Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Professional Motocross Rider Returns to the Sport He Loves


Submitted by Mississippi Valley Surgery Center

For Kurtis Manderscheid from Maquoketa, Iowa, motocross is more than a recreational activity — it’s a passion. So when a broken wrist resulted in painful pressure in his forearm that made it unbearable to ride, he knew he had to take action.

“I saw motocross on TV for the first time when I was 8 years old, and I knew right away that it was what I wanted to do with my life. After years of begging my parents, they finally bought me my first dirt bike when I was 11. I started racing in 2002 at local tracks around Iowa and Illinois,” said Kurtis. “After nine years of racing as an amateur, I earned my pro license.”

Motocross — a form of off-road motorcycle racing — is held in all weather conditions on enclosed off-road circuits. The fact that a motocross racer must keep complete control of a bike weighing 200 lbs. or more — while maintaining their top speed throughout numerous laps of the race — makes the sport very physically demanding. 

When Kurtis broke his right wrist during a training run in Oklahoma in 2012, he turned to Dr. Tyson Cobb, a fellowship-trained hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder surgeon with Orthopaedic Specialists (OS).

Dr. Cobb was able to fix the break by inserting pins into his wrist. But when Kurtis started riding again the scar tissue from his break lead him to develop a condition common with motocross riders called chronic exertional compartment syndrome or “arm pump.” The condition makes arms feel like concrete blocks and often causes hands to go numb.

“The pain in my arm was starting to get in the way of me riding, so I knew I had to find the best solution,” said Kurtis.

After visiting with multiple other doctors, Kurtis again turned to Dr. Cobb for help. Together they agreed on conservative treatments and chiropractor visits to see if that would help alleviate the pain. When that didn’t help, Dr. Cobb performed a minimally invasive surgical procedure on Kurtis’ right forearm at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, a multi-specialty outpatient surgery center in Davenport.

The minimally invasive procedure worked. Only one week after surgery, the professional athlete was back on his bike and ready to take on the motocross world.

What is chronic exertional compartment syndrome?
Chronic exertional compartment syndrome causes pain, swelling and sometimes even disability in affected muscles of the legs or arms. Pain of the affected limb starts shortly after exercising and progressively worsens. It ranges from aching, burning, tightness, numbness and weakness of the affected arm or leg, depending on the severity of the case.

“While anyone can develop chronic exertional compartment syndrome, it’s more common in athletes who participate in sports that involve forceful repetitive impact exercise,” said Dr. Cobb.

Treatment options
Like Kurtis, many patients suffering from exertional compartment syndrome initially try conservative treatment options to improve pain. These include pain medications, stretching, massage, and activity modifications.

When none of these approaches helped, Kurtis and Dr. Cobb decided to proceed with a surgical procedure on his forearm called fasciotomy. Dr. Cobb used minimally invasive techniques to cut the fascia and relieve pressure to the tight compartments in Kurtis’ forearm. Dr. Cobb has dedicated much of his career to becoming one of the world’s experts on minimally invasive surgery of the upper extremity, and he holds several design patents for minimally invasive surgical equipment.

“Dr. Cobb really listened to us,” said Debbie Manderscheid, Kurtis’ mother. “We visited with other doctors during this time but Dr. Cobb really made us feel comfortable with the minimally invasive approach. He did lots of tests and it was truly a collaborative decision.”

“Minimally invasive procedures are performed through small portals, eliminating the need for large incisions, which result in less post-operative pain and scarring,” said Dr. Cobb. “This surgical approach, coupled with the fantastic care at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, enables patients to recover faster with better results.”

This was certainly the case for Kurtis. He was resting comfortably at home just hours after his surgery. One week later he was back riding his bike.

“He has almost no scarring,” said Debbie Manderscheid, Kurtis’ mother. “The old fashioned way of doing this type of surgery results in big scars and requires lots of physical therapy. We are so proud of Kurtis’ accomplishments and can’t thank Dr. Cobb enough.”

For more information about Dr. Cobb and Orthopaedic Specialists, visit www.osquadcities.com. For more information about the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, visit www.mvhealth.net or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MississippiValleySurgery Center.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi Valley Surgery Center