Meet Julio Salazar; Runner And Founder Of Break The Stigma
Our story is inseparable from the stories of the patients we serve. We were privileged to guide Julio Salazar’s recovery from a long-term running injury, and to support his mission to help people struggling with mental health issues.
Julio Salazar embodies a healthy and active lifestyle. As a casual runner, he loved night runs along the trails in Minnesota parks and participated in occasional 5K and 10 K runs. The running habit he started to stay healthy became a tool to help him deal with depression issues. Over a period of years, however, he developed muscle pain in his right leg, which made running difficult.
“I was used to running four miles in less than an hour,” Julio says. “But it got to the point where I would run three miles, and go home with a sharp pain that ran from my knee all the way up to my hip. It felt like somebody was poking me with a knife. I was struggling and getting frustrated that I couldn’t run.”
Finding the sports medicine expertise he needed was a journey in itself. At first, Julio consulted a chiropractor and then a series of physicians for help. “I was told that the problem was my kneecap,” he recalls. “The treatments I was given didn’t help. One guy told me I’d never be able to run more than five miles, and I’d always be in pain. But I am stubborn. I just didn’t want to believe that, and I knew I needed to find a doctor with sports medicine expertise. One of my friends referred me to his doctor at Summit Orthopedics.”
At Summit, the source of Julio’s injury was identified at his hip and pelvis—not the kneecap. “My friend’s doctor at Summit was very honest with me,” Julio remembers. “My injury wasn’t in his area of expertise, so he told me he was going to send me to another Summit physician, Dr. Amy Beacom, who specialized in injuries like mine.”
Julio needed six months of physical therapy to strengthen his legs. “Not only were Dr. Beacom and my physical therapist, Stephanie Kinsella, good—they cared,” Julio says. “They worked with me so tightly, and they made sure that I was doing the right things. It felt like a family. I was happy with the whole experience and the outcome was great. I wrote a big huge thank you letter and sent it to Summit. I told them that I loved them, and that they were the best. They fixed me. I will always be grateful to Summit Orthopedics. They care. Because of how much they care, I have the opportunity to care for others through my nonprofit, Break The Stigma.”
In 2014, Julio founded Break The Stigma to educate, encourage and inspire others about mental health issues. Currently, he is training to run across the state of Minnesota to raise awareness and funds to support people with mental health disorders. Summit is proud to help Julio reclaim his active, healthy lifestyle, and to support Break The Stigma’s mission.
You can learn more about Julio’s work through Break the Stigma.