As part of the EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region Hand and Wrist and Elbow and Arm Teams, Dr. Aldridge has a broad knowledge of orthopedic injuries and conditions, with subspecialty training in the upper extremity (hand, wrist, arm, and elbow)
His excellence in clinical practice has gained him numerous accolades and wide recognition. He has been included in America’s Best Physicians list, elected to Best Doctors® ten years in a row, and he has also been listed in the North Carolina Business Journal’s Best Doctors rankings.
We sat down for a brief interview with Dr. Aldridge to get to know him, his connection to North Carolina, his passion for fly fishing, and his distinctive bowtie collection!
For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself and your connection to North Carolina.
My name is Mack Aldridge, and I am an orthopedic-trained hand surgeon working at EmergeOrtho–Triangle Region. I am from North Carolina, and grew up in the Western part of the state, up in the mountains. I went to Duke for my undergraduate degree, and did my medical training at Wake Forest before further training back at Duke. Aside from a four-year stint at a boarding school in Virginia, I’ve been in North Carolina my entire life.
As a lifelong Duke basketball fan, how many games do you think you’ve been to?
I’ve been to easily 200 games. I was born into a family of Dukies. My mother and father both went to Duke, their parents went to Duke. I was the 24th relative in my family to go to Duke, so I had no choice in the matter. So I grew up watching a lot of Duke basketball.
How’d you get into fly fishing?
I grew up in the summers around some of the nicest Blue Ribbon trout waters in the state, and I just loved fishing for whatever reason. My mother would let me go down to the lake and I would stay down there for hours on end and fish. For me, it’s an experience where I’m at peace and I can relax and be in the moment. As I’ve gotten older, it’s evolved into something that’s less focused on just catching fish, to where for me it’s all about being immersed in the environment.
What would you say is the most frustrating learning curve when it comes to fly fishing?
The essence of fly fishing is a back cast and a forward cast and so if you’re not mindful of your background––and trust me I’ve done this on many occasions––you end up catching more trees than you do fish. If you can’t get the fly out there to the fish, you’re not going to catch one. I’d say that casting can be the most frustrating part of fly fishing.
What got you interested in orthopedics, and what makes helping patients with orthopedic needs particularly special?
I felt that this was the marriage of two of my passions: helping people, and having the ability to fix things. Someone has a broken bone, for example; you fix it very quickly, within months they’re back doing what they want to do, which is golf or fishing or holding their grandchildren. That is incredibly rewarding to be able to intervene with medicine and help someone and see the fruits of that labor very quickly. It’s very gratifying.
How does working at EmergeOrtho help you achieve the best outcomes for patients?
Emerge is just such a great place to work. I can show up in the morning, be a doctor and surgeon, take care of patients, and go home not having to worry about so many of the hurdles of a less streamlined practice that might fall onto the shoulders of the practicing surgeon. I don’t have to worry about that, which is so wonderful. And I don’t take that for granted.
Can you describe a particularly memorable moment during your time with EmergeOrtho?
I think a particularly meaningful moment was treating an 18-year-old that had a brachial plexus injury to his arm and had, essentially, a flaccid arm. That’s quite a devastating injury for anyone, but particularly at that age. I was able to operate on his arm and he came back 18 months later and the muscles on that arm ended up being larger than the uninvolved side. He had full range of motion and was just functioning so well. Incredibly rewarding for him and probably more so for me to be honest.
How long does it take you to tie that signature bowtie?
Probably less than 30 seconds really. I probably have 75 bowties and it’s sort of become my signature––for better or for worse.
To learn more about the hand and upper extremity services provided by Dr. Aldridge request a consultation now. Or, call us at 919-220-5255 any time to speak with an EmergeOrtho–Triangle Region team member.
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