Your Trusted Leader for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine

The Minnesota Center for Orthopaedics (MCO) at Riverwood Healthcare Center offers state-of-the-art diagnosis, outpatient treatment and rehabilitation for all types of bone, joint and musculoskeletal conditions. We offer specialists in hip, knee and shoulder joint replacement, hand, wrist and elbow expertise, and sports medicine. Our comprehensive orthopaedic care includes preoperative education throughout surgery and hospital stays to postoperative visits with your orthopaedic team and physical therapy. With a staff of highly educated, trained, and personable surgeons and specialists on your team, you will receive the highest level of orthopaedic care.

For same-day orthopaedic care Monday-Friday, call 218-927-5181.

Patients & Referring Physicians, Brianna is here to help

As the Orthopaedic Coordinator, Brianna Brophy, RN, is the go-to nurse for Riverwood orthopaedic patients, especially those having total joint replacements. She can answer patient questions and concerns before surgery, during hospitalization and after discharge to home.

To refer a patient for orthopaedic care at Riverwood in Aitkin, call our Specialty Clinic at 218-927-5181. Brianna is available to answer questions from referring physicians or patients referred for orthopaedic care.

For information or questions, call Brianna directly at 218-670-0894.



Take a virtual tour of our Orthopaedics department.

Our Trusted Team for Orthopaedics

Our orthopaedic team offers surgical and non-surgical solutions to reduce pain, increase mobility and improve the quality of life. See the special expertise each provider brings to patient care. We offer same-day access to orthopaedic care, Monday-Friday, with Nurse Practitioner Josh Jacobson. Call 218-927-5181 to make a same-day appointment.

Kate Sarlette, PA-C

Therapy Services

Our orthopaedic team includes experienced physical therapists who coach and guide patients’ recovery before and after surgery. Therapists help hip or knee joint replacement patients get up and walking on the day of surgery and set a schedule for ongoing therapy as needed. To schedule a therapy appointment, call 218-927-5580. Visit Therapy Services for additional information.

Frequently Asked Questions

A fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon is a doctor who has completed an additional year of specialty training in a specific field of orthopaedic surgery with an accredited fellowship program. There are fellowships in several areas of orthopaedics: hip and knee, foot and ankle, hand and wrist, back, neck and spine. Additionally, orthopaedic surgeons may focus on a specific field of orthopaedics, like pediatrics, sports medicine, and trauma.
Arthritis literally means "joint inflammation." Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and other conditions that cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that damages the lining surrounding our joints while also destroying our bones, tissue, and joints over time. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that slowly damages the cartilage surrounding the ends of bones and is common in the hip, knee, and spine.
Corticosteroids, more commonly referred to as cortisone, are a steroid that is produced in the body naturally. Synthetically produced, it can also be injected into soft tissues and joints to help decrease inflammation. While cortisone is not a pain reliever, pain may diminish as a result of reduced inflammation. In orthopaedics, cortisone injections are commonly used as a treatment for chronic conditions such as bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis to reduce swelling, pain, and joint stiffness.
Total joint replacement means replacing both sides of the weight-bearing surfaces of the affected joint. In the knee, it means replacing both the thin cartilage surface on the lower joint surface, which is the tibia, and the upper joint surface, which is the femur. Also, the joint surface under the kneecap is replaced. This requires removing the thin cartilage surface and a thin surface of bone for replacement with a metal and plastic surface. This allows all movement of the joint to occur between the metal and plastic parts rather than by the raw bone left by arthritis.
Joint replacement surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed to replace an arthritic or damaged joint with a new, artificial joint, called a prosthesis. Joint replacements can be performed on every joint in the body, but most commonly performed in the knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow. Joints contain cartilage, a soft, rubbery gel-like coating on the ends of bones where they come together, which protects joints and facilitates movement over time. If the joint has been injured, the cartilage wears away and the bones of the joint start rubbing together. As the bones rub together, bone spurs may form, and the joint becomes stiff and painful. Most people have joint replacement surgery when they can no longer control the pain with medication and other non-operative treatments, and the pain is significantly interfering with their lives and/or activities of daily living.
During primary total joint replacement, the hip or knee joint is replaced with an implant, or prosthesis, made of metal and plastic components. Although most total joint replacements are very successful, over time, problems such as implant wear and loosening may require a revision procedure to replace the original components. At Riverwood, Dr. Erik Severson specializes in performing total joint replacement revisions, as well a primary surgery, for total knee or hip replacements. During this procedure, he removes some or all of the parts of the original prosthesis and replaces them with new ones. Research has shown that most total joint replacements will last 20+ years.
In shoulder replacement surgery, a surgeon replaces the ends of the damaged upper arm bone and usually the shoulder bone, or caps them with artificial surfaces lined with plastic or metal and plastic. The top end of the upper arm bone is shaped like a ball. Muscles and ligaments hold this ball against a cup-shaped part of the shoulder bone. A newer procedure called a reverse total shoulder replacement, which is performed at Riverwood by Dr. Jonathan Herseth, is designed for people who have painful arthritis in their shoulder and also have damage to the muscles around the shoulder, like the rotator cuff.
Physical therapists are trained to improve movement and function, relieve pain, and expand the potential for mobility through special exercises, body mechanics, and treatment programs. For those suffering from joint pain, physical therapy works to strengthen joints that have been weakened by damage and inflammation. Targeted exercises can help reduce joint pain and stiffness, as well as improve range of motion, making you more mobile. Through evaluation and treatment, physical therapists can also help prevent and treat athletic injuries.
Sports medicine healthcare providers have specialized training to restore function to injured patients so they can get moving again as soon as possible. They are experts in preventing illness and injury in active people. Sports medicine healthcare providers may work with professional athletes, but they also treat children and teens involved in sports and adults who exercise for personal fitness. Plus, they treat people who have physically demanding jobs, like construction workers. At Riverwood, we offer sports medicine expertise from Dr. Austin Krohn who is fellowship trained in sports medicine and sees orthopaedics patients one day a week at our specialty clinic in Aitkin.
The general rule of thumb is to use ice in the acute stage of an injury (within the first 24-48 hours), or whenever swelling is showing. Ice helps to reduce inflammation and swelling by decreasing blood flow to the area that is injured. The general guideline is to apply ice indirectly (not directly on the skin) for 20 minutes, remove the ice for at least 20 minutes, and repeat as necessary. Heat is used to increase blood flow, which helps promote pain relief after inflammation and swelling subside. Heat is also used to assist in warming muscles up prior to exercise, any physical activity, or physical therapy.

Rapid Recovery Patient Outcomes

MCO developed an innovative Rapid Recovery Protocol that manages pain throughout all phases of hip or knee replacement surgery. Many patients are able to go home one to two days after joint replacement surgery. However, each patient is looked at individually and discharge plans are based on a patient’s needs. With the Rapid Recovery Protocol, patients on average rate their pain on day 1 of surgery 2.8 on a scale of 1 to 10 vs. 4.4 for patients pre Rapid Recovery. Knee replacement patients are typically discharged from the hospital in less than two days with the Rapid Recovery Protocol when the national average is three to four days.

MCO Leadership & National Expertise

  • Erik Severson developed the Rapid Recovery Program, a leading edge joint replacement protocol, that has proven outcome enhancements for total joint replacement patients, including shorter hospital stays, less pain and faster recovery. He has been recognized nationally for his surgical technical excellence and innovative abilities to solve orthopedic joint problems.
  • In the past few years, Dr. Erik Severson and team have performed 550 to 600 total joint replacements annually. By 2030, that number is expected to grow to 1,200 or more total joint replacements annually in Aitkin and Crosby.
  • MCO clinicians regularly present high-level research on joint care treatment at professional orthopaedic conferences across the country annually.

Riverwood Patient Success Stories


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