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Debra Jones Recovers from Complex Rotator Cuff Surgery


rotator cuff, rotator cuff surgery, rotator cuff physical therapy, debra jones

Debra Jones pictured here hard at work rehabbing her rotator cuff post-surgery in Integrated Orthopedics’ physical therapy clinic. 

Debra Jones is a recent retiree who is originally from Ohio & California and now resides in Scottsdale. Both Debra and her husband Ted have been long-time patients of Dr. Brian Gruber, board certified orthopedic surgeon.

“We wouldn’t go to anyone else,” said Debra. “He is just really good at what he does. Over the years, I’ve seen Dr. Gruber for several orthopedic related injuries and he never steers me wrong.”

In January 2017, Debra began having shoulder pain. She initially got an injection and did physical therapy with Jessica Tate, PT, DPT, which produced great improvement, but in late February, while walking on some uneven terrain, Debra fell and broke her wrist, which resulted in an emergency ER visit and surgery to repair it.

After her initial follow-up with the ER doctor who repaired her broken wrist, Debra had her case transferred to Dr. Gruber’s office. She completed physical therapy for her wrist with Jessica. Debra’s physical therapy on her wrist produced great results, but as she became more physically active her shoulder once again began to hurt.

X-rays revealed her rotator cuff was not just torn, but was completely separated from the bone. While some rotator cuff cases can be handled conservatively without surgery, for Debra, the only option was rotator cuff surgery.

“Dr. Gruber, who is always open and honest, let me know the recovery and physical therapy could take up to a year.” Debra remarked.

During Debbie’s scheduled arthroscopic surgery to repair her rotator cuff, Dr. Gruber discovered that the screw he originally planned to use to attach the tendon back to the bone would not work due to her bone not being strong enough.

“Dr. Gruber had to open up my arm so that he could attach a bigger screw,” shared Debra. “I had to be in a sling for several weeks to keep the arm immobile so that the bone could grow around the screw.”

After those initial weeks in a sling to begin the healing process, Debra was approved to start physical therapy with Jessica. “We started slowly and worked our way up to weights, and over time we’ve continued to add additional weights. Jessica always keeps a watchful eye during therapy and makes sure I am doing the exercises correctly and also provides lots of encouragement,” said Debra.

Debra added that Jessica is an incredibly skilled therapist who is gifted at knowing exactly what work needs to be done at each physical therapy session. “She also truly cares about her patients and their physical therapy outcomes.”

Debra added that her husband Ted has also been a physical therapy patient of Jessica.

Debra has been through a lot with her shoulder and wrist surgeries, but she is pleased with where she is at now in her recovery. “I’m now at 95% and will continue physical therapy though June. I am back to walking again for exercise, and I can do all my daily/weekly household activities – which I could not do before – like cleaning the floors, wiping the countertops and pushing a grocery cart.” said Debra.

Both my husband and I highly recommend Dr. Gruber, Jessica and the entire team at Integrated Orthopedics.  I think they are the best orthopedic and physical therapy team in the Valley – they have created a wonderful atmosphere and are clinically excellent.”

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