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Specialties: 
Elbow, Hip, Joint Replacement Including Robotic-Assisted Joint Replacement and Direct Anterior Hip Replacement, Knee, Shoulder, Sports Medicine, Hand, Wrist

“I believe that each patient needs to be evaluated and treated on an individual basis, taking the overall injury, health, and lifestyle factors into account. I enjoy getting to know my patients and their families to better work with them and find a treatment that will work best for them.”

As a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, I specialize in providing you with complete care for a range of bone, joint, and muscle injuries and conditions. In orthopedics, more than other surgical specialties, we often are able to see physical improvement after treatment, which I find to be encouraging to me and my patients. As a Willmar native, I am honored to serve the needs of the West Central Minnesota community, offering care for hip, knee, and shoulder pain, rotator cuff tears, and hand and upper extremity injuries as well as total joint replacements.  

Orthopedics involves helping patients get better functionally, and physical function is a vital part of everyone’s life: myself included. I really value spending time with my family and being able to do the things I enjoy, like cycling, hunting, fishing, and woodworking.

Education & Training

  • Undergraduate Degree: Chemistry, Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD
  • Medical Degree: Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE
  • Orthopedic Surgery Residency: William Beaumont Army Medical Center/Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, TX
  • Board Certification: American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Member, American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons 

Military Service

  • Promotion to Major: United States Army, 2015
  • Deployment (6 Months): 911th Forward Surgical Team, 2014
  • Combat Casualty Care Course: Camp Bullis, TX, 2010
  • Commissioned Officer, Captain: United States Army, 2009
  • Active Duty Training, Orthopedic Surgery Clinical Clerkship: Brooke Army Medical Center and William Beaumont Army Medical Center, 2008
  • Officer Basic Course: Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, TX, 2006
  • Commissioned Officer, 2nd Lieutenant: United States Army Reserve, 2005

Special Interests

  • Carpal Tunnel and Cubital Tunnel Surgery
  • Knee Arthroscopy 
  • Knee Ligament Reconstructions
  • Meniscus Repair 
  • Nonoperative Care of Arthritis and Sports Injuries
  • Robotic Total Hip Replacement Surgery (Direct Anterior Approach) 
  • Robotic Total and Partial Knee Replacement Surgery 
  • Rotator Cuff Repair 
  • Shoulder Arthroscopy 
  • Shoulder Instability Surgery
  • Surgical and Nonoperative Fracture Care

New, Experienced Doctor, James H. Nelson, M.D., Joins Heartland Orthopedic Specialists

Specialty-trained, board-certified orthopedic surgeon James H. Nelson, M.D., has joined the team of...

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“Dr. Nelson is very easy to talk to and seems to be thorough.”
– Cynthia N.
Patient Rating:
5