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Running after hip replacement

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Old 01-25-2008, 12:53 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Wheeling, WV, USA
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jearef HB User
Question Running after hip replacement

I am new to this forum, and looking for some advice/encouraging information. I am 51 years old, and have always been quite active. I am a high school and college basketball official, working 50-75 games each season. I keep myself in pretty good shape year round; I stand 6-2", and weigh about 210.

Two weeks ago, my doctor informed me that the pain in my right thigh is the result of arthritis in my hip joint. He tells me a replacement is likely.

I have heard that with new technology, etc., there are procedures which can be done after which I will still be able to officiate basketball. I don't expect to be a marathoner, or even to run on a daily basis year-round. I just want to be able to use the bike, eliptical, etc. to stay in shape during the off-season, and then run on the court from November through early March. If I can't expect that sort of result, I may just deal with the pain until the joint is totally shot.

Have any of you had this sort of success after a THR? What type of procedure did you undergo, and what sort of prosthesis was implanted? Are there alternatives?

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 01-26-2008, 07:47 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 145
Ripanco HB User
Re: Running after hip replacement

Hi jearef,

You are asking a tough question for which there is no absolute answer. There are so many variables to consider. Factors in the equation include your fittness, SKILL OF SURGEON, frame of mind, type of prosthetic. Then it is up to you and your surgeon as to what you want to do with your new hips. That said, I can only tell you how my THR worked.

I had simultaneous bilateral THR 2.5 yrs ago at age 53. Severe osteoarthritis. I was very fit and athletic at the time although I had to quit running for 6 months before surgery from pain. I had an outstanding surgeon who spent a lot of time trying to understand my hopes for a succesful surgery. Mostly I wanted to return to a very active lifestyle. He chose the type of prosthetic he felt would hold up the best for me. I trusted him, and I now sport a lovely pair of Stryker highly crosslinked poly/titanium hips. My surgeon uses MIS posterior approach(no muscles cut). I was not a candidate for resurfacing due to the severe deterioration of my hips, but if I were you, I would look into that procedure too.

I had a 2 month wait for surgery, during which I cut way back on my cardio and concentrated on weight training, so that I went into my surgery really lean and strong. The surgeons loved me!! I was home in 2 days, just blowing the PT away and my entire recovery was record breaking. But I had a very postive outlook and worked my butt off. Not easy, but what I needed.

I was able to return to just about all my athletic endevors within weeks, albeit at a very tentative pace to begin with. After a year, you would have no idea I have THR. I mountainbike, rollerblade, hike, kayak, ski both downhill and x/c hard, competetivly ride in hunter/jumper/event shows, clean stalls and heave bales. My work is taking care of and grooming dogs and cats, so I lift 90 lb dogs into a raised tub. I still run some, but low mileage on soft surfaces with cushioned shoes. I do have to run really fast with the horses sometimes.

So it is possible to do all that you want following THR. I realize that I may be wearing out my hips faster than if I baby them, but that is my choice and I accept the responsiblity of that. On the other hand, my stong muscles, tendons and ligaments are helping to protect those babies too. At my 1 yr checkup my OS was totally thrilled with how they looked at gave me the complete go ahead or to quote "go for it". I am very glad I did not wait anylonger, in fact wish I had done it years ago. Your hips will only continue to deteriorate making it a harder surgery with less chance of success. Do find a great surgeon and DO keep in shape. Stay postive, life is wonderful with painfree hips!!!


Old 01-26-2008, 09:03 AM   #3
Silver Swan
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Re: Running after hip replacement

Dear Andrea:

Having just recently had one hip replacement, I am in awe of anyone having both hips done at the same time! How on earth did you manage recovery? For instance, there was no "good" hip to take most of the standing weight. I understand that you were in very good shape, having prepared well with exercise, but still.....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shirley H.

Old 01-27-2008, 05:26 AM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Wheeling, WV, USA
Posts: 6
jearef HB User
Smile Re: Running after hip replacement


You have absolutely made my day. Motivation, fitness level, etc. will not be a problem for me. I am already in better shape than most folks my age, and knowing that being in top condition will up my chances for running after the procedure, I'll refocus my daily training. As far as choosing a surgeon is concerned, I don't care where I have to go in the country to find someone who is willing to help me remain active, as opposed to a surgeon who tells me that I should just "accept what happens to us as we grow older". Are you permitted to tell me where you had your surgery done, and by whom?

Also, I'm interested in hearing about your pre-surgery training regimen. Did you focus on the hip induction/abduction exercises, as well as core-strengthening routines? Anything specific that you found to be exceptionally helpful?

Thanks again for the bright light at the end of a very dark tunnel.


Old 01-27-2008, 01:58 PM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 480
Tobias HB User
Re: Running after hip replacement

I've had both hips replaced. While I refuse to run or engage in high impact activities(in the interest of perhaps having my fake joints outlive me if that's at all possible), I can use elliptical trainers, walk miles, cycle, & xcountry ski. If you look long enough, you will likely be able to find a surgeon who will tell you what you want to hear. In the final analysis it's your hip and your life.
Just don't do what I did and put it off so long that I couldn't even take a step without a cane and the NSAIDS stopped helping. By waiting I lost a chunk of living while I dealt with what I now view as an unnecessary disability. I needed one of the hips replaced at about age 55 but waited 4 more long years to actually do the dirty deed. In retrospect they were wasted years.
Have any of the surgeons you've contacted mentioned resurfacing?

Old 01-27-2008, 04:22 PM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Wheeling, WV, USA
Posts: 6
jearef HB User
Re: Running after hip replacement

My first trip to the surgeon is going to be in two weeks. I'll be asking about resurfacing, as well as a long list of other questions.

Anyone have any experience with Joint Implant Surgeons, Inc. near Columbus, OH?

Old 01-27-2008, 10:16 PM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 303
legallyblondied HB User
Re: Running after hip replacement

Hi Jearef...I had my right hip resurfaced a year and a half ago and explore both areas THR and HR before you make a
decision and make sure you speak with a doc that does BOTH
procedures so he will not be biased either way. I belong to
another board and there are a few runners who post and one
who has been in the Iron Man Marathon and done well. I think
that there is a doc that is also a runner and is running again.
I think hip resurface docs as well as THR docs do not recommend and high impact exercises and if you run, do not
run on concrete but on grass...i was told that i could do everything but bunjie jump and sky dive. I am a dancer, an
old one at that but wanted the resurface because if felt it was
bone conserving and if i fractured, i could go for the THR.
I have been fine and taking jazz class 2 times a week and
can do the splits again....Karen

Old 01-28-2008, 05:51 AM   #8
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Ripanco HB User
Re: Running after hip replacement


I live in Vermont so I am not much help to you in finding a good surgeon. I had my hips replaced at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical in Hanover NH. I am not saying that my OS is thrilled with my wanting to run again, but he does understand what a big part of my life (and DH's) it is, so he is willing to work with me on it. I do know that there are many surgeons across the country that are confindent enough in their work to not forbid running. There are plenty of THR and resurfs that still compete in marathons and tris. I am not quite that willing to risk an early revision, but do need to do some running with my work and I also need to satisfy that passion that I share with my DH. Also, he has been so very impressed with how well I recovered and how wonderful the hips look after 2 years, he is more willing to keep me doing what I am doing. He even may start having his other patients use the post surgery gait training I had. In the big picture, 2 yrs is not long, but at this point I am going to keep up with what is working.

You may want to try a few internet sites that are sports oriented, with message boards and ask if there are any resurfs or THR in your area and find out who they went to. There use to be a great thread on a running site of THR who had returned to their athletics. Unfortuanly, when spam got to be too much it was shut down and I have not found it again yet.

As far as my pre-surgery training, I just did full body strength training just about daily by focusing on legs, core, upper body in different sessions. We had gym memberships at the time and mostly used free weights and a few of the machines. I now use free weights, balance ball, rower, bands, all things we have at home. Balance your whole body. While you will need extra strong arms and core for a short time after surgery, it won't be long before you will be tying to use your legs and strong muscles will help speed that along. I also made sure to shed any extra fat I was carrying. My body fat was a whooping 8-12% (yes I am female). I ate really, really healthy which is pretty much our norm anyhow. I was not skinny, just really lean but strong. At 5"4" I still weighed 130lbs (size 4), but it was mostly muscle. The only down side was that I did not fit into the frame on the surgery table to hold me on my side! They had to bring in some padding. I wish I could say I maintained that size, but alas, without the surgery motivation, I have lost some of that conditioning and my body fat now is more like 15-18%, less muscle but still size 4.

I can only imagine what refering a basketball game is like since I have never done it, but I think there may be sudden turns in directions and of course the court is solid. Both these factors are negatives. On the other hand, I think it would be short bursts of speed with some rest time? Long, stready pounding is most likely to wear the hips the most, but short bursts with some jogging is not as bad. Do look into the most cushioned shoe you can find and socks too. You will have to think more about being careful when you make fast changes of directions, although once you get strong again, it is the mucles and tendons that take most of that brunt.

I should also mention that I did have a great home support team too. My college son was home and could take over my business and my DH was able to take a week off work. They were marvelous about both my physical and mental needs.

At any rate, I am glad if I can give you a postive and hopeful outlook on fixing your hips. If I can answer any other guestions, fire away.


Old 01-28-2008, 09:00 AM   #9
liverpool sue
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Location: nr. liverpool, england
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liverpool sue HB User
Re: Running after hip replacement

i think it's a little unfair to suggest that only surgeons 'confident enough in their work' do not forbid running. i would suggest that there's a lot more to take into consideration - patients health, lifestyle, physical ability, etc. we are all given advice to follow and then it's up to us to decide for ourselves. my surgeon is an expert in resurfacing, being one of the first in britain to do this procedure and having done many, many such operations, and he advised me not to run (not a problem for me) - advice i chose to follow. i'm sure there are other patients of his who chose to ignore his advice. nothing to do with the surgeons 'confidence in his work', but informed decisions by his patients.

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