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‘You don’t have to live with pain’

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists works to return patients to healthy, active lifestyle without limits

Dr. Dennis Weigel performs a clinic exam with a patient at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists in Alexandria. Weigel has practiced with Heartland for about 19 years. Contributed photo

Living in constant pain while trying to pursue an active daily lifestyle can be a grind.

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists has been helping patients with musculoskeletal (bone and joint) problems for the past 45 years.

Because of the myriad of services and individual needs doctors provide there, the practice continues to grow.

“When I started here 19 years ago, there were only four doctors,” said Dr. Dennis Weigel. “Now there are 12. And the technology continues to advance, too.”

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists has the expertise, the experience, and the technology to deliver exceptional orthopedic care, specialized to meet your individual needs. The specialty-trained doctors provide treatment for orthopedic injuries and conditions affecting the ankle, elbow, foot, hand, hip, knee, shoulder, and wrist, as well as joint replacement, podiatry, sport medicine, and therapeutic neuromuscular care.

“Our goal is for our patients to have a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Weigel. “We offer comprehensive musculoskeletal care, we have a lot of experienced physicians who are board-certified, and we keep up with continuing education so we can provide our patients with the best care possible.”

One of the patients at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists is a retired, longtime schoolteacher named Shirley, who enjoys walking and exercising.

“I could always work through some discomfort in my hip and it didn’t limit me,” said Shirley of Alexandria.

She eventually developed a noticeable hitch or limp in her walk that impeded her daily routine. Shirley made an appointment at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists where it was discovered she had hip degeneration that had progressed rapidly.

Dr. Aaron Balgaard running a hands-on demonstration of the robotic arm in May with a group of high school students from Alexandria. Contributed photo

In just seven short months, X-rays revealed that Shirley went from having some cartilage of the hip joint to none at all.

“I had constant pain in the hip for the net three or four months, especially with prolonged sitting and getting out of bed in the morning,” said Shirley, 56. “The pain was affecting my lifestyle and limiting the things I enjoy at my age.”

Shirley decided to have hip replacement surgery at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists.

“I feel so fortunate to have (Heartland Orthopedics’ Joint Replacement Center) right here in Alexandria,” she said. “Dr. Weigel and the staff were all terrific.”

Seven months after her surgery, Shirley has no limitations.

“I forget I even had the procedure done,” she noted. “I can walk five miles again if I want. My suggestion to those considering surgery…You don’t have to live with the pain. Get the surgery done and get back to your life.”

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists’ commitment to delivering excellence in orthopedic care continues through its many services: • Sports Medicine • Physical Therapy • Digital X-Ray • Durable Medical Equipment • Electromyography (EMG) • Surgery Center • Ultrasound

“We are the first in the region to use a robotic-arm assisted system for joint replacement surgery,” said Dr. Weigel. “This technology enables surgeons to be more accurate when performing total knee, hip, and partial knee replacements.”

The robotic-arm assisted technology was first introduced to Heartland Orthopedic Specialists’ patients on March 6, 2019. Benefits of Mako’s the robotic-arm assisted technology include: • Implants designed for natural, normal movement. • Less pain and quicker recovery time than traditional joint replacements. • Personalized surgical plans based on a patient’s anatomy for longer-lasting joints. • Reduced risk of complications.

At Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, providers understand that being your best matters, and each one is dedicated to delivering the exceptional, compassionate care a patient needs in order to return to a healthy, active lifestyle without limitations.

“West Central Minnesota is a great place to live,” said Heartland Orthopedic Specialists’ Administrator Mike Doyle. “There are many outdoor activities we can enjoy here and we want our patients to enjoy some of those things without dealing with so much pain.”

Dr. Sig Feierabend talks with a patient at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, a service of Alomere Health. Contributed photo

Since 1974, doctors and staff members at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists have been trusted orthopedic experts in Alexandria, Willmar, Morris, Appleton, Graceville, Wadena, Fergus Falls, and the surrounding areas.

“We strive to return each of our patients back to their active lifestyles as quickly and comfortably as possible,” said Doyle. “We see some of these people at church, fishing or at a store. And seeing them enjoying life again makes it all worthwhile. That’s why we are here.”

Another one of Heartland Orthopedic’s Specialists’ patients, Forrest of Alexandria, injured his left knee many years ago while living in Hastings and eventually had to undergo arthroscopic surgery.

The pain in his knee returned, however, and for four years Forrest tried non-operative treatments for his joint pain.

“I recall having constant discomfort,” he said. “I put up with the pain as long as I could before I decided to have my knee joint replacement.”

Forrest feels that the pre-op physical therapy performed months prior to his surgery was very beneficial.

“The whole Joint Replacement Center plan was good and well thought out,” he said. “Other patients I have talked to have had good experiences as well.”

In fact, Forrest was so pleased with the results, he became a repeat patient.

“My first knee replacement surgery went so well that I decided to have the other knee done,” he said. “I am enjoying doing my daily activities and performing yard work without any pain.”

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists has been rated one of the top orthopedic facilities in both the state and in the nation.

“We take a lot of pride in all of the work we do,” said Angela Miller, the Joint Care Coordinator. “We perform over 700 hip and knee replacements a year. We have been recognized nationally for our patient outcomes while maintaining a high patient satisfaction rating.”

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists surgeon, Dr. Eric Nelson, presents information at one of its free community education seminars around the area. Contributed photo

Some of Heartland’s affiliates and activities in the community include: • Awarded by various independent health care organizations for excellence in medical care and patient safety. • Top 10 percent in the State and Top 10 percent in the nation for joint replacement. • Free community lectures/seminars on orthopedics. • Orthopedic questions and answers with the local media. • Medical coverage at 13 area high schools.

“We offer high-quality procedures at a lower cost care here, according to Blue Cross/Blue Shield,” said Doyle. “And because we have a large spectrum of physicians who offer geriatric care to sports medicine, you can find a provider to fit you.”

The following are physicians at Heartland Orthopedic Specialists in Alexandria:

Jefferson C. Brand, M.D.: Fellowship-Trained Sports Medicine Specialist, Shoulder & Elbow, Hand & Wrist, Hip, Knee. Paul A. Dale, M.D.: Joint Replacements, Shoulder & Elbow, Hand & Wrist, Hip, Knee. Dennis P. Weigel, M.D.: Shoulder & Elbow, Hand & Wrist, Hip, Knee. Thomas E. Dudley, M.D.: Hand & Wrist, Shoulder & Elbow, Hip, Knee. Eric W. Nelson, M.D.: Sports Medicine, Shoulder & Elbow, Hand & Wrist, Hip, Knee. Siegfried Feierabend, M.D.: Joint Replacement, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, Hand & Wrist. Emily J.M. Monroe, M.D.: Fellowship-Trained Sports Medicine Specialist, Shoulder & Elbow, Hip, Knee. Aaron J. Balgaard, M.D.: Hip, Joint Replacement, Knee, Shoulder, Sports Medicine. Russell S. Sticha, D.P.M.: Foot & Ankle Specialist. James E, Andrews Jr., D.O.: Therapeutic Neuromuscular Care. Timothy E. Lindley, M.D., Ph.D.: Back, Neck & Spine Surgery, Neurosurgery Jonathan Harvey, M.D.: Fellowship-Trained Nonsurgical Sports Medicine

Heartland Orthopedic Specialists, a service of Alomere Health, is located at 111 17th Ave. East, Suite 101, in Alexandria. Office hours are Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, call (320) 421-8941, visit their website at or ‘Like’ Heartland Orthopedic Specialists on Facebook.

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