Back to the Fun: Grace Tennett’s knee replacement with Dr. George

Grace Tennant lived nearly her entire life with a deteriorating left knee. When she was 12 years old, young Grace tore her ACL while skiing, and over the years underwent three knee surgeries to try to maintain its function.

“I tore my ACL skiing and, then I did not listen to the doctors,” says the 48-year-old mother of three. “I ran trail marathons and skied bumps and did all the things I wasn’t supposed to do, because that is what I loved doing.”

Grace was only able to push through steady bouts of knee pain and discomfort with ibuprofen, ice and rest, taking weeks at a time away from her favorite activities.

Two years ago, things got to a point where Grace was showing signs of knee arthritis. She could no longer run, and it became difficult to hike. She also could no longer ski fast or steeps. “All I could do was go for short walks” she says. “I couldn’t do the things that made me happy.”

Grace chose to work with Dr. Christopher George, orthopedic surgeon at ValleyOrtho to explore the find the right solution for her pain. “Dr. George is super down to earth, super available,” she says. “He was so thorough and willing to answer questions.”

Although she was only 47 at the time, considered young for a full replacement, Grace was elated when she found she was eligible. “When I found out I was a candidate for surgery, I scheduled it right away.”

According to Grace, the whole replacement process was smooth – from start to finish – from pre-procedure insurance authorization to physical therapy. “Everyone involved took such good care of me, and things were so well organized,” she says. “After surgery, once I got past the first week, I did my PT as prescribed then just started hitting the weights at home as much as I could.”

Grace says that she was back to her “old self” quickly. The Glenwood Springs Middle School counselor returned to work on day 13 of post-op, and because of advancements in knee replacement technology, she believes her new knee could last 30 years or longer.

This winter Grace was back on the hill, skiing fast and steep. She says it was the best ski season she had in 10 years. “I cried when I hiked the Highland Bowl this year,” she says. “It was almost a year to the day from my knee replacement surgery, and the last time I did it was 10 years ago. To be able to do that, and do it with my son who’d just turned 13, I was just so grateful.”

This summer Grace plans to get out and do all the things her old knee had once prevented her from enjoying. “I’m really excited to raft the Middle Fork of the Salmon River this June with my family,” she says. “You use the legs a lot when you’re oaring a raft.”