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Thomas Helpenstell, M.D.
General Orthopaedics, Hip, Joint Replacement, Knee, Shoulder, Sports Medicine, Trauma

Dr. Helpenstell attended Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He received his Medical Degree from the University Of Washington School Of Medicine and was certified as a Diplomat with the National Board of Medical Examiners. His internship was spent at Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle, Washington and his residency at University of New Mexico Hospitals in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Helpenstell completed two fellowships, one in sports medicine at the Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic in Eugene, Oregon and the second, a fellowship in foot and ankle surgery at Harborview Medical Center / University Hospital, Seattle, Washington.

Dr. Helpenstell received certification from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery in 1994 and practiced as an orthopaedic surgeon at Orthopedic Associates, Inc. PS in Seattle and at Memorial Clinic in Olympia prior to joining Olympia Orthopaedic Associates in July of 2001.

Dr. Helpenstell has lived and worked in Olympia since 1994. He enjoys the outdoors and spends most of his time running, biking, swimming, kayaking, mountain climbing, skiing and doing triathlons.

Education & Training

  • Bachelor of Arts: Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA
  • Doctor of Medicine: University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA
  • Rotating Internship: Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA
  • Orthopaedic Surgery Residency: The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
  • Sports Medicine Fellowship: Orthopaedic and Fracture Clinic, Eugene, OR
  • Foot and Ankle Surgery Fellowship: Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA


  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Professional Associations

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons
  • National Board of Medical Examiners, Diplomate
  • Thurston-Mason County Medical Society
  • Washington State Medical Association

Hospital Affiliations

  • Capital Medical Center
  • Providence St. Peter Hospital

Westside Clinic

(360) 709-6230
“Although I live South of Tacoma, I was led to Dr Helpenstell by following the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Scores which show St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, WA, to consistantly be an "A" rated Hospital. Patient reviews led me to Olympia Orthpaedics and subsequently to Dr. Thomas Helpenstell. He has been excellent in every way that I could have wished. The total Left knee replacement surgery that he performed three months ago is the first major surgery that I have experienced so I was very nervous and concerned. From my first meeting, Dr. Helpensledd has been patient, thorough, empathetic, professional, reassuring and aware of my personal feeling. He was there before and immediately after my surgery, but to my relief he visited me the following morning in the hospital to check on my well being. What more can a patient ask for ? His immediate staff, Josh meyers, PA and surgery scheduler Lisa are likewise expellent. I found that Lisa was especially helpful to me with her through knowledge and genuine concern that I understood every concern that I expressed, above and beyond her job. Shortly after surgery I commenced two months of Physical Therapy at the Lacey, ROC, (Rapid Ortho Center). Lisa Bowlin, PT, has a very hard job, because Physical Therapy, especially right after surgery is brutal; However, she is remarkable in her ability to start slowly and throughly explain the process. Kelly, her helper, is another jewel. In total, the whole program for joint replacent that I participated in with Dr. Helpenstell (Oly Ortho) in conjunction with St. Peter Hospital is truly in the opinion of this patient an "A" program.”
– Raul H.