Daily commute gives active businessman, avid golfer an unexpected ride

Next time you take an escalator, think of Jim Dombro. He rides one at least twice a day in Chicago’s Union Station on his way to and from work. However, one rainy October day on his way home Dombro was walking, not riding, down the escalator when his foot slipped and he fell backward on his outstretched right arm to break his fall. A loud “crunch” was the next thing he heard.

X-rays taken at a previously scheduled chiropractor visit the next day revealed no fractured bones, but was told he should get an MRI. It was also suggested he start physical therapy because he had a limited range of motion and was still in pain. “I am glad my chiropractor suggested an MRI because it showed I had a massive rotator cuff tear with tendon retraction and several other torn and damaged tendons,” Dombro said. “I needed more than physical therapy. I needed surgery” he lamented.

After researching his options in the greater Chicagoland area, Dombro made an appointment to see Dr. Chudik with the Shoulder, Knee and Sports Medicine Clinic in Westmont and Western Springs, Illinois.

“Jim’s injury was extensive and required urgent attention,” explained Dr. Steven Chudik. “According to the literature, surgery to repair these types of injuries has a high failure rate. However, I developed my own arthroscopic technique that produces a mechanically sound repair and gets better-than-average results,” he added.

According to Dombro, he and Dr. Chudik developed a treatment plan that allowed him to continue working because of critical end-of-year deadlines. Dombro scheduled his surgery for the last week in January, but between November and his surgery, Dr. Chudik prescribed “pre-hab” or pre-surgery rehabilitation. “Dr. Chudik explained it was very important that I regain my range of motion and build strength since my surgery was several months off,” Dombro said. “He also did not want any scar tissue forming that can happen from inactivity and said it would make recovery much easier.”

Dombro dutifully went to physical therapy during his lunch hour prior to his surgery and is very glad he did. “Dr. Chudik told me my surgery was very complicated and it took several hours for him to mobilize and repair my massive retracted tears,” he explained.

Within a few days of his surgery, Dombro began post-surgical physical therapy and returned to work after four weeks. “I felt great and the physical therapists told me they could tell I had done pre-surgery rehabilitation by how quickly and easily they were able to achieve full rotation on my shoulder,” Dombro said. “Dr. Chudik explained to me that getting my full range of motion back was critical to a complete recovery,” he added.

Dombro credits three key things that motivated him and got him through his rotator cuff injury and recovery—his goal of playing golf again, Dr. Chudik’s attention to his pre- and postoperative care, and Dr. Chudik’s arthroscopic surgical expertise. “After learning how extensive my injury was, I’m so thankful I had Dr. Chudik as my surgeon. Now if he could just do something about removing a few strokes from my game,” he joked. However, he does not joke when he adds, “You can be sure every escalator now gets my full attention and I also ride them—not walk them anymore.”