On his 80th birthday, friends and family of Fred gathered at the base of Vail Mountain’s Chair 10 to watch him land a jump known as a daffy. He pulled it off beautifully; not a surprise to those who know him.
Fred is often praised for his skiing abilities and it looks like that praise isn’t going to end anytime soon. Now that his knees are back up to the task, the 81-year old skies over 100 days a year and rides his bike up Vail Pass nearly everyday in the summer. Several years ago, his right knee started giving him problems. Fred says it was painful to walk causing a marked limp.
Over time, the pain became severe and started to prevent him from skiing. That’s when he decided to seek treatment. Fred chose Dr. John Gottlieb, whom he has known for the past 30 years. “I knew he was the best for knees,” Fred says of the renowned surgeon who originally founded Vail-Summit Orthopaedics in 1979. Dr. Gottlieb performs more ACL reconstructions than most orthopedic surgeons in the world.
Arthroscopy is done through small incisions in the knee. During the procedure, Dr. Gottlieb inserted a small camera instrument about the size of a pencil (called the arthroscope) into Fred’s knee joint. The arthroscope sent an image to a television monitor where Dr. Gottlieb could see the structures of the knee in great detail. Then, Dr. Gottlieb inserted tiny instruments through another incision which he used to repair the torn meniscal cartilage.
The surgery lasted less than an hour and Fred was able to go home that same day. Recovery from knee arthroscopy is much faster than recovery from traditional open knee surgery. Still, Dr. Gottlieb says it’s important for patients to follow their post-operative instructions in order to reduce initial swelling and pain and to accelerate the healing process.
Fred followed through with a formal physical therapy program which helped to restore his motion and strengthen the muscles in his leg and knee. Fred says these therapeutic exercises had a lot to do with his successful outcome. “My experience with Dr. Gottlieb couldn’t have been better and the support staff was great,” remembers Fred.