Boulder Woman Swims Barbados 10K After Shoulder Repair From Dr. Khemarin Seng

Like many Boulder natives, Julie Jones, 51, is very active. But after injuries from backcountry skiing and horseback riding, Julie had sustained too much damage to her shoulder to keep doing what she loved. 

Enter Dr. Khemarin Seng of BoulderCentre for Orthopedics & Spine, an advanced shoulder specialist who has practiced in Boulder for over 12 years. He diagnosed her problem as a rotator cuff tear, an injury, he says, that afflicts a more mature population of the 40-plus age group. The more life miles we tack on, he adds, the greater the likelihood of rotator cuff disease, especially when traumatic falls are also in the formula.

“Julie was diligent with physical therapy and a home exercise program, but she still experienced shoulder pain. Though, I have successfully treated rotator cuff injuries nonsurgically,” says Dr. Seng. “In general, the shoulder is highly responsive to physical therapy and other alternative treatments, like conditioning, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage.”

Julie and Dr. Seng had many discussions over the course of a few months. As a triathlete and master-level swimmer, Julie opted for surgery, knowing that Dr. Seng’s expertise and her own commitment to regaining a strong shoulder would produce the best possible outcome.

“He answered all my questions, and he has an excellent bedside manner. He has a very calming nature, and that helped my confidence going in,” says Julie. “Dr. Seng explained things so thoroughly and so well, and he told me he believed I could do it.” 

And he was right. Only 24 months after Dr. Seng performed her minimally invasive rotator cuff repair, Julie swam a 10K race at the Barbados Open Water Festival. “I never thought I’d be able to do a race like that,” says Julie. “But that day, I felt great; I felt strong. I felt stronger than I ever had.”

“That race really is a testament to Dr. Seng,” adds Julie. “He sewed my shoulder up good!”

“Depending on their fitness and activity level, everyone can see success up to one year from surgery,” says Dr. Seng. “I carefully watch and monitor postsurgical care along with our physical therapists. Activity level is restricted for up to four to six months. A swimmer will have different restrictions than a hiker. A CrossFit athlete will have different restrictions than a marathon runner. A tailored post-op recovery and rehab program is important in the success of rotator cuff surgery.”

Julie had the advantage of Dr. Seng’s expertise and having her procedure performed at Boulder Surgery Center, a top-rated, top-notch facility that is single-specialty focused orthopedic care. However, Julie worked hard herself, including training for several months for her open water swim in Barbados. Today, Julie says, “I am thinking about signing up for another 10K race.”

To learn more about shoulder injuries and care or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Seng, call 303.449.2730 or request an appointment online