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In the News


Stem Cells, PRP, and Regenerative Medicine

There is a great deal of interest and research in the field of regenerative medicine especially as it relates to sports performance and the treatment of sports injuries. The term regenerative medicine and the use of “biologics” broadly refers to natural products that are harvested and used to supplement healing. In orthopedic sports medicine, the use of biologics entails the use of growth factors, cells, or tissue. …

Will Your Shoulders Be Ready for Tee Time?

Mother Nature has called for one more snowy blast in Eagle and Summit Counties. While Arapahoe Basin continues to reap the benefits of persistent snow accumulation for our ski and snowboard enthusiasts, the majority of Colorado ski resorts have shut down their lifts for the winter season. In an area world renowned for winter sports, more recent warm temperatures have the Vail Valley buzzing with excitement over another one of our favorite pastimes; golf! Will your shoulders be ready for tee time?…

Kneecap Instability and Dislocations Can Plague all Ages

Patellar instability and dislocations can plague both children and adults alike. The patella (kneecap) connects the muscles of the thigh to the tibia (shin bone). The patella should sits within a groove (trochlea) at the end of the thigh bone (femur). As the knee bends and straightens with sitting and standing, the patella should glide smoothly up and down within the groove. Unfortunately, sometimes the patella can slide partially out of the groove (subluxate) or slide completely out (dislocate) of the groove. When either of these occurs, pain, swelling and loss of function ensues.…

Patellar Tendonitis

At the end of a long ski season, I see a large number of patients with overuse injuries and conditions. Patellar tendonitis is one such common condition seen in our athletic population. Common sports associated with this condition is skiing, basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, or sports where there is a lot of jumping and landing. Another term for patellar tendonitis is “jumper’s knee.” …

KneeHab: Why post-injury physical therapy is never optional, from torn ACL to sprained ankle

Dr. Cunningham contributed his insight in this recent article published in Summit Daily on kneehab and post-injury physician therapy. …

Should I Wear a Knee Brace After ACL Surgery?

This past winter, I saw a large number of ACL tears. Anatomic ACL reconstruction surgery of the knee has been shown to improve knee kinematics, slow the progression of osteoarthritis in the knee, and allow athletes to return to sports without further giving way episodes of the knee. The risk of repeat injury to the affected knee and also injury to the other normal knee is increased in the first year following ACL surgery, as it can take that long to regain full strength and for the graft to fully incorporate in the knee.…

Ask a Vail Sports Doc column: Dealing with ‘swimmer’s shoulder’

If you're a swimmer, you won't want to miss this article on 'swimmer's shoulder' authored by Dr. Cunningham and featured in Vail Daily News' Ask a Vail Sports Doc column. …

KneeHab: Anatomy of an ACL injury, from Grade I to Grade III

Offering his expertise, Dr. Cunningham contributes to this recent article in Summit Daily News. …

KneeHab: Cadavar tissue, KAATSU and questions to ask before ACL surgery

Dr. Cunningham shares his perspective in this recent article published in Summit Daily News. …

Improved surgical outcomes for some common joint injuries

A “separated shoulder” is an injury to the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. The terminology can be confusing as there is the actual ball and socket joint of the shoulder (or glenohumeral joint). Rather, there is disruption of the AC joint, which is where the collarbone (or clavicle) and the highest point of the shoulder blade (the acromion) meet. In AC joint injuries, the ligaments that hold these 2 bones aligned are torn to varying degrees. …

Clavicle fractures: What you need to know before you hit the slopes

This common bone fracture, just below the shoulder, often results from high-energy activities like skiing and snowboarding. Before you hit the slopes, learn what these fractures are, how they occur and how they are treated. …

Cell therapy: A promising alternative to surgery

A patient's own cells are used in regenerative medicine. This non-surgical option has been shown to speed up repair and recovery of common orthopedic issues such as osteoarthritis and tendonitis.…

I Think I Tore My ACL: Now What?

With ski season approaching it's a good time to discuss ACL injuries, which are quite common among skiers. Read how they occur and what to expect when you experience this forceful twisting knee injury. …

Knee dislocation: A rare but serious injury

With football season upon us, it is common for me to see a number of student athletes who have sustained a dislocation of a joint. The most common dislocations I see and treat are shoulder dislocations. Less common are knee dislocations. I see knee dislocations primarily in skiers and football players. NFL fans may have heard that Teddy Bridgewater, the quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, recently suffered a knee dislocation in practice and had surgery to treat it.…

Do injectable treatments help an arthritic knee?

An arthritic knee can be extremely limiting to any active person. Hiking can become a chore, running can lose all its fun and getting on the hill to ski can be regrettable for days after taking off the boots. As with any pain, most people will turn to the classic remedies: rest, ice, compression and elevation. When the simple treatments aren’t cutting it, over the counter NSAIDs or Tylenol can provide some relief. Over time, however, these medications can lose their effectiveness. Injectables may be the solution. …

Horseback riding can affect the body is ways often overlooked

In my experience as an athletic trainer for an NCAA collegiate equestrian team, horseback riding can be a significant contributor to major injury including head injury, fracture and injury to major organs, however, the daily demand of riding can affect the body is ways often overlooked. Overuse injury can affect the horse’s training and responsiveness during competition.…

Volleyball injuries span shoulders, legs and hands

The Olympics are well under way! If you’re looking for an exciting event to watch, try both volleyball and beach volleyball. Unfortunately, volleyball isn’t always fun and games, and injuries do happen. Some of the most common volleyball injuries include rotator cuff tendonitis, ankle sprains, patellar tendonitis and finger injuries.…

Kayakers and Shoulder Dislocations

Most paddlers know of at least one, if not more, fellow kayakers who have had a shoulder injury. A large number have had injuries themselves. Some of the most common injuries that a river athlete can sustain are what you’d expect; abrasions, contusions, overuse tendonitis, strains of the muscles of the arm and back. One of the more serious injuries involves the most movable joint in the body, shoulder dislocations.…

That knee pain could be arthritis

Arthritis can be a painful joint condition attributed to many variable causes. In our area, the most common type of arthritis is degenerative arthritis. …

Common trail running injuries

As the weather gets nicer and the trails start to dry, getting outside and going for a run through nature is a great way to shake off the winter. There are several common injuries we see in the office that can occur from trail running:…

Vail Daily health column: Are you a candidate for partial knee replacement surgery?

Dr. Cunningham discusses whether those who suffer from severe knee arthritis might be good candidates for a partial knee replacement.…

Vail doc talks about how to fix a torn meniscus

In his regular "Ask a Sports Medicine Doc" column that runs in the Vail Daily News and the Summit Daily News, Dr. Rick Cunningham looks at treatments and substitutes for a torn meniscus. Read the column here.…

Ask a Sports Medicine Doctor column: What to do with a missing meniscus

Dr. Cunningham discusses whether a meniscus substitute can be implanted into a knee in this Vail Daily News column.…

Ask a Sports Medicine Doc: Treatments and substitutes for a torn meniscus

In his regular "Ask a Sports Medicine Doc" column that runs in the Summit Daily News, Dr. Cunningham looks at treatments and substitutes for a torn meniscus.…

Vail-Summit surgeons lead medical mission trip to Rwanda

Dr. Rick Cunningham talks with the Vail Daily News about the impact he and his Vail-Summit Orthopaedics colleague, Dr. Peter Janes, were able to accomplish while in Rwanda. …

Vail Daily health column: Knee pain in runners and cyclists could be Iliotibial band (IT) syndrome

Dr. Cunningham writes about IT band syndrome - a common condition among runners and cyclists - in the Vail Daily News. …

Ask a Sports Medicine Doc: Ankle sprains

Dr. Cunningham answers the following question, "My 17-year-old son sprained his ankle in a basketball game recently. How long does it take for an ankle sprain to heal?"…

The stresses on joints in young pitchers

With baseball season upon us, Dr. Cunningham received a question from a local baseball coach asking him to explain what happens inside the shoulder and elbow during pitching. He addresses the question in this week's "Ask a Sports Medicine Doc" column.…

Ask a sports medicine doc: Rotator cuff tendon tears

A patient asks Dr. Cunningham about pain and weakness in the shoulder several months after falling on the ice. Dr. Cunningham discusses why he may have torn his rotator cuff.…

Ask a Sports Doc: Rebuilding ACL techniques, skiing’s common knee injury

Not all doctors perform an ACL reconstruction the same way. Dr. Cunningham explains his philosophy in this article.…

Ask a Sports Medicine Doc: Hip injuries among youth

Dr. Cunningham writes about a 14-year old competitive ski racer with hip pain. Could she have a labral tear?…

Tibial plateau fractures can be a serious injury

Dr. Cunningham says tibial plateau fractures are a common injury among skiers which can be serious. He writes about the condition in his regular "Ask A Sports Doc" column that runs weekly in the Summit Daily News. …

Ask a Sports Doc: IT syndrome can cause knee pain in runners

Dr. Rick Cunningham discusses treatment options for IT band syndrome and how it causes knee pain in runners in his weekly "Ask a Sports Medicine Doc" column that runs on each Tuesday in the Summit Daily News.…

MCL tears are a common ski injury

Dr. Cunningham talks about MCL tears in his weekly "Ask a Sports Medicine Doc" column that appears regularly in the Summit Daily News.…

Ask a Sports Doc: Regrowing cartilage to fix joint pain

Dr. Cunningham writes about a new technique he is using that helps regrow cartilage to fix joint pain in this week's "Ask a Sports Doc" column.…

Ask a Sports Medicine Doc: Diagnosing and managing stress fractures

In his weekly "Ask a Sports Medicine Doc" column, Dr. Cunningham addresses stress fractures. Who's at risk and how does he treat them? Read the article in its entirety here.…

Dr. Cunningham discusses avoiding early-season skiing, snowboarding injuries

In an interview with the Summit Daily News, Dr. Cunningham urges caution in order to avoid early-season injuries while skiing and snowboarding. "I've seen a surprising number of ACL tears this early in the season," Dr. Cunningham is quoted saying in the article. "Typically heavier snow brings in ACLs."…

Ask A Sports Doc: Does a broken collarbone require surgery?

In his most recent "Ask a Sports Medicine Doc" column in the Vail Daily News, Dr. Cunningham answers the question, "Does a broken collarbone always need surgery?" …

Dr. Cunningham in Chile with US Women's Ski Team

Dr. Rick Cunningham, physician for the US Ski Team, is pictured (right) with the women's team in Chile this week.…

Ask a Sports Medicine Doc column: Turf or grass?

Are athletes at greater risk of injury playing on artificial fields? Dr. Cunningham addresses this question in his column in today's Vail Daily News.…

Dr. Cunningham Named Team Physician for Semi-pro Soccer Team

Dr. Rick Cunningham, a knee and shoulder specialist with Vail Summit Orthopaedics, has been named the team physician for the new semi-pro soccer team based in Edwards called Freedom FC. The team is owned by the Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation Department and joined the semi-professional Premier Arena Soccer League as an expansion team this year…

Tips on saving your knees

Knee pain or injury is one of the most common reasons people see their doctors. Your knee is the largest joint in your body and one of the most complex. It is also vital to movement…

Hospital announces Physician of the Year

Vail Valley Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer Doris Kirchner announced the 2010 nominees and winners for Physician of the Year Award, Rising Star Award and the 2010 Clinical Excellence Award. The awards were presented at a ceremony on Oct. 13 at the 9 Iron Grill at the Cordillera Valley Club in Edwards…

Vail Doc Talks About How to Fix a Torn Meniscus

A torn meniscus is a common knee injury. In younger people, the meniscus is fairly tough and rubbery. An isolated meniscus tear in a young patient is uncommon. However, young people not uncommonly tear their meniscus in conjunction with ACL tears as a result of a forceful twisting injury…

Getting Ready for Sports

Dr. Rick Cunningham, an orthopaedic specialist with Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, checks out the knee of 14-year-old Mary Sweet, who will be playing soccer for Vail Christian this year. The ninth-grader was taking part in a student-athlete physical clinic held at the VSO Edwards office on Aug. 11. The low-cost physicals were offered to all Eagle County middle and high school students. All proceeds were donated back to the schools.…

How Athletes Can Help Prevent an ACL Tear

Is Your Knee Stable for the Upcoming Ski Season? Please join Dr. Rick Cunningham, a knee, shoulder, and sports medicine specialist with Vail-Summit Orthopaedics, who will share some tips on how to prevent an ACL tear this season.…

Dr. Cunningham on Good Morning Vail

Video of Dr. Cunningham on Good Morning Vail, discussing ACL injuries and how to prevent them …

Dr. Cunningham in the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race

In 2011 Dr. Cunningham participated in the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, a 100 mile mountain bike race in Colorado that starts in the town of Leadville at 10,000 feet elevation. During the race, there is 14,000 feet of elevation gained during the the ride which goes over numerous mountain passes. Pro riders, such as Lance Armstrong, have participated in the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race in the past. The "Race Across the Sky" took place on August 31th 2011.…

Dr. Cunningham Discussing how to Prevent Biking Injuries

Video of Dr. Cunningham on Good Morning Vail, discussing biking injuries and how to prevent them.…

How Some Vail Doctors Stay Healthy

Read how Dr. Cunningham and other Vail doctors keep active and stay healthy.…

Ask a Sports Medicine Doc column: Turf or grass?

Read Dr. Cunningham's latest column on sports injuries.…

New Ask a Sports Doc column makes its debut

Dr. Cunningham debuts his "Ask a Sports Doc" column in the Vail Daily News. …

Be an Orthopedist for a Day

Dr. Cunningham recently gave a talk at a health and wellness seminar in Vail called "Living at Your Peak." His talk was titled "Be an Orthopedist for a Day." In this talk Dr. Cunningham showed participants how orthopedic doctors do arthroscopic ACL reconstruction.…

CBS4 Story and Interview with Dr. Cunningham on Lindsay Vonn's Recent Knee Injury

Video of Dr. Cunningham speaking about Lindsay Vonn's recent knee injury.…

A Woman with Mountains to Climb

Vail's Meghan Buchanan broke her femur, then climbed to Everest base camp with Dr. Cunningham's help.…

New Trends in ACL Tears and How to Prevent a Tear

Read Dr. Cunningham's latest article on New Trends in ACL Tears which was recently published in Vail Daily News.…