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Ryan R. Karlstad, MD

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Orthopedic Surgery, Board Certified Hand & Microvascular Surgery Fellowship Hand & Sports Medicine Subspecialty Certifications

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Areas of Focus

Hand & Wrist Care
Pediatric Care
Shoulder & Elbow Care
Sports Medicine
Trauma Care

Ryan R. Karlstad, MD

Practice Overview

Ryan R. Karlstad, MD, is a fellowship-trained, board certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in injuries and conditions of the hand, wrist, and upper extremity. He is one of only a few dozen orthopedic surgeons in the country who holds subspecialty certificates in both hand surgery and sports medicine. Upon completion of an orthopedic surgery residency, Dr. Karlstad received fellowship training in hand and microvascular surgery.

Procedures Dr. Karlstad specializes in include endoscopic and open carpal tunnel release; fixation of finger, wrist, and elbow fractures; nerve and tendon repair; arthroscopic and open treatment of finger; wrist and elbow arthriti;, surgical and minimally invasive treatment of Dupuytren’s disease; and ligament reconstruction (including Tommy Johns surgery) at the elbow.

Dr. Karlstad received his subspecialty certification in Hand Surgery from the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery in 2006. He received his subspecialty certification in Orthopaedic Sports medicine from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery in 2011.

TCO Talks With Dr. Karlstad: The Common Arthritis That Might Surprise YouLearn More

Clinical Interest

Hand and wrist care, including carpal tunnel release (open and endoscopic), tendon repair, nerve repair, finger joint replacement, trigger finger release, wrist arthroscopy, arthritis of the wrist, thumb, and fingers, Dupuytren’s disease, and fractures

Pediatric care

Shoulder and elbow care, including elbow joint arthroscopy, elbow trauma, elbow and shoulder joint replacement, rotator cuff repairs, and shoulder joint arthroscopy


Board Certified, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery
Subspecialty Certification in Surgery of the Hand
Subspecialty Certification in Sports Medicine

Hand and Microvascular Surgery, UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California

Orthopaedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Medical Degree
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland

Hospital & Surgery Center Affiliations

High Pointe Surgery Center
Lakeview Hospital
River Falls Area Medical Center
Other facilities throughout Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin

Professional Affiliations

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Society for Surgery of the Hand
Mayo Clinic Alumni Association
Mayo Orthopedic Alumni Association

Achievements & Awards

Minnesota Monthly Top Doctor (2017)


Lisa L.
Clinical Assistant

Sandy G., OTC
Clinical Assistant

Patient Testimonials

September 3, 2023

Jacky S.

Dr. Karlstad did a phenomenal job on my thumb, which had severe arthritis. It was very painful before surgery. Now the pain is gone and function is returning. He is a fantastic doctor!

January 15, 2023

Mary Jane D.

I am from California and was visiting my son and his family in Woodbury, MN. I slipped on ice, fell and broke my wrist. I saw both Dr. Holmes and Dr. Karlstad at Twin Cities Orthopedics. I was very emotional to learn I needed surgery. The doctors, their nurses and office staff were so thorough, accommodating, and helpful. They were prepared to get me into surgery as soon as possible. They helped me make the decision to go home early and have the surgery there. I appreciate being a visitor, the time they spent with me, and resources they provided. I highly recommend Twin Cities Orthopedics!

November 12, 2021

Edward M.

I had very pleasant time during my trigger finger operation. The staff were fun to be with and the experience was stress free. They were polite and kept me informed on what was going on. Dr. Karlstad is very professional as well. I would recommend him to anyone in need.

July 2, 2019

Ted W.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

After 30 plus years at 3M punching on a keyboard, my hands reacted. First, I could not open a pickle jar. Then, I had problems with manual dexterity with buttoning buttons but the killer was that slowly creeping pain in the fingers that wakes you up in the middle of the night and you are up until morning. Dr. Karlstad diagnosed carpal tunnel and did surgery on both wrists. 2 weeks later I have small cuts on my wrists that the doc says will fade into the creases in my wrists. I sleep through the night without pain. I can button a button and with my increasing grip, and pickle jars are quaking with fear.

Highly recommend Dr. Karlstad and TCO staff. Very professional and skilled.

June 28, 2019

Bill C.

Repair by Dr. Karlstad was done successfully and quickly at Lakeview Hospital. Wonderful outcome, thank you.

April 17, 2019

Julie G.

I suffered my injury last summer on a vacation weekend to the Upper Pennisula. We were visiting family and enjoying a little “heaven on earth”, as my brother lives on a beautiful piece of property right on the shores of Lake Michigan / Big Bay De Noc. Early on the Sunday morning we planned to head for home, I decided I wanted to swim one last time in the lake. It had been such a pleasant, enjoyable day in the water the day before, so I just wanted that one last swim. The lake bottom is really rocky and you have to pick your way carefully in before you get out to sandy bottom. I never got out that far. I was wearing water shoes and thought I was being cautious enough, but before I knew even what happened, I was down in the water and instantly felt excruciating pain in my left wrist. As I recovered from the initial shock and tried to sort out what had happened, I picked my left arm up. I remember looking at it and seeing how oddly deformed it was, the pain registering in my brain and realizing that “something ain’t right here.” I had to crawl back in to shore, on my knees and using my elbows. Let’s just say that my entourage and I packed up our stuff and headed back for home a little earlier than we had planned. I decided that I would wait until I got back home and to a healthcare facility I was comfortable with. That was a loooonnnnngggg 6 hour car ride back home.

Now, enter TCO. When we got back to my hometown of Stillwater, MN, I went immediately to the ER at Lakeview Hospital. I was informed that, indeed, I had broken bones and suffered a “Colles” fracture of the wrist; a common injury that occurs when you extend your arm to break your fall. The ER doctor did the best he could for me that day and then gave me the referral to TCO. He informed me that I might need surgery to repair my wrist if TCO thought they couldn’t reset the bones properly. I was scared. I had never broken any bones before and to think I might need surgery? Yes, I was frightened at the thought and whether or not I would regain complete function of my hand and wrist again.

I was fortunate to get into TCO within a week of my injury and saw Dr. Ryan Karlstad. He specializes in the hand and wrist. He immediately put me at ease, he was so kind and soft spoken and yet honest. He gave me a few options and surgery was a definate part of any of the options. Of course he had to inform me of the risks of surgery and the possibilities of not recovering full mobility or function of my hand and wrist afterwards. I opted to have him do an ORIF (open reduction and internal fixation) using a plate and screws. He informed me this would be the optimal route to go for best and long lasting positive results. Within a week of my injury, I was in the High Pointe surgical suites getting my fracture repaired!

I started occupational therapy very soon after with Bonnie VanDeMark OTR/L, CHT. I loved Bonnie. She is about the same age as me and shared the same sense of humor as me. I related so well to her that I actually enjoyed going to my sessions with her. I was almost sad when we were all done! Aside from her having a such a wonderful personality, she really knows her stuff! She gave me new and progressive exercises each time I saw her and measured my progress every time. Now, I am a really good patient, too, and always did my exercises religiously since I obviously wanted to get back to “normal” mobility and activity. I had to do my part.

I enjoy walking, hiking, yoga, Pilates, and my newest and latest passion, pickleball. You don’t realize until you can’t do things, how frustrating it is to have to require help to make a bed, fold clothes, put on a shirt, open a jar, or carry a laundry basket downstairs. Nope, I was going to do everything in my power to recover completely because I am fiercely independent (and am quite particular in how things ought to be done, my family will tell you I am a little OCD that way).

Even with my fractured wrist, though, and splint on, I went to my 3 x week Pilates classes faithfully. And there was no reason not to continue my daily walks, I didn’t break a leg, after all. I figured I would do as much as I could physically without the use of one arm, as there was no reason not to, right? I remember my Pilates instructor and the usual Pilates groupies marveling at my one armed planks, three point push ups, and “off balance” roll downs. Within a few short weeks, I was doing full planks, pushups and weight bearing yoga and Pilates exercises with no pain. That’s incredible and I just can’t believe that I am “back to normal” activity and mobility again, pain free!

I thank the huge role my caregivers and therapist from TCO did for me in this whole recovery process. I would probably not be considered a success otherwise. I guess my point also would be to emphasize to not count yourself out. Be in the mindset that if you do all that is requested of you from your TCO care team, you too, can be a successful “Comeback Story” like this 60 year old, retired, ordinary Grandma… ME! Thank you TCO!

September 27, 2016

Julie B.

Dr. Karlstad and High Pointe staff,

I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I appreciate your talent as a hand surgeon and your awesome staff at High Pointe.

After years of dealing with carpal tunnel I was finally pushed to do something about it when I developed a trigger thumb in my left hand. I had my first surgery last December. I was so happy with the results that I knew the following year I would do my right. Over this summer I ended up with a trigger thumb in my right hand as well, so surgery was done a bit sooner than I anticipated. I am now 4 weeks post op and couldn’t be happier.

I can now:

  • Sleep through the night without waking up in pain
  • Sleep on either side of the bed (even the middle) as I no longer have to have my arm hanging over the edge of the bed
  • Eat an entire meal without having to hang my arm downwards to wake it up
  • Drink and eat without dropping glasses, cups or utensils
  • Curl and blow dry my hair
  • Read for hours holding the book in my hands, not propping it up on something
  • Drive my ATV
  • Drive my car with both hands
  • Carry bags without constantly switching hands

This list could go on and on, my point is that you restored things for me that I didn’t even realize I had adjusted to over the years.

So thank you, Dr. Karlstad and your awesome staff at High Pointe. It is amazing how efficient they are without ever making you feel you are being rushed. I always feel like me and my family are important when we are there.   

June 14, 2016

Doug A.

Dr. Karlstad, you probably don’t get feedback from most patients you see who have successful outcomes. Just wanted to send a quick note letting you know that I think the diagnosis of tendonitis in my wrist was spot on, and the cortisone shot worked amazingly well. It was a few days into it and I said to my wife, “I completely forgot about my sore wrist,” which was amazing. Prior to the treatment I couldn’t do anything without it reminding me that it was messed up. It was a major nuisance and pain.

So great job. Thanks for taking care of it.

February 4, 2016

Patricia M.

Dr. Karlstad has been unequaled in patience, expertise and care. I totally trust him and know that he will do anything he can to make you “new” again. He is an EXCELLENT surgeon.

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Ryan R. Karlstad, MD