Bowling has been a part of Dennis Whitlock’s life for more than 40 years and an injured shoulder was not going to keep him out of the league. “I’ve bowled since I was about 17,” says Dennis, now 57. “I’m not going to stop now.”
Dennis has also been a welder at the John Deere Davenport Works for almost as long as he’s been bowling in the local Deere league. “I do a lot of lifting, pulling, and pushing every day — somewhere along the line my shoulder was going to wear out.”
His shoulder started hurting while Dennis was performing some weekend chores. “It was the middle of the bowling season and my shoulder started to hurt. I had dealt with pain before, but I went bowling any way. However the pain got worse and didn’t go away. I had trouble lifting my arm so I knew it was time to see my doctor.”
He turned to Quad City ORA Orthopedics’ Shoulder and Elbow Center.
Following X-rays and an MRI, ORA Orthopedics’ surgeon, Dr. Suleman Hussain, determined Dennis’ rotator cuff was severely torn and needed surgery. “He had a massive rotator cuff tear in the right shoulder. The tendon had shifted away from where it’s supposed to be. I see this type of injury often. It’s very common in active people who depend on their shoulders.”
Dr. Hussain explains that the rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that starts in the chest and turns into tendons that attach to the shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons are responsible for the shoulder’s stability, strength, and motion. “Patients with torn rotator cuffs experience significant shoulder pain, weakness, and limited use of their arm because the injury is actually a physical separation of the tendon from the upper arm bone.” For Dennis Whitlock, it meant surgery.
Dr. Hussain performed an arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair Dennis’ torn rotator cuff. He re-attached the tendon to the bone with small anchors made of a material that will eventually dissolve as the bone re-grows. He says advancements in outpatient arthroscopic shoulder surgery have meant smaller incisions, fewer scars, and a quicker recovery than in the past. “The incision portals for the arthroscope are less than 1 cm long — significantly smaller than traditional open surgical incisions. The result is less pain and muscle damage for the patients who are then able to return to work and the hobbies they enjoy most.”
“Dr. Hussain did a wonderful job,” adds Dennis. “Everything went well and I was home the same day. He advised me to take my time in physical therapy and not go back to work or bowling too quickly or my shoulder could tear again. Now my arm feels so much better. I rely on my shoulder to do my work every day, and I’m back up to bowling at full speed.” With an average score of 220, Dennis is still on a quest for his perfect game.