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!
- Knee Surgery
“Hi Dr. Rick,
Hard to believe, but it's been two full years since my total surgery. You had asked me back then to send you a short progress note. Although this is a bit tardy, I'm just delighted to report that this summer, I've logged over 1000 miles on my new bike! I had never ridden that much in one season, and I'm just so happy to be able to put this back into my life. My knee feels great! Attached is a picture, taken last Fall, of me and my new, but now well ridden, bike.
Hope you had a great summer.
All the best to you and the staff,
- Knee Surgery
“Having lived in Vail since 1970, I was on the slopes as much as time would possibly allow. Being very active, I loved biking, hiking, fishing and horseback riding. Sports were a very important part of my life and in the summer of 1991, wanting a change in jobs, I worked as a wrangler up on Beaver Creek Mountain, and suffered a debilitating accident to my right knee. I had meniscus, ACL and MCL damage, and back in those days, treating those injuries was very different than today. There were a couple of surgeries, a brace, but over the years my knee deteriorated and my quality of life was rapidly changing before my eyes. No more 'active sports', I was lucky to ride a horse, and even then feeling constant pain. There were problems walking, sitting, pretty much anything that I would do involved pain and lack of range of motion.
I finally had reached my "I can't live like this anymore" moment a year ago and once my seasonal job ended in May of 2011, having done all my orthopedic research, made an appointment to see Dr. Cunningham with my husband and we reached the "so when do you want to schedule the total knee replacement surgery?" question. There was no doubt in my mind, everything was so professional and caring and I felt very positive about the outcome.
The rehabilitation is work, but very well worth all the range of motion I have now gained back, along with my confidence to be able to walk normal, no limping, no giving out, it is just wonderful. I have my life back! I highly recommend VSO to anyone having problems with their joints due to injuries or arthritis. Dr. Cunningham is very caring, along with his staff, I could not be happier. Thank you all!”
- Knee Surgery
“Hi Dr. Cunningham,
I just wanted to give you some follow-up on my knee. I cannot thank you enough for helping me. You put my life back on course and revived the functional new knee I had been hoping for. The arthroscopy made all the difference.
I would say that after about 3 1/2 months, shortly after I was last in your office and saw Matt, my knee has been almost normal. It has stopped hurting completely, the swelling is virtually gone, and my ROM is almost as good as the left leg with extension remaining at zero degrees. The only thing it still does is clunk a little with every step. My knee seems to be working well and it didn't even come close to taking 5-6 months to recover from the arthroscopy. I can now do the stairs with no problem, my limp is gone, I have been doing a lot of walking (with our new puppy), and I have been bike riding again. Nothing much seems to bother it.
The best thing I did was go to see you.
Thank you again.
Sincerely, Nancy Tuerk”
Mary Witt, PT
- Physical Therapist / Patient
“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.”
- Knee Replacement Surgery
“To Dr. Rick Cunningham, The Best Doctor "In The Knee Joint"..
I want to apologize for the long delay in getting back to you with my feedback on my new knees. As Susan & I have moved to our Florida home as our primary residence we have been busy with business, travel, fishing and a great overall active lifestyle. Time flies when you are having a good time and it has been 16 months now since you replaced both my knees AND gave me my active life totally back!
The knees are GREAT, as if I never had arthritis and never had them replaced. I come across many people down here with new knees and none of them, I repeat, none of them have had as good, no make that great, experience I have.
From the moment we discussed and agreed to do both knees at the same time, through the surgery, post op recovery, both in hospital and onwards this has been a piece of cake. As you recall at my 6 month visit I had NO pain and the progress was great. I am now 16 months since surgery and still can say no pain, no setbacks and I am living a fully active lifestyle fishing, golfing, riding my Harley (been doing that since 2 months after surgery), traveling, working out 6 days a week, just living life large!
The Team Cunningham approach to joint replacement is fantastic! The pre-op physical therapy program you put me on gave me strength and conditioning that played a major role in my success. Remember, I walked into your office to have the staples removed 10 days after surgery WITHOUT a walker or crutches! The post-op physical therapy developed between your team and Howard Head PT enabled me to continue on a rapid, pain free recovery and development. I have incorporated many of those exercises into my regular workout routines. The personal trainers, friends and therapists at my health club down here were and continue to be amazed at my experience. And, oh yeah, they can't get over the lack of scaring on my knees I tell them it is the work of Dr. Rick Cunningham, his team and Vail Summit Orthopedics. You folks are in an elite class of Orthopedic specialists. I see many people with knee replacements and none have had anywhere close to the experience I have been fortunate to have.
I tell inquiring minds that if they are currently or ever considering joint replacement surgery the need to go see Dr. Rick Cunningham at Vail Summit Orthopedics in the beautiful Vail Valley.
As closing this note, I want to again extend my sincere thanks for giving me such a great lifestyle back in the most pleasant experience one could ever have from such a major undertaking. I promise to come in and say hi to all of you when we visit the valley.
I am attaching a picture of one of my recent fishing ventures in Costa Rica where I had to really rely on these knees to haul this beauty in and one from a Snook in my "back yard" fishing hole that also tested the bending at the knees!
Please give a big hello to Brian Davis and Greg Schlossinger.
With warmest regards and mountains of thanks,
- Knee Replacement Surgery
“Greg Abernathy was told he needed a new knee 15 years ago. The longtime Summit County local had been playing hard on his knees for much of his life, tearing his interior meniscus while playing college football, and in later years, skiing and playing rugby. In 1993 he went in for arthroscopic surgery. His doctor at the time told him, "one day you'll be able to get a new knee, but right now there's not much we can do for you."
Major advancements in artificial knee replacement in recent years have improved the effectiveness and outcome of the surgery greatly, as well as allowing younger, more active patients to benefit from the procedure.
Even with the recent advances, Greg put off the surgery as long as he could. For years, he managed his knee pain through anti-inflammatory steroid shots including cortisone injection shots and hyaluronic acid. But his twin brother and two friends all had knee replacement surgery and were all doing great; Greg knew it was time.
When it came time to scheduling the surgery, the owner of Lone Star Sports in Breckenridge knew he would go to Vail-Summit Orthopaedics. He had three other procedures done by surgeons at VSO and is a big fan of the practice. "They treat me so well. It's incredible how they've dealt with me over the years," says Greg. "I recognize the voice of every person who answers the phone; I know them all. I tell everyone I talk to about VSO."
As for which physician he would choose, Greg did his research by asking around for referrals; everyone directed him to Dr. Richard Cunningham, an expert in both partial and total knee replacements who performs more knee replacements than any other orthopaedic surgeon in Eagle or Summit counties.
Greg was able to schedule his surgery when he knew it would it would have the least impact on his ski and snowboard rental business. Greg's surgery took approximately two hours. Dr. Cunningham removed the damaged cartilage and bone and then positioned the new metal and plastic joint surfaces to restore the alignment and function of his knee.
Greg said his recovery went much better than he expected. "Everyone kept telling me to take it easy, but I was walking within two weeks of surgery." He was back to work quicker than he expected. "I surprised a lot of people."
12 weeks after surgery, Greg asked Dr. Cunningham if he could ski. He buckled up his boots and walked around, something he hadn't been able to do in years. The next morning, he skinned up the mountain and took a run down. "I was as happy as I could be," recalls the avid 62 year old skier. "To have had so much pain for so long, it's a miracle."
Greg still has some mobility limitations with his knee due to scar tissue. More than 90% of individuals who undergo total knee replacement experience a dramatic reduction of knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to perform common activities of daily living. But total knee replacement will not turn patients into a super-athlete or allow them to do more than they could before they developed arthritis or before their injury.
Most patients are advised to avoid some types of activity, including jogging and high-impact sports, for the rest of their life.
Nevertheless, Greg is so impressed with his outcome; he's decided to get his other knee done. "It's going to be sad when I get my other knee done because I'm going to miss all the folks at VSO," says Abernathy. ”
- Knee surgery
“Dear Dr. Cunningham,
Thank you so much for your expertise, kindness, and care that you have given me with my knee. I feel that you have given me another life! Everyone had such a positive, caring attitude and I know that starts at the top with you. Thanks for everything!
- Knee surgery
“Thank you very much for a very successful meniscus surgery. I have been able to resume running and I do not feel a thing so I'm very happy.
Thank you for your skill and dedication.”
Frank W. Smith
- Fracture surgery
“Dr. Cunningham, on January 22,2104 you performed surgery of a depressed lateral tibial plateau fracture. Great job!!! I did not get to thank you for your outstanding work as we had to leave and go back home to Pheonix, AZ. I went to 26 therapy sessions in AZ and look forward to skiing at Breck again the first week of January. Thank you so much! ”
Dr. James Swanson
“Thank you Dr. Cunningham and team. We feel we got expert care-- very professional and thorough. Top notch care! Thank You! ”
- Knee surgery
“My treatment by Dr. Cunningham, the staff at Vail-Summit Orthopedics, and St. Anthony's Hospital in Frisco was exemplary and the recovery about what I expected. I am grateful to all involved for helping to ensure a good outcome. I recently did a big alpine touring ski trip to a remote camp in the Canadian Rockies.
Stan Wagon, Silverthorne, Colorado
Founding editor, Ultrarunning Magazine
- Knee surgery
“Dr. Cunningham, I just wanted to thank you again for all the work you did on my knee. I am back skiing full force, although I haven't dropped anything bigger than 30ft yet. Thank you again. ”
- Knee surgery
“Dr. Cunningham, thank you for the care and professionalism you guys provided throughout my surgery and recovery. My knee has not felt this good in a long time. Thank you very much. ”
“Dear Dr. Cunningham, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate what you have done for me. Your compassion and care will never be forgotten. ”
Mr. Joseph Miller
“Thank you Dr. Cunningham for everything you've done to make my life normal again. ”