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Patient Testimonials

Read what everyone is saying about TCO

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

Jelena Z.

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


December 12, 2007

Anita L.

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.

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.”

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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.

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