Discover what our patients have to say regarding their office visit, surgical experience or recovery process. We also encourage our existing patients to share their own experience!
Mary Witt, PT
“I've had the opportunity to work with Dr. Cunningham and his team on a professional level as a physical therapist and as a patient (myself and my husband). Not only is Dr. Cunningham a very skilled surgeon with phenomenal outcomes, he has a team that goes above and beyond to care for their patients. Communication to/from them as a PT is prompt and thoughtful with respect shown for me and my opinions as a professional. They have also shown patience above and beyond with their patients, routinely taking the time to answer all questions, regardless of how small. I've enjoyed working with Dr Cunningham, Matt and Greg over the past 7 years and hope to continue this relationship for many years to come. With a very physically active family, I expect we may need their professional assistance again and we won't hesitate to call Dr Cunningham. ”
- Meniscus Surgery
“Sherry Graham back to skijoring after meniscus surgery.
"Dr. Cunningham and Gang at VSO Thank You!"
- Tendon surgery
“This is Rob Trimble. You probably don't remember me, but I remember you! On January 3, 2014 I brought my 15 yr old son to Vail Valley Medical Center after having his right quadricep tendon severed in a freak snowboarding accident while my family was on vacation. You happened to be on call that evening, and you were the one who took on the challenge of repairing my boy. I am very thankful that you were "that guy" that evening! It has been a long road, but after a little over a year my son Fiver is almost back to 100% and is playing on the Varsity baseball team this year as a Sophomore. I just wanted to say Thank you again to both you and all the staff there at Vail Valley Med Center who took care of Fiver. My wife and I will not forget the treatment we received from all of you during a very difficult time for us far from home. Here's a couple of pics that would not have been possible without the care you provided!!”
- ACL reconstruction, MCL reconstruction and meniscus repair
“"Dr. Cunningham, thanks for getting me back on the cover!"
Brendan Gerard is a professional snowboarder who came to see Dr. Cunningham for a revision ACL reconstruction, MCL reconstruction and meniscus repair. He is now back to competitive snowboarding and here he is featured on the cover of Snowboard Colorado magazine.
- Torn Meniscus Knee Surgery
“After seeing Dr. Cunningham, I was advised to undergo a knee surgery to repair my torn meniscus and clean up the damaged cartilage. At first I didn't want to undergo the procedure, as I was afraid it would hinder my halfpipe training and limit my performance in competition in the upcoming winter season. Dr. Cunningham reassured me that with consistent rehab and dedication to post-surgery recovery I would be back to skiing in no time.
After the surgery I made sure to rest my leg, stay on top of icing it, and keep it elevated. During my follow-up appointment Dr. Cunningham gave me the confidence that recovery was coming well, and the strength of my knee was quickly returning. With follow up physical therapy, he said I would be able to return to skiing by the second competition at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado, just six weeks from the surgery.
Fortunately with my hard work at the gym and physical therapy, I ended up strong and ready to compete a week earlier at the first competition, the Grand Prix at Copper Mountain. My knee is currently feeling strong, and I continue working out everyday to improve my strength. I am now confident with my knee's performance and ready for the next Dew Tour stop in Killington, Vermont in mid-January 2012.”
- IT Band surgery
“33 year old Maggie Silvers was on a run in October 2009 when she felt a sharp, burning pain everytime she bent her knee. "It hurt so bad that day I thought my knee was actually breaking," remembers the Edwards resident who moved to the Vail Valley in 2008 from Tennessee. "That was the day I decided to seek treatment."
Maggie, who started running competitively when she was 10 years old, says her knee also hurt when she would walk up and down steps and when she would casually sit with her leg bent. "I was the typical old school runner - 'just run'. However, I didn't pay attention to my mechanics and ignored all the signs and warnings that my body was sending out to me. I would certainly go back in time if I could and focus on strengthening my glutes.
A physical therapist eventually referred her to Dr. Rick Cunningham. "After meeting Dr. Cunningham, he didn't want to jump into surgery but it was my choice and since he had performed IT band surgery before, I knew I was making the best decision," explains Maggie. "He had a very professional and calm demeanor that gave me the confidence that I needed in making my decision." After meeting with VSO's staff, Maggie says she became knowledgeable of her injury and how they occur.
According to Dr. Cunningham, Iliotibial band (IT) syndrome is a common cause of pain on the outside or lateral side of the knee. He sees it commonly in patients who are runners and cyclists where the knee undergoes repetitive flexion and extension.
The IT band is a dense fibrous band of connective tissue that runs all the way from the side of pelvis down to the side of the knee. The IT band acts to either extend or flex the knee depending on what angle the knee is positioned in, while also providing some added stability to the knee.
"In the office, patients with IT band tendonitis have pain over the lateral side of their knee just above their joint line," says Dr. Cunningham. "Oftentimes, I can feel some 'creaking' as I palpate this area and move the knee. I obtain a radiograph of the knee to be sure there is no knee arthritis or other conditions that could be contributing to the lateral-sided knee pain. An MRI is usually unnecessary but in cases where I have them to review, they typically show thickening of the IT band with a fluid collection deep to it."
"No one wants surgery but I must say I could do this procedure again because the recovery was a breeze, only six weeks of no cardio and I didn't even need crutches! I haven't had any complications since the surgery and that was 5 years ago."
Maggie, who picked up road biking and trail running when she moved to Colorado, says the summer after surgery she was able to do her longest ride of 80 miles to Breckenridge from Avon and back. "That's over Vail Pass twice!" she adds.
"My advice for anyone who is skeptical and afraid to get the 'dreaded news' of an injury is to seek treatment immediately if you believe you are injured. Dr. Cunningham and his staff are the very best at what they do! Running is my life, and he gave me my life back. Thanks VSO!!!"
- Knee surgery
“"Thanks Dr. Cunningham for getting me back to rock climbing."
Mike Brumbaugh is an accomplished rock climber who had knee surgery by Dr. Cunningham and is doing well. Mike owns Venture Sports in Avon, CO. He was recently featured in Rock Climbing Magazine.”
- Partial Knee Replacement
“Doc up to challenge
Twenty-two broken bones, three concussions, three knee surgeries, a left rotator cuff surgery, two neck surgeries, plates with screws and a piece of my hip included.
No, I was not in a car wreck - just being a full-time women's and girls' self-defense expert and a martial artist for over 26 years is not easy on the body, especially for a 5-foot-2, 120-pound woman.
I was told by my doctor seven years ago on the East Coast, after the second surgery, I would have to get a knee replacement soon. So I opted for a big metal knee brace for seven years.
Then it happened. The day finally came when I asked around to see who was the best of the best here, and I was told Dr. Richard Cunningham.
A big "thank you" for that advice. You were all right. The first thing I said to Cunningham is "I am not a good patient. I am fully booked through Nov. 11. My book is released on April 12. My first signing is in May, and Safe House films is going to be directing a theatrical movie about my life. My first seminars start on April 5, and is this going to be outpatient?"
Of course, that got a big smile out of Cunningham.
My surgery was March 7th for a partial knee replacement, and I was on the plane to San Diego State University to teach 110 young college students rape-escape techniques four weeks and four days later. Three months late, I was certifying black belts from 23 states and Australia at the Century Martial Arts SuperShow in Las Vegas.
I just finished my last seminar for this year on Nov. 9. It was my 171st seminar I completed in the last eight years with more than 15,000 women and girls to date and now the Girl Scouts with the first statewide initiative Fight Like a Girl Scout.
No one can be a success on their own. When you depend on your body for your job, make your first appointment with Vail Summit Orthopaedics.
Thanks so much, everyone involved. I can't remember all of your names, but I remember your kindness, and I highly recommend Vail Summit Orthopaedics and Vail Valley Medical Center.
A big "thank you" to Cunningham and to Mary Witt, my physical therapist!
I couldn't have done it without everyone involved. This valley is full of kind people. I just wanted everyone to know how much I appreciated everything, neighbors, friends - just everyone!”
- Meniscal Repair
“Being an athlete my whole life, I felt pretty lucky that up until now I had not sustained a major injury that required surgery. All that changed in the summer of 2011 when my knee finally gave out playing tennis. I grew up alpine ski racing in the East coast and eventually found myself training and traveling the globe with the US Ski Team. I have not been a stranger to training hard and challenging myself to the limits, so when Dr. Cunningham told me my knee required meniscus surgery, I replied, "...but the thing is, I have a triathlon in 51 days!" Turns out I spent that 51st day in rehab! I was determined to turn my devastation into determination!
My experience with Dr. Cunningham and his staff at Vail Summit Orthopedics far exceeded my expectations. I felt that everyone involved in the process really and truly listened to my needs, fears and goals about the outcome I wanted to achieve. He worked closely with Avalanche Physical Therapy to help me achieve those goals of coming back to the ski world where I currently coach Alpine racing with Team Breck Sports Club and also teach private lessons at Vail Mountain Ski Resort.
Through this process I learned that when you have a full and active life you may take risks and push yourself to limits unknown. Dr. Cunningham is committed to and understands his patients being an athlete himself. He approaches each of his patients individually and carefully. Thank you Dr. Cunningham and the amazing Physical Therapy staff for listening to my needs and your realistic approach to surgery and recovery!”
- ACL reconstruction and meniscus surgery
“"Hi Doc, I wanted to let you know that I am 6 months out from my ACL reconstruction and meniscus surgery, and I recently hiked for 11 days straight covering 91 miles and doing over 52,000 vertical feet! Needless to say the knee is doing great. Thanks!"
- Shoulder surgery
“"6 months after right shoulder surgery. Thanks for the great job!"”
- Rotator cuff repair and biceps tenodesis
“Excellent results. Off pain meds in 3 days. Did not need to sleep in recliner. Have had little to no pain now 5 weeks after surgery. Starting rehab soon. Looking forward to full recovery. Compared to bilateral knee replacement I had 3 years ago by another doctor this was a walk in the park. Now I know why I have heard him referred to as Good Hands Cunningham. ”
- Non-Surgical Treatment of the Knee
“I thought I would give you an update on Jack. His knee has continued to feel very good - no pain!! And, he has been skiing very well. This past weekend was Prater Cup at Crested Butte, the qualifier for Jr. Olympics, where he placed first overall. He is very pleased.
I finally secured a good picture of Jack. It is from the Can-Am's, which were held last weekend at Mont Tremblant (near Montreal), where he placed 7th in the GS and 18th in the SL. The competition there was strong and deep.
At the Regional Championships (for both the Rocky Mountain and Central Divisions) held at Steamboat in mid-March, Jack was second overall.
Again, I want to thank you for your sound advice on how to handle Jack's knee. Since returning to snow in mid-late January, he has had no issues with it, which allowed him to train hard for the balance of the season.
- Hamstring Repair Surgery
I told Dr. Cunningham that I would be inspired to write a patient testimony as soon as I went on my first mountain bike ride after my hamstring repair surgery. Well, the day finally came this Monday, January 2nd, 2012 - a little over five months after Dr. Cunningham surgically re-attached my avulsed hamstring.
I knew it the second it happened - I was horsing around with friends on the Fourth of July, when I performed a most ill-fated dance move not to be attempted by anything other than accomplished gymnasts, yogis, and the like. When I did the splits, I heard and felt a "POP" in my groin area and instantly knew that my summer was OVER. As a newly-christened sponsored professional triathlete, I was devastated, to say the least.
As it turned out, I had completely avulsed my ischial tuberosity. Or, tore the hamstring off of the pelvis, in layman's terms. Once Dr. Cunningham had a clear picture of my injury via MRI, he set the wheels in motion, and I was in surgery days later. I was impressed by the expeditious manner in which he set about the repair. I was even more impressed and ever-so-relieved when, after surgery, Dr. Cunningham felt "extremely confident" in his repair and that he felt it was the "best repair" of this injury that he had performed.
As I embark on training for the 2012 Xterra and mountain bike race season, I can honestly say that I will soon be 100% and back to doing what I love at the level in which I am accustomed to performing. It has been a long road to recovery, but I am so glad that I put my care in the hands of Dr. Cunningham and Vail Summit Orthopaedic. The gratitude I have is immeasurable.
- ACL Repair
“On Christmas Eve of 2009 I tore my ACL and damaged my medial meniscus while skiing at Vail. As a professional ski patroller on Vail Mountain and avid cyclist I was devastated by the incident as I thought I might never approach these 2 sports the way I like to. Thanks to Dr. Cunningham and his staff at Vail Summit Orthopedics I am back skiing and riding as aggressively as before 2009. Dr. Cunningham, his PA Mike Outslay, and the staff at VSO put me at ease in regards to the surgical process, diligently answering my many questions, and always available to lessen my concerns after the surgery.
Dave Zrubek, Vail Ski Patrol since 2001