The seasonal changes from summer to fall are hardly noticeable in South Texas — unless Mother Nature ushers in a cold front that drops the temperatures into the 70s.
The Valley is among the unlikeliest of places for anyone looking for beautiful fall foliage, but it’s the place to be for Winter Texans who flock to the region to escape the bitter cold in northern states.
Dr. Ross Chapel, one of the most well-known orthopedic surgeons in the Valley, knows many of these Winter Texans well because some of them are his patients.
“I love taking care of the Winter Texans,” he said. “Those shoulder problems are not just isolated to those people who are native to the Rio Grande Valley. I’ve traveled over the nation to be able to take care of people’s shoulder pain and upper extremity problems, regardless of where they are from.”
Dr. Chapel, who was born and raised in southern Louisiana, attended Louisiana State University, where he majored in biological sciences and graduated with honors.
Dr. Chapel attended medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, where he was the recipient of the Walter G. Sterling Award for Academic Excellence and nominated to be a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society.
After graduating from medical school, Dr. Chapel completed a one-year internship in general surgery at Greenville Memorial Hospital in South Carolina before moving on to the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, where he completed his orthopedic surgery training and also developed an interest in surgery for the upper extremities. He then completed his orthopedic surgery training at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center.
Dr. Chapel received sub-specialty training in hand and upper extremity surgery under Dr. William Geissler at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
“I traveled all over the nation learning from some of the top doctors and professionals in the field of shoulder, elbow, and hand surgery,” Dr. Chapel said. “I kind of picked up some tips and tricks and the right way to do it.”
In 2016, Dr. Chapel, who is affiliated with Rio Grande Valley Regional Hospital, opened his own practice in the Rio Grande Valley. He is the only fellowship-trained shoulder surgeon south of San Antonio.
His specialties include some minimally invasive treatments of carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff repair, shoulder replacements, and treatment for de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, trigger fingers, tennis elbow, and Dupuytren’s disease. However, Dr. Chapel said he can and will treat any problem with the arms or legs.
Qualifications like these have not only helped him build a solid reputation in the Valley, but have spread by word of mouth and reached the ears of Winter Texans.
“The Winter Texan appointments tend to ramp up about October, and I am pretty busy with shoulder problems and carpal tunnel issues until about April, when they return home.” Dr. Chapel said. “It’s about a six-month period that they are down here.”
Many of Dr. Chapel’s Winter Texan patients — most of whom are 50 and over — live in northern states like Michigan, Iowa, or Minnesota. It’s not uncommon for one of his patients to develop an issue in their home state, sometimes weeks or even months before he is able to see them.
Because of his reputation among his patients in the Valley, many of these Winter Texans don’t have an orthopedic surgeon they can see where they live, and will wait until they are back in South Texas to be treated by Dr. Chapel.
Dr. Chapel’s passion is treating shoulder pain. He spent additional time training under world-renowned shoulder surgeon Dr. Mark Mighell out of Tampa, Florida, to master operative and conservative treatments for all causes of shoulder pain.
If you are interested in consulting with Dr. Chapel for any of your shoulder, elbow, or hand problems, call (956) 992-0404 to set up an appointment today!