Xan Courville, MD
Dr. Xan Courville is excited to be home in Colorado! She grew up in Fraser, Colorado where her parents managed a ski shop in Winter Park. She went to Middle Park high school in Granby where she recalls being lucky to be at a school that only had classes four days a week. They attended school Tuesday through Friday and on Monday they skied. Dr. Courville was a cross-country skier but in the spring she also ran track. She went on to attend the University of Colorado, where she skied on the cross country ski team and in 1999 she was named the Sportswoman of the Year in Colorado, for skiing. In addition to her accolades as an athlete, Dr. Courville was also an academic scholar. She was the winner of the Byron White Merit-based Scholarship and was awarded the Senior Scholar Athlete Award, for the senior varsity athlete with the highest GPA at the University of Colorado. Her academic awards did not stop in undergraduate school. She was also awarded a Big 8 Postgraduate Scholarship for former varsity athletes pursuing postgraduate studies.
Dr. Courville was always interested in science, specifically anatomy and physiology, so the decision to pursue a career in medicine seemed like a natural fit. She attended medical school at the University of Rochester Medical Center and then, after receiving her MD, attended an additional year of school at Dartmouth in New Hampshire to receive a Masters of Science degree in Health Policy and Clinical Practice. Through this program she learned how to be a physician leader and did research around evidence based medicine and improving hospital outcomes. Following this, she completed her internship and residency in orthopedic surgery at Dartmouth before going on for additional fellowship training at the University of Utah Orthopaedic Center. There, she completed a fellowship in Foot and Ankle Surgery.
“Attending Dartmouth for my orthopedic internship and residency, I was the only female there,” says Dr. Courville. “Many times I had to win over the support of the men. Going through as a female I had to learn to navigate and show that I worked just as hard or harder than the men in the class. I needed to prove myself and I never wanted to look any different or be treated any different than them.” she added.
Dr. Courville liked everything that orthopedics had to offer and she was drawn to specialize in foot and ankle because it was tedious and meticulous and she had the opportunity to do a large variety of surgery. “I chose to specialize in orthopedic surgery because I liked the idea of putting things back together and improving a person’s quality of life. I specialized in foot and ankle surgery because I had the opportunity to care for the entire spectrum of ages – from kids to older adults and it gave me the ability to have a broader scope of practice, instead of doing only a few specific procedures,” she said.
Dr. Courville specializes in arthroscopy, tendon repair, ligament repair and fusions, complicated ankle replacements, and foot reconstructions. She also performs more common procedures for bunions and hammertoes.
Dr. Courville has been an orthopedic surgeon practicing at a level one trauma hospital in Minnesota since 2011. In addition to her specialty training, treating orthopedic trauma is a big part of her medical practice. She is well versed in a variety of orthopedic trauma care – from tibia, femur and hip fractures to wrist fractures, foot and ankle fractures and elbow and upper extremity injures.
Over her career, Dr Courville has been a team physician for the University of Minnesota Duluth athletes, including the Division I National Champion ice hockey team, the Minnesota Ballet, and several other collegiate and high school athletic teams.
“My orthopedic trauma patients are different because they don’t have a choice or a chance to prepare for surgery like an elective surgery patient,” says Dr. Courville. “A big part of treating these patients is helping them cope with an accident or injury and a part of my role is coaching people through this life event or trauma – getting them to the other side. In these cases, I am not only doing the surgery, but working with the patient emotionally as well,” she adds. “My favorite thing about being an orthopedic surgeon is helping people and seeing patients recover and get back to the things they love,” she says.
Dr. Courville has fond memories of growing up and living in a small ski community. “What drew me most to move back to Colorado was the opportunity to come back to a community – a small place where you know your neighbors and people at the post office,” she said. Dr. Courville has two young daughters and wants to raise them in a similar way.
“I could hardly wait to get back to the mountains – to live in the mountains and have a job where I can give back to the community and support the community – a community that did so much for me growing up,” says Dr. Courville.
When Dr. Courville has time on her hands you’ll find her enjoying all the things Colorado has to offer. From alpine skiing and cross country skiing to running, mountain and road biking, hiking and enjoying hockey with her husband, who has been a long-time high school hockey coach in Minnesota.