Rodney Benner, MD, understands what injured athletes want and need. The orthopedic surgeon at Shelbourne Knee Center played baseball, basketball and football at Tri-County High School, in Wolcott, Indiana, and was a pitcher on the baseball team at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana.
“I understand what it’s like to put in a lot of work as an athlete, and how important athletics are in a young person’s life,” says Dr. Benner. Along with providing the best care to each injured athlete—high school, college or professional—Dr. Benner knows that getting back to sport quickly and safely is a priority. He collaborates with his patients, their parents and coaches to make this happen.
An Early Focus on Sports Medicine
Dr. Benner knew he wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon focused on sports medicine before he started medical school. While studying at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, he met K. Donald Shelbourne, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Shelbourne Knee Center, and became interested in knee care. Dr. Benner worked part-time in the Shelbourne Knee Center research program, which has been tracking patient outcomes and studying factors related to those outcomes for 37 years. The research database covers more than 13,000 patients.
Born and raised in Remington, Indiana, Dr. Benner left his home state and Shelbourne Knee Center to continue his training after medical school. He completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis, a national leader in sports medicine and other orthopedic sub-specialties and home to the authors of Campbell’s Operative Orthopaedics. Next, Dr. Benner traveled to New York, where he completed a fellowship in knee surgery, sports medicine and knee replacement at Insall Scott Kelly Institute. He learned the surgical techniques and patient care philosophies of Dr. John Insall, who is considered the father of modern knee replacement.
A Hoosier Returns Home
With his formal training completed, Dr. Benner returned to his home state. “I’ve been a Hoosier my entire life,” he says. “I love being in the Midwest and being around the people here.” Dr. Benner also went back to Shelbourne Knee Center, where he could specialize in knee care and receive career mentoring from Dr. Shelbourne.
Dr. Benner cares for athletes with ACL tears and other injuries as well as other patients, including osteoarthritis patients. Both Dr. Benner and Dr. Shelbourne focus first on treating knee injuries and conditions with specialized physical therapy and other non-surgical treatments. They recommend surgery only when conservative treatments have failed.
“We’re not in a big hurry to operate on people. Instead, we focus on getting people better,” says Dr. Benner. When surgery is necessary, Dr. Benner’s areas of expertise include total knee arthroplasty (TKA), revision TKA, and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
A Commitment to Continual Improvement
Dr. Benner shares Dr. Shelbourne’s commitment to continually improving treatment for knee injuries and conditions. “It’s important to constantly challenge ourselves to get even better results. We constantly look at data from our patients to see how we’re doing,” he says.
Along with his clinical practice, Dr. Benner serves as the team orthopedic consultant for Purdue University and the head orthopedic physician for Wabash College and Cathedral High School. “My main job is to make sure the athletes are safe,” he says. Dr. Benner treats knee injuries himself and facilitates the care of other injuries by qualified specialists. He works with athletic trainers to decide when it’s safe for an injured athlete to return to play.
“Dr. Shelbourne and I see ourselves as knee doctors, not knee surgeons. Patients should feel comfortable coming to see us for any problem, whether it’s new or chronic,” says Dr. Benner. A Clinical Assistant Professor at Marian University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Benner has published more than 15 journal articles and three book chapters, and given more than 25 presentations.
Dr. Benner is also the president of and a baseball and softball coach for Zionsville Little League in Zionsville, Indiana. He spends most of his free time with his wife and children, and enjoys going to Wrigley Field to watch the Chicago Cubs play.
To refer a patient to Dr. Benner, call 888-FIX-KNEE.