Darren Johnson, MD, is a nationally recognized physician in the field of sports medicine, particularly in complex knee surgery, and has spent the past 25 years caring for orthopaedic patients at UK HealthCare.
Johnson received his bachelor’s degree from the combined University of California, Riverside and University of California, Los Angeles program in biomedical sciences before earning his medical degree from UCLA. After his orthopaedic residency at the University of Southern California, he completed a fellowship in sports medicine and shoulder surgery at the University of Pittsburgh under Dr. Freddie H. Fu.
He joined the UK faculty in 1993 and served as the chair of UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine from 2000 to 2018. In addition to his role as a professor, Johnson is also the head orthopaedic surgeon of UK Athletics.
The prevention and treatment of ACL injuries in athletes is one of Johnson’s primary interests. He also enjoys teaching other surgeons, so he travels to national and international meetings as an invited guest speaker on knee injuries.
Johnson has served on the board of directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and he was the former president of Southern Orthopedic Association.
He has published more than 100 peer reviewed manuscripts as well as more than 30 book chapters and has edited two textbooks: Clinical Sports Medicine and Reconstructive Knee Surgery.
His outside interests include outdoor activities, particularly fly fishing, hunting, skiing and golf. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Nancy, and their three children.
In sports medicine we see a lot of high school and college kids who have an injury, and for the patient, it's like the end of the world. What’s going through their mind is, "I'll never be able to get back on the field.” We see them at their lowest point, we operate on them and go through the rehab process. When that player goes back on the field and back to doing what they love to do, you can't beat it. This is not a job to me. This is my calling.
Faculty RankProfessor of Orthopaedic Surgery
University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine
University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Certifications and Special Training
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine
March 4, 2019Oct. 5, 2016Sept. 27, 2016
Best Doctors in America
The Best Doctors in America is an online resource developed by Best Doctors, Inc. Nationally, only about 5 percent of physicians qualify for this recognition, which is based on impartial peer review. The experts who are part of the Best Doctors in America database provide the most advanced medical expertise and knowledge to patients with serious conditions – often saving lives in the process by finding the right diagnosis and right treatment.
Learn more at the Best Doctors website »
16 Standout North American Sports Knee Surgeons
In 2016, Dr. Johnson was ranked as one of the “16 Standout North American Sports Knee Surgeons” by the publication Orthopedics This Week.
UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine
UK Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine: Turfland
UK HealthCare - TurflandFax 859-257-01682195 Harrodsburg Road
Lexington, KY 40504Monday - Friday: 7:00 am-5:00 pm
Diagnostic Technologies: X-ray
Insurance policies can vary widely. Please check with your doctor/clinic for specific insurance information before your visit or procedure to avoid unexpected out-of-pocket costs. See list of insurers