Perhaps more than any other medical issue, orthopedic injuries and conditions occur across all age ranges and types of people. From broken bones and back pain to arthritis and tendonitis, the Surgery and Orthopedics Center at PeaceHealth’s Sedro-Woolley Clinic provides a robust array of treatment options.
Located on the PeaceHealth United General Medical Center campus, the clinic provides surgical and non-surgical treatment for a variety of finger, hand, wrist, ankle, elbow, shoulder, back, knee and hip issues. In addition to onsite imaging like x-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI, both physical and occupational therapies are available.
“We’re developing into a well-rounded clinic here,” says Kaarsten Lang, MD, a PeaceHealth orthopedic surgeon with particular experience in carpal tunnel and other hand-based conditions.
Lang says technology in orthopedics has advanced tremendously in recent years.
“The way we image things is better, the ways we use imaging in our practices are better,” she says. “We’re able to do more things on an outpatient basis. Things that you’d be in the hospital for three to five days are now overnight and/or outpatient.”
Dr. Jeff Krusniak, DO, is another of the Sedro-Woolley clinic’s expert orthopedic surgeons. As a general surgeon, he handles fracture care, shoulder and knee arthroscopies, and adult reconstruction of hips and knees.
“Doing things in a much more outpatient setting has dramatically improved outcomes and patient care,” he says. “I think patients would rather be at their home recovering than in the hospital recovering, and we’ve been able to facilitate that by improving pain management and anesthesia techniques, as well as post-operative physical therapy and home care opportunities.”
Krusniak says he takes a conservative approach to surgery, meaning that anything he can do to help a patient get better without it is always his preferred choice.
With the exception of hip and knee replacements and major emergency fractures of long bones like the tibia or fibula that require trips to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, the Sedro-Woolley clinic can accommodate most orthopedic surgeries. “The vast majority of orthopedic conditions that people encounter can be treated here locally,” Krusniak adds. “It’s a good resource for the community.”
Sedro-Woolley Doctors Talk About Avoiding Orthopedic Issues
Both Krusniak and Lang say that good lifestyle habits are a sure-fire way to minimize your risk of needing to see them in a clinical setting.
“The same type of lifestyle choices that are healthy for your heart and your blood pressure, and minimize your risk of developing cancer, many of those things are likewise healthy for your bones and joints,” Krusniak says.
These include maintaining a healthy diet and body weight, as well as a regular exercise routine. As people age, they lose flexibility, balance, coordination and core strength, Krusniak adds, so doing whatever you can to battle against that makes a difference.
“Even if you get arthritis, maintaining flexibility and strength around an arthritic joint can often help minimize the need for surgery,” he says.
And when it comes to which exercises are best, Krusniak says it should be whatever various activities you can handle and most enjoy. Because if you don’t like doing it, he says, you probably won’t.
Likewise, Lang says that low impact exercise like walking is always ideal. Keeping your weight in a good spot is also critical, as those who are overweight are more likely to encounter a litany of orthopedic conditions.
“People that stay fit and active are the ones who tend to stay away from the orthopedic surgeon,” she says.
Getting Scheduled at PeaceHeath’s Sedro-Woolley Clinic
Most patients can be seen relatively quickly at the Surgery and Orthopedics Center at PeaceHealth’s Sedro-Woolley Specialty Clinic, though Lang reminds patients that timeframes often depend on the individual practitioner and time of year. While winter brings an abundance of ski injuries, summer lends itself to more patients with mountain bike and rock-climbing issues. The clinic also maintains a busy elective surgery schedule.
But as you’d expect, the more urgent the issue, the more quickly someone will be seen. “We have a dedicated team of orthopedic trauma doctors that handle all the trauma cases in Bellingham,” Lang says.
Less urgent injuries requiring eventual surgery can be discharged from an emergency room with splints or casts, with in-clinic follow-up to schedule surgery at the soonest convenience. Even if you need a trip to Bellingham for surgery, you might not even need a referral: Krusniak does some of Bellingham’s more involved orthopedic surgeries himself, with patients able to receive much ofS their after-care back in Skagit County.
So whatever orthopedic issues are causing pain or mobility issues in your life, know that the PeaceHealth team at the Sedro-Woolley Clinic are here to help.
For more information on orthopedic services, see the PeaceHealth website.