Dr. Popp’s passion for pediatric hand care led to role at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

When Dr. James Popp was pursuing his medical degree with a specialty in hand and upper extremity orthopedics, there was no distinction in training between pediatric and adult care. While he enjoys treating patients of all ages, he realized early on in his career that he had a passion for pediatric hand care. 

This passion led him to the orthopedic physician team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in 1999. While he has been a partner and practicing physician at Orthopedic ONE since its founding, he has for more than 10 years served as Director of Hand Services at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In this role, he ensures that any pediatric patient coming to the hospital receives the best possible hand and upper extremity care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When surgery is required, he performs these procedures at Nationwide Children’s Hospital with their team of pediatric specialists. He leads and works in partnership with other hand surgeons within the area, including Dr. Brent Bickel, Dr. Craig Dimitris and Dr. Raymond Wurapa to meet these needs.

Many of his Orthopedic ONE patients might be surprised to learn that more than 40 percent of his practice is devoted to pediatric hand and upper extremity care. He also devotes substantial time to educating and training the next generation of pediatric hand surgeons through teaching positions at Mount Carmel Health Center, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University Medical Center. 

Some of the most common conditions he encounters in his pediatric patients include fractured fingers, trigger thumb and congenital hand conditions (often requiring surgery). One of the procedures he finds most satisfying is the surgical treatment of thumb aplasia and thumb hypoplasia, which is the correction of a condition where a child is born with no thumb or a thumb that doesn’t work in a traditional way. Through surgery, he is able to help construct a thumb that will serve a child for the remainder of his or her life. 

“Making a lasting change in a child’s life is one of the most satisfying parts of my job,” says Dr. Popp.