volleyball players experience this injury more than other athletes.


A sprain is a type of injury in your joint when the ligament has been pushed beyond its limits. Sprains are most common at the wrists and ankles in athletes.


Fractures are breaks in your bones ranging in seriousness and type. A fracture can put major stress on the joints since the bone is no longer able to do its part in support the weight of your body.


This condition is the inflammation of the bursa due to irritation or trauma. The bursa is located between the tissues and its purpose it to reduce rubbing and friction of the bones, muscle, tendons, and skin. When this sac is damaged, it fails to reduce the irritation of tendons and creates pain in the inflicted area.

What to Do Right Away If Injury is Suspected

If you suspect injury due to a sudden onset of pain related to an impact, fall, or other trauma event to your body – or if you have pain that has been building gradually with time, certain steps may help your odds of a full recovery. Before you are able to seek medical help, stabilize the area you are experiencing the pain in and alternate between icing and using a heating pad to reduce inflammation and pain.

OTC pain medications like Ibuprofen are designed to reduce inflammation and can ease swelling. Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Martin and OrthoArizona provide sports medicine to many Phoenix athletes and can advise you on a treatment plan for the quickest, least invasive healing to get you back on the field after a full recovery. 

What the Leading Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon Wants You to Know About Sports Injuries

arizona sports medicine phoenix

A sports injury is a type of injury which occurs during the course of playing or practicing for a sporting event. Athletic injuries range in severity but very often they require treatment for a full recovery. The leading Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon wants you to know how to handle athletic injuries so you can avoid long term damage to your body. Read on to learn the essential information about sports injuries.

Most Common Types of Sports Injuries

Knowing what to expect as an athlete will help you recognized when you have been injured. Check out the most common types of sports related injuries.


A concussion happens as a result of a violent blow or shock to the head. Concussions are common in athletes who participate in contact sports, but can also occur in non-contact sports as a result of a fall or trip. Most of the time concussions are minor but can be deadly, especially if they are left untreated and the player continues to compete.


Sprains happen when a ligament has been stretched beyond its capacity. The most common sprains happen at the wrists and ankles.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee is somewhat of a blanket term used to describe pain in the knee area from years of running. The pain is usually caused from wearing of cartilage around the knee cap as well as worn tendons.

Achilles Tendinitis

Achilles Tendonitis is the cause of pain in the heel. This type of injury happens when the tendon just above the heel becomes swollen or irritation from overuse.

Shin Splints

When you have acute pain in the shin or lower leg from prolonged running, you have what is known as shin splints.

What to Do After an Injury

Athletes are some of the most difficult patients to treat since they have a drive to compete and push through injury, but this only makes things worse. If injury is suspected, immediate treatment will greatly reduce your healing time, chance of reoccurrence, pain, and will get you back on the field much quicker. Continuing to overwork an injured part of your body will lead to long term damage that will require more drastic measures to treat. Head and neck injuries are the most serious and should be addressed right away. Joint injuries are usually slow coming and should be treated at the first sign of pain and distress. Younger athletes should always be under the supervision of a qualified coach or trainer who is trained in recognizing the signs of sports injuries and should seek the help of a Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon at the first sign of injury.

Kevin Ware and Tibia Shaft Fractures – View From a Phoenix Orthopedic Surgeon

If you saw it live, you’ll never forget it. If you caught the horrific sports injury on Youtube afterwards, you’re probably still feeling the ill effects in the pit of your stomach. Kevin Ware’s gruesome sports injury during last Sunday’s Regional Final was one of the worst in basketball history, bringing not only fans to tears but players and coaches as well. This is not the type of sports injury that is often seen in Phoenix, or anywhere else for that matter, which is why it’s so important to discuss how and why this happened. After seeing the video, many Phoenix athletes are understandably nervous about getting back out there on the court.

The Sports Injury

During Louisville’s Regional Final basketball game, Kevin Ware went up to contest a 3-point shot. It was a routine defensive action taken by players hundreds of times during these games, and yet there was nothing routine about what happened. As Ware came down from his leap, he landed on one foot, which locked his knee. When his knee locked, the natural shock absorption that our bodies are made to process completely disappeared. The pressure on his tibia was too much, and it literally snapped beneath him.

Studies have shown that it takes 900 to 1,000 pounds of pressure to break a human bone. With that said, it’s amazing to imagine just how intense Ware’s leap was, and how forceful his landing was to cause such an injury.

Ware told the media that when he leapt in the air to contest the shot, he didn’t know where he was on the floor, or worse yet, where the floor was as associated with his landing. Therefore his body was not prepared for the shock.

The open, or compound, fracture broke through the skin, exposing roughly 3 to 4 inches of tibia. Thankfully, Ware told the media that he did not feel any pain, an amazing and wonderful thing.

Tibia Shaft Fracture

Medically speaking, a tibia shaft fracture is not uncommon in Phoenix orthopedics. As a sports orthopedic surgeon, I’ve seen these fractures quite a few times, however in different circumstances. In reality, the tibia shaft fracture is one of the most common long bone fractures, but is more often seen in motorcycle accidents, snowmobile or car accidents, as well as extreme sports injuries. It is rare to see this type of sports injury on the basketball court.

In Ware’s case, where his body underwent extreme trauma, Dr. Walter Virkus, director of orthopedic trauma at Methodist Hospital where Ware underwent immediate surgery, it could take anywhere from three to ten months for a full recovery. With an elite athlete like Ware, his body may recover quicker.

If you’re a bit anxious about getting back on that Phoenix court or field, call Dr. Martin. If you’ve had shin splints in the past, give us a call. Our best medicine is preventative.


If you caught the horrific sports injury on Youtube afterwards, you’re probably still feeling the ill effects in the pit of your stomach.

During Louisville’s Regional Final basketball game, Kevin Ware went up to contest a 3-point shot.

With that said, it’s amazing to imagine just how intense Ware’s leap was, and how forceful his landing was to cause such an injury.

Medically speaking, a tibia shaft fracture is not uncommon in Phoenix orthopedics. As a sports orthopedic surgeon, I’ve seen these fractures quite a few times, however in different circumstances. In reality, the tibia shaft fracture is one of the most common long bone fractures, but is more often seen in motorcycle accidents, snowmobile or car accidents, as well as extreme sports injuries.

With an elite athlete like Ware, his body may recover quicker.


Who Can See A Sports Medicine Specialist?

sports medicine phoenix az

What is sports medicine? How is it really any different than any other kind of medicine? If I’m not an athlete, can I still see a sports medicine specialist in Phoenix?

Dr. Shelden Martin at OrthoArizona in Phoenix seems to hear these types of questions quite often, and it’s understandable. Sports medicine is a specialty that can be confusing to some simply because of one keyword: sports. In Arizona, Dr. Martin treats patients will all kinds of injuries, both sports-related and unrelated to sports altogether. But for the purpose of medical certifications and training, sports medicine and orthopedic surgery is his specialty.

Sports medicine is “the study and practice of medical principles related to the science of sports, particularly in the areas of sports injury diagnosis and treatment, sports injury prevention, sports training and athletic performance including exercises and workouts, sports nutrition and sports psychology,” according to

As the Team Doctor for the Arizona Rattlers, as well as an award-winning Phoenix orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Martin focuses on all medical, therapeutic, even psychological aspects of sports and physical activity. So, if you’re not an athlete but you do participate at the gym, perhaps you embark upon some running or maybe you play tennis once in a while, Dr. Martin can help you out with injuries and prevention of injuries.

Because Dr. Martin is a specialist, he received special, additional training after his medical school training at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. Dr. Martin underwent a General Surgery Internship at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago, and then through Residency in Orthopedic Surgery at that same school.

However, in addition to his specialty and expert knowledge in orthopedic sugary, Dr. Martin pursued furthering his career specifically in sports medicine, which brought him to Charlotte, NC, and a Fellowship in Sports Medicine and Should, Elbow Surgery.

Dr. Martin’s Goal in Phoenix

While many Phoenix residents can easily become confused with the term “sports medicine,” assuming that Dr. Martin deals with athletes only, his goal here in Arizona is to help everyone, from professional athletes like those at the Arizona Rattlers, to weekend warriors and busy moms prevent injuries and optimize a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. If an injury does occur, whether from a hit on the football field during a professional game, or a twisted ankle from running errands, Dr. Martin’s sport medicine background means that you receive the best care in Phoenix with laser focus on a complete and quick recovery. It also means that if you do play sports, Dr. Martin can get you back into the game with little to no loss of performance.

Call Dr. Shelden Martin today for more information on his orthopedic surgery background, and his sport medicine background.

Dr. Shelden Martin

Arizona Orthopaedic Associates
2905 W. Warner Road Suite 23
Chandler, AZ 85224

P: 480.685.2850
F: 480.685.2860

Dr. Shelden Martin Joins Arizona Rattlers as Team Physician

OrthoArizona Physician, Dr. Shelden Martin Joins Arizona Rattlers as Team Physician

CHANDLER, ARIZ. (January 6th, 2013) – OrthoArizona is pleased to announce sports medicine and shoulder, elbow specialist, Dr. Shelden Martin, as the official 2013 Head Team Physician for the Arizona Rattlers. Dr. Martin will serve as the team’s head orthopedic surgeon and will be assigned to oversee the medical team that provides orthopedic and medical care for the Rattlers’ athletes and coaches.

Dr. Martin is a full-time orthopedic surgeon with Arizona Orthopaedic Associates, a division of OrthoArizona, specializing in sports medicine, and shoulder elbow surgery. He will be joining the Rattler’s staff this year with the season’s kick-off on March 1st, 2013. Dr. Martin has experience working with many professional, collegiate and high school athletic teams including the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights, Joe Gibbs Racing team and the University of North Carolina athletic department. He currently provides care for the Chicago White Sox during baseball spring training and the local Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe High Schools.

Born in Lancaster, PA, Dr. Martin received his Undergraduate Degree at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. He then received his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed his General Surgery Internship and Orthopedic Surgery Residency at Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago. He completed his training with a one-year fellowship specializing in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Shoulder, Elbow Surgery with OrthoCarolina at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.

Dr. Martin is a board-eligible orthopedic surgeon with the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and specializes in sports medicine, shoulder, elbow and knee surgery. Research conducted by Dr. Martin at the University of Pennsylvania led to the discovery of the gene responsible for a rare, debilitating, genetic bone disease. His research has been presented both nationally and internationally, and published extensively in peer-reviewed literature.

Dr. Martin is proud to begin his duties with the Arizona Rattlers this spring. In conjunction with this announcement, Dr. Martin would like to announce the merging of his solo practice with Arizona Orthopaedic Associates, a division of OrthoArizona and the launch of his official website