News At AOC

New Research yields exciting results for spine community

May 22, 2020

VAST Clinical Trial: Safely Supplementing Tissue Lost to Degenerative Disc Disease

by Douglas P. Beall, MD, Gregory L. Wilson, DO, Randolph Bishop, MD and William Tally, MD. 


  • This is the first study of any size to demonstrate significant and objective clinical benefit from treating the anatomic site that is by far the greatest source of back pain.
  • There was statistically significant improvement in function in the entire treated cohort.
  • There was statistically significant improvement in pain in the cohort of patients who had a greater than 20-point pain reduction.
  • Almost 60% of the patients had no back pain.
  • The results from the VAST trial is even better than the study that first created excitement for cellular therapy (MesoblastPhase 2).
  • VAST vs. Mesoblast Phase 2:
  • No Back Pain : 59% with VAST, 52% with Mesoblast Phase 2
  • More than 15-point reduction in ODI: 77% with VAST, 50% with Mesoblast Phase 2
  • As good as Basivertebral Nerve Ablation(Rhizotomy).

From neck and leg pain to scoliosis, the spine can be the source of many different ailments we experience. Athens Orthopedic Clinic’s fellowship-trained spine and scoliosis specialists provide each patient experiencing orthopedic spinal issues quality, state of the art care.

For more information on Athens Orthopedic Clinic’s SpineHealth team or to schedule an appointment, visit us at or call (706) 549-1663.


Arthritis Facts

May 15, 2020

In honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, here are some facts to keep you in the know about the joint disease that can affect many areas of the body.


Did you know that 1 in 4 adults have arthritis?  That averages out to about 54 million Americans that have some form of the joint disease!  Of those who have arthritis, roughly 45% report limitations in physical activities due to symptoms.  And, despite popular belief, arthritis is not just an ‘old person’s disease.’  More than 32 million suffering from it are under the age of 65.


There a several signs and symptoms of arthritis but here are some of the most common:  Swelling, Stiffness, Pain, Deformity and Tenderness.  Quality of life is often greatly compromised by arthritis, limiting daily activities to perform simple tasks like climbing stairs, opening cabinets and doors, and bending over to pick up something.


Did you know that there are over 100+ types of arthritis?  The two most common types of arthritis, a painful condition caused by joint inflammation, are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Osteoarthritis is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, stiffness and pain, while, Rheumatoid Arthritis is characterized by swelling, bone erosion and joint deformity.


Good news is Athens Orthopedic Clinic can help!  There are several conservative treatment options for the joint disease – arthritis, including, weight loss, assistive devices, low-impact exercises, medications and injections.


Arthritis is usually first diagnosed by a primary care physician through physical exam, imaging and blood tests.  Depending on the type of arthritis and severity, they may refer to either an orthopedic specialist or rheumatologists.

Our Family Serving Yours Since 1966

At Athens Orthopedic Clinic, we frequently prescribe exercise as a way to help treat arthritis.  The movement helps with flexibility and keeps joints well-lubricated.  Exercise is shown to help alleviate arthritis symptoms and pain by up to 40 percent.

If exercise is not enough, and you still have trouble managing your arthritis, please contact us for an appointment.




May 8, 2020
“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” - Luther Burbank

It’s May, the weather is beautiful, and with recent events, you might find yourself with a little extra time on your hands.  Gardeners all around will take full advantage of these elements and plant vegetables and sprinkle life back into their yards with bits of color here and there.  And, while most wouldn’t consider gardening a formidable activity, the realty is gardening can result in injuries just as a number of sports.

One of the top contributing factors to gardening injuries is it is widely considered a casual activity that doesn’t require a proper warm-up to prepare for the bending, stooping, twisting, turning and heavy lifting.  Just as you would before a workout, give your body and muscles a chance to warm-up with light stretches to help prevent neck and lower back pain.

In addition, repetitive tasks and repetitive positioning can result in injury, such as, Shoulder Tendonitis, Lateral Epicondylitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Pre-Patellar Bursitis and de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis of the Thumb.  Activating preventative measures like using a garden stool or pad for extended periods of weeding or planting and taking frequent breaks in order to mix up your positioning can help keep you healthy and your body happy.

“Gardening is great for the soul, but it can be tough on our joints!” Dr. Michael Shane Smith continues, “Avoiding violent repetitive overhead activities and deep squatting and twisting maneuvers can help protect our shoulders and knees from developing some of the more common joint problems often associated with yard work and gardening”

When lifting heavy items, always remember the general rules of thumb:

- Keep the load/item close to your body

- Use your legs (slightly bent) and not your back

- Don’t overload – make frequent trips if necessary

- Avoid twisting your body when lifting and setting item down; move your feet and hips to position placement

At Athens Orthopedic Clinic, we believe taking care of your body doesn’t have to be a chore.  Gardening is a great activity for children, beginners, families and experts.  Choose tasks that best fit your ability and rotate through them to avoid repetitive use type injuries.


In Memory of Ann Collins Mulherin

April 30, 2020

Our love and heartfelt sympathies go out to AOC Founder, William "Butch" Mulherin, MD,  on the loss of his wife, Ann Collins Mulherin, who passed away Saturday, April 25, 2020.  Dr. Mulherin and Ann moved to Athens, GA from Augusta, GA in 1966 to establish establish Athens Orthopedic Clinic and to provide orthopedic care for the University of Georgia football team.

Her obituary is available here.


Now is Great Time To Ride a Bike!

Cycling is a great way to practice social distancing while getting some exercise.  Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or trying it for the first time, it’s important to review safety measures as well as tips to prevent common cycling injuries.

Safety First – Top 3

  1. Always wear a properly fitted helmet.
  2. Verify your bike is the appropriate size and fit for you.
  3. Loose clothing can be a hazard – wear appropriate and bright (easily seen) attire.

Our partners at AOC Twilight in Athens provided an informative link for more bicycle safety guidelines this past weekend during the Twilight Criterium, please visit to stay informed.

Now that you have your helmet, and it fits perfect, and a great bike that’s going to be your best friend on many adventures, we need to make sure your body and bike sync.  There are many injuries that can be attributed to cycling but education and prevention is the key.

Injury Prevention – Most Common Cycling Injuries

High speed

High speed is the most common cause and result in injury on a bike resulting in superficial soft tissue trauma and/or musculoskeletal trauma.  Wear your helmets, please!

Knee Pain

Not surprisingly, knees suffer the most overuse injuries in the sport. Be sure to verify you have the appropriate and proper saddle height, and if you are riding clipless pedals, make sure that your cleat position is correct.

Neck and Lower Back Pain

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it time and time again on how important it is to maintain good posture.  Spending long amounts of time in a stationary position can cause stress on any muscle so be sure to relax your upper body and move around occasionally. Also, bend from the hips, not the lower back. Your back should look straight, not curved.

Achilles Tendonitis

This is another overuse injury and the cause of inflammation.  Always verify your body mechanics are properly positioned on your bike, such as proper saddle height in contrast to your pedals as well as well positioned cleats in pedals.

Muscle Tightness & Fatigure

Tightness can lead to tearing so establishing a thorough warm up and cool down routine to keep your muscles flexible is very important.  Remember also to allow time for your body to rest and recover.

A trusted orthopedic is also an essential piece of the puzzle to staying safe and healthy.  Athens Orthopedic Clinic is your partner, not only when you’re injured and seek care, but also as an advocate to deliver tools to keep you and your family injury free.

If you experience a cycling injury or have questions regarding a past injury, Athens Orthopedic Clinic’s team of expert physicians are ready and available to treat and help you recover.  Request an appointment online or call (706) 549-1663 to be seen at a convenient location or via telehealth.



Social Distancing

Social Distancing (noun): the practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people or of avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places during the outbreak of a contagious disease in order to minimize exposure and reduce the transmission of infection.

Until recently, most had never heard of social distancing let alone practiced it in their families and/or communities. Abruptly, we have had to adjust to a new norm that includes working remotely, homeschooling our children and conducting medical visits through telehealth.

Athens Orthopedic Clinic is committed to you and your health and continues to adjust during this time of uneasiness to ensure you not only receive the care you deserve but also the resources you need to continue to stay active and healthy.

Staying Active

Exercise helps to keep energy up and reduce stress. Ideas for home workouts: planks, chair squats, yoga or following a home fitness tutorial online like the virtual training now available through @sparcathens on Instagram or by calling 706-286-7338.

Prioritize Sleep.

Proper sleep is incredibly important to your overall health. Tips: avoid screen time at least one hour before bed — blue light increases alertness.

Do One Daily Act of Self Care.

Say three things you are grateful for each morning or night, take a soothing bath or indulge in a favorite television show — letting your body unwind is key.

Social distancing is hard but staying active and healthy makes it just a little bit easier.

In these uncertain times and as COVID-19 continues to evolve, AOC is asking for your support in social distancing, but we want you to know we are committed to your care and are available for your orthopedic needs.




HOOKED? We fix that.

April 1, 2020

As the days grow longer and the anglers are called to the waters, it’s important to have a plan in place for those unexpected injuries. You're excited and give your cast just a little more oomph than normal and suddenly you hear a screech! You’ve accidently hooked your fishing partner! What do you do?

First and foremost, prevention is always the key. You can avoid accidental hooking, especially those in the face, by wearing a hat and sunglasses. Also, always be mindful as to where your buddies are fishing before you throw your first cast.

Next, what do you do?  

Your skin is the largest organ on your body, protecting you by keeping fluids in and bacteria out. While a hooking injury can vary from minor to severe, it’s always best to consult a doctor for treatment options because even minor injuries can have a serious consequence. Best practice is to stabilize the hook in place and seek treatment at an urgent care.  

Never try to remove a hook that is in or near the eye.

“Injuries most often happen when we least expect it.  We hope that you always stay safe whether you are fishing, driving or just riding your bike.” Dr. David Katz continues, “But if an injury occurs, please do not hesitate to come get it taken care of at one of our Urgent Care locations.”

Athens Orthopedic Clinic offers three urgent care settings for accidental injuries like this in Athens, Loganville and Snellville. Expert care is in place to get you treated and back on the water doing what you love.

For more information on our urgent care locations, visit


Our Patients Say It Best!

Stellar orthopedic care
I have had three surgeries here in the past three years, two lower back and one neck. Dr. Tally and Skye are awesome, and they have provided excellent care. The front office staff is welcoming and incredibly efficient. When I went to Athens Neurological for neck and back issues, I was accustomed to waiting over an hour at each visit. At AOC, I have never waited more than ten minutes in the waiting room. For most visits, I have x-rays, see the doc, and out the door in less than 30 minutes total! I would highly recommend AOC to anyone looking for stellar orthopedic care.
Jeff, Lower Back Surgery
They all get an A+
I was a bit nervous about the whole knee replacement thing, but I am glad that I chose AOC. All of the staff have been awesome. Thanks Dr. Mandfredi for giving me a new knee and improved quality of life. Thanks to David and the nurses for constant care and encouragement. They have the best Physical Therapy group I believe I have ever been involved with. They are very professional and tough. Thanks a lot to Megan Stines for putting up with my complaining, but making me do the work, no matter how much I tried to get out of it. They all get an A+. I would recommend them all to anyone who is looking for an Orthopedic clinic to go to.
Rodney, Knee Replacement
A sincere thank you
My husband and I were more than pleased with the expertise and care that was given to me during my ACL surgery. We want to extend a sincere thank you to Dr. Register and all of the AOC staff members!
Kimberlee, ACL Surgery
I highly recommend them!
Dr. Register performed arthroscopic surgery on my knee. He was attentive and fixed me up. His PA, nurse and PT were always helpful. The anesthesiologist was awesome as was the clinical staff. Thank you! I highly recommend them!
Donna, Arthroscopic surgery
Stellar orthopedic care
I have had three surgeries here in the past three years. (Two lower back and one neck surgery) Dr. Tally and Skye are awesome, and they have provided excellent care. The front office staff is welcoming and incredibly efficient. When I went to Athens Neurological for neck and back issues, I was accustomed to waiting over an hour at each visit. At AOC, I have never waited more than ten minutes in the waiting room. For most visits, I have x-rays, see the doc, and out the door in less than 30 minutes total! I would highly recommend AOC to anyone looking for stellar orthopedic care.
lower back surgery