Lifelong surfer now feels better than ever

Posted: July 19,2023

Sports medicine experts at the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Sports Medicine Center helped a member get back to his love of surfing after an injury.

In the summer of 2017, Kaiser Permanente member Bruce Binder was surfing like he usually does in San Francisco – underneath the Golden Gate bridge – when he slipped on the rocks and hurt his shoulder, tearing his rotator cuff.

“Surfing is my outlet for destressing,” Binder, age 58, said. “We surfers build our whole lives around being able to surf. To have that taken away from me made me scared and depressed.”

Kaiser Permanente orthopedist Henry Krigbaum, MD, referred Binder to his colleague David Ding, MD, a Kaiser Permanente orthopedic surgeon at the San Francisco Sports Medicine Center, who fixed Binder’s shoulder through an operation a month after his injury. Binder then saw a physical therapist twice a week for 6 months to get the full range of motion back in his shoulder.

“Bruce is one of those people that our center was built for – the weekend warrior,” Dr. Ding said. “For me, it’s just as rewarding to get someone like him back to what they love to do as getting a younger athlete back to their sport.”

Getting back to the waves

A building contractor by trade, Binder grew up surfing and skateboarding in San Francisco. About a year after his shoulder recovery, he came back to Dr. Ding to examine the arthritis pain he was experiencing in one of his hips.

“I noticed that I couldn’t jump on my feet while surfing,” Binder said. “I emailed Dr. Ding about it and after looking over my X-rays, he recommended a full hip replacement.”

After recovering from the hip surgery, Binder said he was amazed at how good he felt.

“All that arthritis pain I’ve been experiencing for years was completely gone,” Binder said. “It was amazing.”

Today he is back surfing 5 days a week.

“I feel better than I’ve been in years,” he said.

A leading sports medicine center

Dr. Ding, Dr. Krigbaum as well as Alex Lau, MD, are part of the sports medicine team in San Francisco that includes 3 sports physicians, 3 orthopedic surgeons, 3 physical therapists, 2 athletic trainers, and a neuropsychologist, in addition to 4 physician assistants.

Located in the Kaiser Permanente Mission Bay Medical Offices, the medical team brings the same care provided to the Golden State Warriors to all Kaiser Permanente members who experience sports injuries.

Robert Nied, MD, the center’s medical director and the medical team physician for the Golden State Warriors, noted the center has a spacious gym with several unique machines designed for different physical therapy, including AlterG, an anti-gravity treadmill that helps rehabilitation from a variety of injuries.

“Our center is one of two locations in Kaiser Permanente Northern California where so many different specialties practice side by side in one space,” Dr. Nied said. The other similar sports medicine space is in the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center. “This makes the care smooth and efficient. And we can also provide a level of rehabilitation not often available because of the space we have and the expertise.”

In addition to treating local athletes, including high school and college-level players, the center’s sports medicine team conducts community outreach, providing injury prevention education at various local health fairs and farmer’s markets near the Chase Center.

For more information and a list of experts at the center, visit the San Francisco Medical Center’s sports medicine team’s website.