In 1999 Ron Thramer had rotator cuff surgery on his right arm. Over the years, the work that had been done had slowly deteriorated, and he was living life in pain.
“I kept putting it off,” explained Ron. “I lived with the pain instead of going in to find a solution. For years, I couldn’t sleep through the night because it was so bad.”
Finally, he saw an advertisement for Altru Advanced Orthopedics showing people living “pain-free, not fun free” and considered it a sign. Living in Roseau, Minnesota, Ron went to Altru Clinic and met with Dr. Jeremy Gardner, an orthopedic surgeon at Altru Advanced Orthopedics who visits regularly.
“Dr. Gardner told me – your shoulder is in really bad shape. Luckily, I know a guy who can fix it.”
Dr. Gardner referred Ron to his colleague, Dr. Darin Leetun, who specializes in shoulder surgery and completes more complex cases. Dr. Leetun reviewed Ron’s case and walked him through the options.
“He asked me what I expected out of the surgery. I said if he could make the constant pain go away and help build back some strength, that I’d be happy,” remembers Ron. “ He told me he could do that, so we moved ahead. I am so happy I did.”
Ron had surgery on his rotator cuff in January of 2016. Dr. Leetun repaired damage and had to include donor tissue to replace the tendons in Ron’s shoulder that were too badly damaged. He referred Ron back to Altru Clinic in Roseau after the surgery so that he could receive physical therapy in his hometown.
Now, nine months after the surgery, Ron is proud to share that, like the advertisement promised, he’s living ‘pain-free, not fun-free.’ “As long as I don’t overdo an activity, there’s no pain,” shared Ron. He’s been able to complete tasks at work with the highway department and at his electric business, Thramer Electric, without having to think about how to avoid pain. And, he’s been able to pick up some of the hobbies he’d left behind when he was living in pain.
“I hadn’t golfed in two years,” he shared. “Dr. Leetun told me to go for it, and though I haven’t had the time to play a round, I swung the club a few times this summer – and there was no pain. Hunting is also much more enjoyable. I can climb into deer stands, I can better support my gun, and most of all I can enjoy it without thinking about the pain.”
Ron’s advice for people who are avoiding addressing their joint pain – don’t. He even referred a co-worker who was much like him to see Dr. Leetun about his shoulder, which had been bothering for years. He’s now on the same path as Ron toward a life without shoulder pain.
“My advice to people is to take care of it now. There’s no good time to have surgery, but the longer you put it off, the worse it gets. And, the more things in life you miss.”