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A team approach to healing

When you live an active life and injure both your shoulder and your wrist, you need a team committed to getting you back on the horse — or in Travis Rumbaugh’s case, the bike — fast. Great Basin Orthopaedics was the team Travis needed.  

When there’s sweet single-track calling your name and a hillside of chukar to chase, there’s just no time to be sidelined with injury. At least that’s how Travis Rumbaugh felt after injuring his shoulder in the fall of 2019.  

Travis was wrenching on his classic Camaro when he felt, and heard, an unsettling “pop.” Having been a patient at Great Basin Orthopaedics (GBO) three years earlier when he broke his elbow, Travis knew just where to go to get the care he needed to get back in the action.

Related: Arming herself with solutions

With surgery scheduled to repair his torn rotator cuff, labrum and bicep tendon — a surgery he knew would involve a lengthy recovery — Travis wanted to get out for one last hurrah. Because he could still use his injured shoulder, he chose to ride his mountain bike at Northstar (to be clear, he did not check with his doctor first who would not have been on board with the plan). Unfortunately, his day ended prematurely and painfully with a broken wrist.

Step 1: Repairing the wrist

Fortunately, Dr. Timothy Dooley at GBO was able to see Travis right away and assess the wrist. The assessment: It was “a mess,” Travis recalls of the conversation with Dr. Dooley, with the doctor showing him an x-ray with multiple fractures. While surgery was on the table, Dr. Dooley saw the potential for non-surgical treatment. Travis was on board, so Dooley used traction to get his wrist realigned, x-rayed it to ensure good alignment, then cast it immediately to keep everything in place.

“Had I gone to another doctor, there’s a good chance they would have done surgery right away,” says Travis. “Dr. Dooley warned me it might not hold, but we felt it was worth trying to avoid surgery.”

Related: Cheering for continuity of care

Two weeks later, x-rays showed the wrist was still well aligned and Travis could heal without surgery. But there was still the matter of the shoulder. The GBO team and decided it was best to wait for the wrist to heal before operating on the shoulder. Travis’ shoulder surgery was delayed while he worked with GBO’s hand therapy specialist Cindy Hartman.

Next up: Shoulder surgery

In October of 2019, Travis went in for shoulder surgery, repairing the rotator cuff, labrum and bicep tendon. A week later, he started physical therapy.

“I had great range of motion right away,” Travis explains. “I could walk my fingers all the way up the wall.”

Travis was so pleased with the care he received, he bought his GBO care team lunch.

“They’re just very accommodating, very care-oriented people,” he says. “They’re real people, and they look at you as a real person — they have the same interests.”

Related: Patient gets three shoulder repairs in one surgery

Travis continues to be diligent with both his shoulder and wrist PT. He’s eager to get back to bike riding and hunting and is counting the days until his next bike adventure. Today, his shoulder pain is negligible, and his wrist continues to improve.

Dr. Dooley is an avid cyclist and outdoorsman, so certainly understood Travis’ desire to get back outside. But every GBO patient receives expert care, tailored to their needs and goals, and focused on getting them back to doing what they love. To make an appointment with one of our surgeons, call 786.1600.