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Retiree Gets “Back To Work” After Total Shoulder Replacement

Dan Allison Success Story Feature

“I’m a hands-on kind of guy,” declares 60 year-old Daniel Allison, Eldridge, IA, who vowed that excruciating shoulder pain would not rule his life or keep him from fixing things, renovating houses, or working with his hands in general.

Daniel, a retired Deere tool and die maker and Arsenal process engineer, found that with his advancing years, shoulder pain was keeping him awake at night.

“It’s called getting old!,” he laughs. “But seriously, when you are young, you think you’re bulletproof, and then for people like myself, the old injuries and the wear and tear begin to catch up. When you lose the capacity to do the things you love, it’s time to see a doctor.”

For Daniel, it meant shoulder replacement surgery that has now made him “feel like a new man.”

daniel-inset“My Shoulder Was Toast”

Daniel blames his shoulder pain that continued to worsen over the decades from old wrestling injuries during his years at Moline High School and Black Hawk College.

In his adult life, he channeled his passion for fitness and construction into designing solutions to prevent injury and improve efficiencies at Deere’s Davenport Works.

His work in ergonomics was nationally recognized for his ideas to reduce stress and strain on manufacturing workers.

Ironically, for a professional who studied the human body and its efficient motion at work, Daniel’s shoulder pain grew worse as he entered retirement.

“I couldn’t raise my arm above my head, and the cortisone shots weren’t helping anymore. It was so bad, pain ruled my life. That’s when I knew it was time for surgery,” he recalls.

“My shoulder was toast.”

A Pain-Relieving Surgery

Steven Boardman, ORA Orthopedics
Steven Boardman, ORA Orthopedics

Dr. Steven Boardman, a board-certified surgeon from ORA Orthopedics who specializes in both total joint replacement and shoulder surgery, says Daniel’s shoulder joint had significantly deteriorated.

“Osteoarthritis is common as people age, and in Daniel’s case, the cartilage surfaces in his shoulder were completely worn down. It’s very indicative of what we call degenerative joint disease — people lose their range of motion, they experience muscle weakness, and the pain begins to limit their lives.”

Dr. Boardman, who has been practicing orthopedics for a decade and performs more than 100 shoulder operations a year, says total shoulder replacements are a viable option for patients like Daniel.

“The surgery takes about 45 minutes and the patients stay overnight at the hospital. The next day they are home, and with physical therapy, they are often back up to full strength in less than a year. It’s a wonderful, pain-relieving procedure that makes a real difference in our patient’s lives.”

Dr. Boardman credits advances in the surgery with new, durable implants that do not wear out as frequently.

“As long as our patients remain active and exercise their shoulder muscles, the implant can last several decades, depending on the health and fitness level of the patient. We find most patients can enjoy their sports, hobbies and recreational activities and be as active as they want.”