Patellofemoral Update focuses on the causes, prevention and treatment of patellofemoral disorders. The blog is sponsored by The Patellofemoral Foundation whose mission is to improve the care of individuals with anterior knee pain through targeted education and research. The Patellofemoral Foundation offers additional online education resources on its website.

BLOG: Commit to practice to get it as right as humanly possible

“Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.”

This bit of wisdom has been widely quoted, mostly in the world of music, for almost a century.

The critical role of study and practice cannot be underestimated in orthopedics, where what we do is so much more important than a musical performance. The humbling responsibility of cutting open a human being with the intent of producing healing and relief of pain with restoration of function should motivate all of us to “practice until we can’t get it wrong.” Unfortunately, there may never be a day when a human surgeon could not “get it wrong.” Nonetheless, the trust placed in us by our patients is a moral imperative that we do all we can to “get it right.”

William R. Post

Particularly as it applies to patellofemoral disorders, there is an ever-expanding field of knowledge. With that comes a responsibility for those who care for these patients to keep up with new developments. For example, this blog has been an excellent source of knowledge widely and conveniently distributed to health care providers worldwide on current topics of importance.

For this blog entry, I would like to make known other opportunities. For example, hands-on experience is an invaluable asset to surgeons, but not so widely available as a computer blog. One particularly valuable option for patellofemoral surgery is the Arthroscopy Association of North America’s (AANA) Masters Course on Patellofemoral Surgery: From Instability to Arthroplasty. Such meetings allow close interaction with faculty for discussion and practical advice. Although online video learning certainly has a place and is convenient, there is nothing like getting your hands involved. I believe most surgeons have learning styles that emphasize doing in order to learn well.

More sessions are being offered at major meetings, such as the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, AANA and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which focus on patellofemoral disorders. It seems that this area, which is of such importance to so many of our patients, is no longer exactly the “ugly stepchild” of orthopedic surgery. We should all commit ourselves to practice to the degree that, in so far as is humanly possible, we can’t get it wrong.


Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong. Available at:

William R. Post, MD, is on the board of directors of The Patellofemoral Foundation. He can be reached at Mountaineer Orthopedics Specialists, 2195 Cheat Rd., Suite 2, Morgantown WV 26508; email:

Disclosure: Post reports no relevant financial disclosures.

See more from Patellofemoral Update