Nothing is Routine

Each patient who comes to Billings Clinic Orthopedics & Sport Medicine with joint pain or an injury is assessed as a unique individual. No two treatment plans are the same.

The physician and staff work with the patient and family to help choose the best individualized treatment plan for them. Finding the best solution for relieving pain and getting each patient back to their highest quality of life is our ultimate goal.

Maddie - high school track star, soccer player

Maddie Behind the Scenes - Orthopedic Patient Story
Behind the Scenes of Maddie's Story (2 min. 36 sec.)

One minute you’re a track state champ playing soccer to keep your legs fresh in the off season, the next minute you’re lying on the ground clinching your knee. Something popped, it doesn’t feel right. A flood of thoughts race through your mind, “what happened to my knee!” - “why can’t I put any pressure on my leg?” - “will I race track ever again?” This was Maddie. She was a soccer player at West High, and most of all, a two-time defending State AA champion in the 100- and 200-meter dash. Track is her passion.

A soccer game injury on Saturday, September 17, 2016, left her track hopes and dreams in question. Maddie had torn her ACL and Miniscus and pulled her MCL, which is called a triple triad of the knee.

Her mom, Rebecca, had heard about the great orthopedic surgeons at Billings Clinic so she called and got Maddie in for an MRI the Monday after the fateful game. Just eleven days after the injury, Maddie had ACL reconstruction surgery with Dr. Guy Schmidt, orthopedic surgeon and his  Physician Assistant, Elie Soueidi.

The first three weeks after surgery were tough for this track star as she was on crutches for all non-weight bearing activities. Physical therapy was a welcome change as she met with Billings Clinic Physical Therapist, Adam Leachman, before and after school. Adam even met Maddie at the West High track to work on specified movements that would help her get back to running. While at Billings Clinic Rehabilitation Services at Granite West, Maddie worked on the Alter G, anti-gravity treadmill, which allowed her to rehabilitate with less pain and to heal faster.

“I really needed to keep up with what the physical therapists and doctors told me to do; otherwise, I would never have gotten back to where I am now,” Maddie said. In January Maddie started jogging and doing squats, working out on her own in the early mornings and evenings.

In March, barely six months after the injury, she started working out with her track team. She made her triumphant return to competition at the Billings West Quad Invitational on April 6th, where she took first place in the 4-1 meter relay with a time of 1 minute, 0.54 seconds.

“It was a lot to take in,” she said. “When I was setting up for my first race after the injury I almost teared up, but I contained myself. I was so happy I was back, but didn’t want to cry because people might think I was in pain.”

Maddie, is in great spirits, and pain free. “Everything happens for a reason.” Maddie says. “Hard work pays off in the end.”

Maddie’s care and treatment was anything but routine. Today, Maddie is continuing to compete and excel in all her track events.

Karri - mom, nurse, avid cross trainer

Karri Behind the Scenes - Orthopedic Patient Story
Behind the Scenes of Karri's Story (3 min. 31 sec.)

One of Karri Vesey's biggest dreams was to participate in Spartan Races; the Sprint, Super, and the Beast. She gathered a team of her cross-training athlete friends from her box to join her on this journey. They completed the Super Spartan, in Mesquite Nevada, March of 2016 and planned to compete in the Beast in Big Fork in May of that year.

May 7th, was the day to conquer the Beast. They were ready for the glorious views and rewarding climbs. Sandbag carrying, barbed wire crawl, net climb and the infamous wall.

Motivating the team was Karri’s favorite part of the races. They were all doing well and the team made it to the 12-mile mark, and the infamous wall. Coming over the 8-foot wall, Karri caught herself twisting as she came down and landed sideways on her left leg. Her femur went one way and her tibia went the other. Being a nurse, she knew it was not good, however she only had 1.2 miles left and desperately wanted to finish, so she tried to get up. After realizing she couldn’t put any weight on her leg, her heart sank. She felt like she was letting her team down as she was taken down the last hill of the race by medics.

Dr. Noah Marks, orthopedic surgeon, took a look at her MRI and saw that her ACL was rolled up underneath her meniscus. Karri would need ACL reconstruction and partial Meniscectomy. June 9th was surgery day where they took a hamstring graft to build her a new ACL.

“Dr. Marks is so wonderful,” she said. “He checked on me at home and let me know I could call him anytime if I had questions about my recovery.”

The orthopedic team’s care and treatment was specialized to fit Karri’s athletic lifestyle and needs. Her Physical Therapist, Bill Dolan, PT, worked closely with Dr. Marks and provided a team approach to her care. Karri knows there’s nothing routine about that.

Today, Karri mentions, “my injured leg is now called my good leg.” She is back to playing with her daughter like she used to and attending cross training classes, hoping one day, she will conquer that Beast.

Chris - skier, snowboarder, martial artist, mechanic

Chris - Orthopedic Patient Story

Chris Walters, age 58, is an extremely active man. Between a 40-year career as a mechanic, coaching baseball, refereeing soccer, skiing and snowboarding with his family most winter weekends and teaching martial arts twice a week, Chris got to the point where the wear and tear on his hip joints was limiting what he could do without severe pain.

His wife, Susan Walters, encouraged him to see Dr. Whitney Robinson, an experienced orthopedic surgeon with Billings Clinic. Dr. Whitney Robinson advised him he needed to have both hips replaced. Chris decided to have them done at the same time because he didn’t want to leave his employer short-staffed during two medical leaves. His boss at Rapid Tire in Laurel appreciated his loyalty and accommodated his medical leave.

Chris was a great candidate for surgery because he was in good shape physically. Both hips were replaced in March of 2017 and he was off of work for 3 weeks and then returned to light duty. Chris began rehab right away with the hospital physical and occupational therapists. He was determined to work as hard as he could to get back to doing the things he loved.

He continued rehab with physical therapist, Adam Leachman, at Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and was recently released from therapy. Chris is back working six days a week as the Service Writer at Rapid Tire.

Chris is back to his routine of getting up at 5:30am, fixing a healthy smoothie and doing some chores around the house. He does some stretches and exercises every morning. Chris is teaching and training in karate again with Susan who is also an instructor.

Chris and Susan know there was nothing routine about Billings Clinic’s choices for Chris’ care. Doing both hips at one time can be difficult, but with good care and dedication to rehab, Chris and his team made it work very well. He is looking forward to getting back to the ski hill and enjoying time with his four grandkids. He already is enjoying bicycling to work every day and taking nightly walks with Susan and their dogs.

Chris is very grateful for the expertise of Dr Robinson and his team. The damage to his hips was slow and gradual but the recovery has been quick and he improves daily.

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