As the largest orthopedic physician group in the Midwest, and one of the largest in the country, you are sure to find a clinic that best meets your needs.
March 28, 2010
In the fall of 2017, I was tackled hard in a high school soccer game. Little did I know what I was in for when I heard I tore my ACL. Tearing your ACL is probably the worst possible news any female soccer player could receive. I knew that I was going to have to fight hard to get back to where I was and that I had a lot of work to do. Luckily for me, I was already working with such great strength trainers, Scott Schriever and Kirk Olson. Kirk called me shortly after we told him the news and he allowed me one day to cry but then he said to me, “it is grind time from here on out”.
The day of my surgery, I was stressing because I had never gone under or even had surgery before. Kirk called me while we were in the parking lot of TCO to reassure me that everything would be okay and that I was in great hands. Scott and Kirk then introduced me to my phenomenal physical therapist, Mike Shirilla, who helped me make my great comeback. When I arrived for my first PT session a few days after surgery, Mike, Scott, and Kirk were all waiting for me at the front door. From that day forward I knew I would have my own personal team and that I would be okay. Mike not only helped me physically but mentally as well which is a huge turning point for this process. Every week he would provide me a new video or podcast to listen to from elite women soccer players, as well as having me follow an ACL club on twitter to inspire me. He made me become a better version of myself.
My surgeon, Dr. Wulf, also helped me feel tremendously better and confident that my recovery would make me stronger. Every visit with him made me feel better about my progress. I worked for 9 long hard months with almost no days off. I had to give up a lot to reach my goal. At the time, it was very hard but I persevered through it and now I’m a lot stronger because of it. I was strength training 3 times a week and doing physical therapy 2 times a week, as well as the athletic competition enhancement (ACE) program through TCO. Tonia and Nate, who ran the ACE program, provided me with a customized return to play routine to get me to my highest potential. During this long, hard process, my TCO team became my family for 9 months and counting.
A key to staying strong is my strength trainer, Scott Schriever. He pushes me every day to keep working harder and improving myself. Having a trainer like Scott, who dedicates a lot of his time to his athletes, is very motivating. A bonus to my recovery was the new biomechanical lab at the Training Haus. I was lucky enough to be one of the first to be tested in this lab. Michael Kiely, who ran the lab, helped me realize what specific things I needed to work on to prevent re-injury and to stay strong.
I was then fortunate enough to be cleared by July of 2018 and had the opportunity to play my first soccer games back from my injury in Iceland and Sweden. It was my goal to play before I got back into high school soccer and, thankfully, we made that happen. My club, Minnesota Thunder Academy, played in the Gothia Cup in Sweden which is compared to as being the Youth World Cup. We got to play against some of the best teams in Sweden and other countries — and all thanks to my wonderful team at TCO I had the trip of a lifetime. Exactly one year after my surgery, October 16th 2018, I scored the winning goal, which was a header goal in double over time of the section final for my high school soccer team (Minnetonka High School) to punch our ticket into the state tournament. That was the best feeling in the world especially since it was exactly one year post surgery. It just reminded me of how far I’ve come both mentally and physically and how I’ve grown from my injury. Once we got into the state tournament, our first game was at Prior Lake High School, the field where I tore my ACL. That was a big day for me mentally and physically, in addition to the fact that I was about to play a game on the field that ended my sophomore season. I turned that awful memory into a happy one because we ended up winning and were guaranteed two games at the U. S. Bank Stadium for the first time. We then went on and won the Minnesota State High School Class AA Championship. I want to give all my thanks to TCO and the Training Haus for the amazing care team I had that made them my TCO Champions. Without any of them I would not be where I am today and would not be able to share my story.
Here is the link I’ve included to my header goal that advanced us to the state tournament: HERE
July 16, 2008
Fourteen-year-old Billy Stokes was playing hockey for North St. Paul when what should have been a normal “check” turned into a shoulder-to-shoulder collision with another hockey player. He felt a crack and then instant pain, but he gathered himself and passed the puck to his teammates. When he got off the ice, Billy sat on the bench for the rest of the game, afraid to move and knowing something was definitely wrong.
When the game finally ended, it was evident Billy needed to see a doctor. At the emergency room, the staff carefully removed his hockey jersey. A bone on his right side was protruding and X-rays confirmed that Billy had broken his clavicle. The emergency room doctor recommended that Billy be seen by an orthopaedic specialist.
Billy’s mother, Pam Stokes, recalled, “We asked to be referred to an orthopaedist who would treat him as an active and athletic kid. We needed someone who would listen to us and help us make the right decisions for our young son.
“We were able to get in immediately to St. Croix Orthopaedics,” explained Pam. “It was very important to us to have Billy seen as soon as possible.”
Dr. Nick Meyer thoroughly explained Billy’s injury to Billy and his parents. Billy had two breaks in his bone, which is not typical for clavicle fractures. Dr. Meyer presented Billy and his parents with two possible treatments plans — one would involve surgery and the other would allow the bone to heal itself.
“Dr. Meyer explained how the bone would heal with surgery versus non-surgery and gave us the pros and cons of both treatment plans,” Pam recalled. “He gave us all the information we needed to make an informed decision. Most importantly, Dr. Meyer talked with Billy and reassured him that he would be able to play hockey again. I felt this was so important because Billy is old enough to understand his injury.”
Billy and his parents decided on the non-surgical treatment option. They felt confident the break would heal and Billy would have nothing more to show for it than a little bump. Billy sat out the rest of his hockey season and waited to see how his bone healed. After eight weeks, he was able to resume his normal activity. At ten weeks, he skated for the first time; but his first collision hurt, so they decided to give it a little more time to heal. The final result was just what they were hoping for; Billy’s clavicle had healed, just as Dr. Meyer had described.
Although Billy missed much of his hockey season, Pam felt this was a great learning experience for him. “Billy is now so much stronger. He had a setback, but he has had to work hard to get back to where he was before the injury,” she said. Heeding Dr. Meyer’s advice, Billy has enrolled in a weightlifting program to strengthen his body so he can be better prepared for his next hockey season. Until then, he definitely has a story to share with his fellow hockey players.
December 12, 2007
Anita didn’t realize the extent of the degeneration of her knees until after her bilateral knee replacements were complete. A six-year battle with rheumatoid arthritis had left her nearly crippled and in severe pain. The beginning of her journey back to the life she had once enjoyed started with a simple conversation with her neighbor. With encouragement from friends who had new knees, she sought the advice of Dr. Andrea Saterbak at St. Croix Orthopaedics.
Dr. Saterbak’s thorough explanation of a minimally invasive technique provided all the encouragement Anita needed. “Dr. Saterbak was very patient and answered all of my questions,” she explained. “I was very impressed with her.”
Anita decided to undergo knee-replacement surgery in December with hopes of having the second knee replaced in four or five months. By the time Anita went in for her surgery, she was “so ready to have the surgery done.”
Anita recalls the whole experience as a good one and she said she felt exceptionally well taken care of. Following the surgery, she couldn’t believe how wonderful it was to stand on her now-straight leg. That feeling surpassed her expectations.
Anita was able to stay with her daughter and have help during her recovery process. She healed very quickly and was delighted with the results. At her two-month appointment with Dr. Saterbak, Anita expressed eagerness to have the second knee replaced as soon as possible. Dr. Saterbak was “so positive and encouraging,” Anita recalls.
They scheduled her second knee replacement for April but that time couldn’t come soon enough for Anita. Her second knee replacement was just as successful as the first and at the two-month appointment following her second surgery, Anita was so excited to stand straight and tall in front of the x-ray machine. No more crooked knees to hobble around on for her! Anita described her two knee-replacement surgeries as “miracles performed for me.”
Today, Anita is living life with a renewed appreciation for the simple things in life: walking up and down stairs, no more chronic pain and easily tolerating the cold Minnesota winters.
She said she used to love to cook but gave it up when the pain became too great to stand in the kitchen. “My new knees have given me back a life I had forgotten about,” she said. “I didn’t realize until I had my new knees how much I had really given up.” Anita is once again enjoying cooking – and her friends say they can’t believe the difference it has made in her appearance and her outlook. Anita is able to stand up straight again.
Anita is busy making new memories instead of just wishing she could. She had given up traveling; but now, with her new knees, she’ll be able to visit her son in Colorado. And after years of not being able to walk on the beach at Madeline Island, Anita is able to once again enjoy her morning stroll.
June 27, 2007
Physician Assistant Ron S. had worked with orthopedic patients for more than 30 years. In February 2007, Ron became the orthopedic patient — undergoing a total knee replacement. He says the experience changed his personal and professional life.
Ron’s journey to his new JOURNEY knee began 30 years ago, when he fell off a ladder and injured his right knee. Over the years, his knee got progressively worse. Finally, his degenerative arthritis became so bad it was interfering with his sleep, and he couldn’t walk more than a few feet without extreme pain. His knee pain was preventing him from doing the things he loved to do; and work was extremely difficult, as he was required to stand for long periods of time during surgeries.
Because Ron has such an in-depth knowledge of orthopedics, he limped around for about a year as he waited for a new prosthetic to hit the market. He had researched prosthetic knees and had his eye on a new prosthetic, JOURNEY, by Smith and Nephew. The design of the JOURNEY prosthetic is geared toward younger patients who want to lead an active life. At age 55, Ron was concerned he would probably need a second knee replacement during his lifetime (because, eventually, artificial knees do wear out). Based on research, SCO surgeon Dr. Timothy Panek said he hoped the unique metal that makes up Ron’s JOURNEY prosthetic knee could last 20 years or more, double the life expectancy of other artificial knees. There are also other advantages, too. “This knee looks and acts more like a human knee – and so it acts more like a knee for the patient,” said Panek.
Ron volunteered to be the first patient at Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury to receive a JOURNEY knee. As he prepared for his total knee replacement, he was interviewed by WCCO and Smith and Nephew (who also filmed his surgery).
After surgery, that same night, Ron was already up walking around. He was able to flex his knee 120 degrees post operation; but, most importantly, the deep burning pain of his arthritic knee was gone. Ron went home the next morning, determined to complete his physical therapy on his own and get back the life he wanted to live. Two weeks after surgery, Ron went to Mexico for a work-related seminar. While he was in Mexico, he continued his therapy in the pool and enjoyed being able to walk without pain.
Ron credits Dr. Panek for his successful knee replacement. “He is an excellent surgeon who pays attention to the details,” he said.
Ron is very pleased with his new knee and is already busy putting it to the test. He loves waterskiing, deer hunting, biking and walking. Last summer, he went camping with his family and couldn’t go hiking with them. This year, Ron says, he’ll be leading them up the hiking trails out in front with the grandkids.
April 25, 2007
Mary Ann P.
Mary Ann has a long career spanning over 17 years at St. Croix Orthopaedics. On January 27, 2007, she went from employee to patient when she fractured her ankle.
Mary Ann was at a neighbor’s house for dinner and caught her foot as she walked down the steps. As she waited in the emergency room at Lakeview Hospital, she just wanted to know that everything was going to be okay with her ankle.
Mary Ann was relieved when Dr. Timothy Panek walked into her room. With her many years of experience at St. Croix Orthopaedics, his presence gave her the instant confidence that she needed as a patient. “I know how great our physicians are at St. Croix Orthopaedics,” explained Mary Ann, “and that made such a difference in my experience as a patient.”
Dr. Panek performed surgery on Mary Ann the next day and her recovery process was great. She was nonweightbearing for two weeks, so she had to rely on her daughter to drive her to work. But anyone who knows Mary Ann understands she is not someone who would read or watch TV for weeks. Mary Ann said she went from cast to ankle boot to ankle brace in six weeks.
“Dr. Panek did a phenomenal job of repairing my ankle,” noted Mary Ann. She credits his surgical skills with getting her back to work and driving again. “Being able to drive myself to work was a huge step for me. I just didn’t have time to be down with this injury.”
Mary Ann performed her part in the recovery process. She followed Dr. Panek’s post-op instructions and did physical therapy and exercises to strengthen her ankle. Her unfortunate accident did not slow her down as much as she had feared. She’s looking forward to getting back to the things she loves to do including walking her dog, gardening, and exercise walking.
“Because of this experience, I have a greater appreciation for the impact that our physicians have on people’s lives,” Mary Ann concluded. “Being a patient of St. Croix Orthopaedics has made me even more proud to be a part of this organization.”
January 15, 2007
Danielle and Diana W.
Blowing out your ACL is no laughing matter for anyone – athlete or not. When you and your twin sister are rising high-school soccer stars, a torn ACL can be a devastating injury. But two torn ACLs is doubly devastating!
Unfortunately, that was exactly what happened to Danielle and Diana. Danielle was the first to injure her knee playing soccer. After her recovery from knee surgery (performed by Dr. Andrea Saterbak), she was cleared to play again. A mere six weeks later, her twin sister Diana suffered a similar knee injury – which also required surgery.
“A lot of doctors provide good care, but she even took time out of her personal life to watch us play soccer.”
– Danielle W.
Having been a competitive athlete herself, Dr. Saterbak understood the girls’ competitive drive and was able to get them back on their feet within days after their surgery – and off crutches in a matter of weeks.
Danielle and Diana found this to be unique among the orthopedic surgeons they consulted after their injuries. “Dr. Saterbak is a great doctor because she truly cares about her patients,” Danielle said, adding with a vibrant smile, “A lot of doctors provide good care, but she even took time out of her personal life to watch us play soccer.”
The staff at St. Croix Orthopaedics was instrumental in getting these athletes back to the soccer pitch. “The SCO staff was very positive and cheerful,” Diana explained. “They joked around with us and made us feel comfortable.” Both sisters’ knees have been problem-free ever since – and the girls are back playing their sport.
The twins recently finished their final soccer season at Mahtomedi High School. The team was ranked 10th in the nation and are Minnesota State Champions. Danielle was named All-State and All-Conference goalie and Diana was a member of a summer club team that also earned state-champion honors.
There is apparently no rest for the twin high-school seniors, as they’ve both been recruited by Division I colleges to play soccer. They are currently training for their upcoming season at the College of St. Catherine’s in St. Paul, Minnesota. There, the twins will not only be teammates, but study partners as well. Both plan to become physical therapists.
Dr. Saterbak fondly recalled her experience treating Diana and Danielle. “They are exceptional individuals,” she said with admiration. “Sports participation allowed them to gain confidence in themselves. Their knee injuries presented a setback for them, but it ultimately challenged them physically and mentally to return and become better athletes and individuals.”