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Renewed Hope for Miles Ahead

Renewed Hope for Miles Ahead

Benj Sinclair doesn’t just look at the mountains, he lives for the peaks and trails year-round. So when knee pain began to hinder his ability to seek adventure, it had a significant impact on his quality of life. “In 2021 and 2022, I had to wear a knee brace, and I really couldn't hike more than about 6 hours,” he recalled. “I couldn't do an eight-hour hike or it would just balloon up and get really painful.”

It was then that he reached out to St. John’s Health and scheduled a full knee replacement for February of 2023. From the jump, Benj was scheduled for pre-hab — physical therapy to speed his healing time after surgery.

“I started PT about two and a half months before the surgery, and, wow, what a difference that made,” he said. “Jackson is blessed with having a number of highly experienced physical therapists, and I was very fortunate to have excellent care with a couple of them.”

“At first, I was not really on it, and I think I may have missed an appointment or two. I wasn't really dedicated to doing the exercises,” he admitted. “But when it got towards December, I realized that if I didn't take it seriously, it was going to be a much longer recovery than what everybody was saying. So I just got after it, and I did the exercises. I was just really committed to it.”

The commitment paid off. “By six weeks after the surgery, I was cross country skiing. After twelve weeks, I was hiking again,” he said. “I haven't done any major peaks or really long hikes, but I know now that I can; I've skied three times at Teton Village and went pretty hard. And no pain. Zero pain.”

“I was just so thankful to my surgeon Dr. Lighthart and his crew because his whole protocol and his team are so good at what they're doing; they're so professional and thorough. I mean, they were on it every hour after the surgery,” he said. “Before surgery, I heard really good things about him and everything I heard was true. I know a lot of other people go to Salt Lake or they go to Aspen or they go somewhere, but he's incredible.”

Had Benj needed to travel out of state to have the surgery, he said, it would have been a far more stressful ordeal. “If I'd gone to Salt Lake, it would have been a huge hassle. I really didn't have a place to stay… it would have been kind of a nightmare having to travel that much.”

Instead, he was delighted to have Dr. Lighthart — who had performed over 11,000 knee replacements prior to his arrival at St. John’s Health — right in his home community. Being able to minimize travel and logistics eased the strain on both Benj and his wife, and he believes that it contributed directly to his quick and thorough recovery.

“I was just amazed at how efficient, caring, and professional they were. It was a great experience for me,” he recalled. “When I went home, they sent me away with banana bread and a card that everybody on his team signed. It was really incredible. It was just amazing how thorough they were — thorough and caring and just on the ball.”

Benj is delighted to have jumped right into the ski season, and with zero pain. He is enjoying not only a winter season of skiing powdery slopes and lengthy cross-country adventures, but an upcoming season of getting back to miles and miles of Teton trails. Perhaps even a peak or two — all without knee pain.

“This is like a new lease,” he said with a smile. “It totally transformed my life.”