Share It
Nina gardening with grand-daughter

Nina’s Story

Nina Utne has always been adventurous. So last summer when she was visiting her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter in Ecuador, she didn’t Nina and her makeshift splintthink twice about joining in on a trip to a remote jungle region. Recent heavy rainfall meant the trails were covered with slippery mud. At one point as Nina bent down to take her sandals off (she thought she’d get better traction barefoot), she lost her footing and fell down—landing on her wrist.

It was pretty obvious her wrist was badly injured. Possibly even broken. So they created a makeshift split out of a tongue depressor and gauze and gave her a drink of “chicha” to relive the pain. Once they made it back to the city, Nina had surgery by a local orthopedic surgeon. A few weeks later, back home in Minnesota, Nina visited Dr. Yvonne Grierson at TRIA in Bloomington for a second operation. Then she began working with TRIA’s hand therapy team. According to Nina, that’s when the real work started.

“I described my first visit with Kevin as ‘compassionate butt kicking,’” Nina says with a laugh. “But it’s exactly what I needed. I knew if I didn’t do the exercises, I’d regret it.”

Nina with her healed wrist, ready to practice yogaAs summer turned to fall, Nina slowly returned to doing the things she loves. She’s back to practicing yoga—complete with downward dogs and planks. She’s able to bench press 65 pounds. And she’s even planning another trip to Ecuador to visit her family, though she might skip the jungle this time.

“It’s humbling not to be able to do the things you want to do,” Nina says. “But it’s so helpful to have people like the hand therapists at TRIA who have such knowledge and confidence in their work.”

Hand therapists at TRIA treat an extensive range of injuries and disabilities of the hand and arm. Visit to learn more.


Share It