6 years in two weeks

Howdy Hip Brother Tom,

I post infrequently because I never think about my hip. But I remain grateful to Tom, especially, and others here who added to my decision to get my hip replaced 6 years ago. I write to encourage any fence sitters and those who are still in recovery.

I had my hip replaced by David Mayman at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. In our initial consult he was quite confident that I could do anything with my new hip. And he was right.

I was discharged 18 hours post surgery. Walked with my wife’s arm to the car. Cycled on my wind trainer two days later. Went to work 3 days later. Ran – slowly – after 11 weeks, only because he convinced me to wait because of the risk of developing fibrous tissue if running sooner.

Since then, bliss. I mountain bike every day. Crash occasionally. Run when I want to, although I’m so slow these days (I’m 73) that it’s depressing. But my hip is never – I said never – an issue. I climbed a small mountain with my granddaughter during the holidays and twisted, jumped 3-4 feet down small ledges and ran most of the downhill in hiking boots. The next day we skied some challenging terrain.

There is nothing, ever, that indicates that my hip is not the natural hip of a 30 year old.

I attribute this to modern materials, a good surgeon, and the use of computer-aided precision during the procedure, assuring alignment, leg length etc. Perhaps lucky genes too, I suppose.

But anyone who tells you life has to be limited is wrong. With today’s materials and skills, a hip replacement is just a blip in life. I can’t imagine how miserable I would be if I had not made this decision. I went from running and cycling 10-12 hours a week to constant pain and difficulty walking up two steps in a matter of about 2 months.

Best to everyone, and feel free to message me if you want more encouragement or some dilettante advice.

Steve Nelson… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Dear Hip Brother Tom and all,

Thought I’d poke my head back in to celebrate the 5th anniversary of my hip replacement. In making that decision, HipRunner was a key encouragement.

A brief history for recent folks: I was/am a lifelong athlete. Many marathons (2:40ish), then turned to triathlons, xc ski racing, and many years of bicycle road racing. In 2013, a very occasional nagging hip became a rapidly dysfunctional liability. How fast? In November I could run 5 miles with just modest twinges. By January I could only walk up stairs by leading with the good leg.

I went to one doc who didn’t think it was so bad and recommended PT. Naw. I found my own choice at Hospital for Special Surgery. Self-referred. I asked him, “If you replace my hip, can I run a marathon?” He said, “Sure, but why would you?” (with a wink). I then asked, “Will I be able to backpack and jump 3 or 4 feet off ledge with a 30 or 40 pound pack?” “Yes.””I mountain bike a lot. If I crash, can I break the hip?” “Yes, of course, but you’d be more likely to break the other one!” I said, “Do me.”

So on February 4th, he “did me.” Out of the hospital in 18 hours, back to work in 48 hours. Riding on wind trainer in 48 hours (for just a few, careful minutes). Didn’t run for a number of weeks due to very good advice that the implant needs to fully grow into the bone and that early jarring can lead to fibrous tissue growth.

Long story, I know, but I hope it will encourage newbies. Now, 5 years later, I have no idea that I ever had a THR. My range of motion is normal. I mountain bike nearly every day. I run once in a while. (Not more often because I’m 72 and I hate being slow.) I hike, jump, ski, play racquetball.

I remain grateful to Brother Tom for maintaining this resource, which played a part in one of the best choices I’ve ever made. … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Long Time Away

Because Hipbro Tom’s site was so helpful, I feel guilty being away so long. I won’t repeat my tale, but in February I celebrated 4 year anniversary of right hip replacement.

For anyone considering the procedure, go for it. I literally cannot tell I had a replacement. I mountain bike nearly every day. I run if I feel like it, with ease and no notice of my hip. I’d run more, but I don’t care because I’m too old to ever run as fast as I once did. I ski, backpack, jump, fall . . . everything and anything. I shudder to think of what life would be like if I didn’t take the plunge.

Best to you, Hipbrother! Still grateful!… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Hello Hipsters

I’ve been conspicuously absent, although I don’t suppose it was actually conspicuous to anyone else!

I have nothing important to add, but have enormous affection for Hipbrother Tom and this site, as they inspired me to take the leap, replace my hip and then leap ahead with life.

I am approaching my third anniversary. My absence is primarily a result of almost never thinking I had a replacement. I run. I ski. I mountain bike, I inline speed skate, I Nordic ski, etc. Once again I celebrated the New Year by hiking the modest, but fun, Mt. Sanitas in Boulder CO with my world class climber granddaughter and ran most of the way down, leaping (to the extent an old fart can leap) from rock to rock, landing awkwardly, running the flats and generally risking life and limb, because why live if you don’t risk?

Any surgeon who says “Don’t run” or “don’t do” anything else after surgery should be challenged. This conservative attitude is almost always unnecessary and covers their own asses rather than liberating yours.

My ass is liberated and I couldn’t be happier, (although it does enjoy a good recliner and decent Cabernet more often than it did a few decades ago).

Good wishes to all hipsters and all future hipsters. To paraphrase a saying from a generation ago: A good new hip is a terrible thing to waste.

Steve … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Dear Hipsters

Just thought I’d check in. My absence is a reflection of how infrequently I think about my hip. I had my 2 year anniversary in late February. Suffice it to say I can do anything (albeit slower than when I was . . . er. . . younger).

Since the surgery, beginning at 11 weeks post-op, I’ve run, skied, mt. biked, speedskated,played basketball, backpacked and consumed lots of good wine (I know, unrelated, but honest). In honor of the two year anniversary I skied bumps and powder at Vail and, very recently, ran down from Mt. Sanitas in Boulder, CO, with my 15 year old, superbly athletic granddaughter.

I pounded my hip, landed awkwardly, jumped from rock to rock, fell twice, laughed hard and the only thing that hurt was my feelings, ’cause she beat me to the bottom.

I love hip surgery!!

Hope all y’all are well.

Steve Nelson … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Indestructible!

Dear Hipsters,

There are many encouraging posters on this site. Most recovery stories are filled with wisdom, courage and perseverance. Great to see so many folks shattering conventional, conservative attitudes about hip replacement and aging.

I write with more good news. You can have a hip replaced and be an idiot too!

I am 14 months post-op. Right hip, ceramic/poly. My other posts summarize my quick recovery: Home 18 hours after surgery. Indoor cycling started 4 days post op. Never used cane or crutches. Did my own PT after day one. Ran after 11 weeks. Have skied back bowls in Vail, backcountry skied in VT, cycled lots, inline speed skated etc. I’m 68, so I’m not going to set any PR’s, but I used to be pretty competitive. As the saying goes, “the older I get, the faster I was.”

Throughout the year I have been less and less conscious of my “artificial” hip. Now I take no precautions. That’s where idiot comes in. Here’s a report of last weekend:

On Friday I did a trail run up and down a small “mountain” in central Vermont. 5 mile roundtrip. Uphill was uneventful other than realizing I’m not 35 anymore. Downhill – well – I’m not 35 anymore. I loosened up and got into a youthful rhythm. The bouncing from rock to rock, letting my momentum carry me down at a fast pace, felt glorious. My hip took all the impact I had to offer. Full weight landings from various heights as the trail descended. I got cocky.

Because I’m not 35 (did I point that out?) every stride is slightly shorter than my intentions. It’s like playing basketball, where driving the baseline for a reverse layup, gently spinning the ball off the backboard, now results in “banking” the ball off the bottom of the rim. Or planning to jump nimbly across a puddle and landing just about six inches short of the other side.

So, naturally, my mind thought I was 35, my body knows it’s 68, and my shorter, lower stride resulted in catching my toe on a rock. … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

An observation on speed

Good morning Tom and all Hipsters,

I haven’t posted in a while. Just passed my one year anniversary and have nothing but good things to reflect on. As I’ve previously reported, I seldom notice my hip at this point. I’ve skied powder in CO, backcountry skied in VT, mountain biked, speed-skated, etc.

I used to run a lot. 70-90 miles a week. Decent marathons – 2:40-ish – and lots of shorter races. Also raced bicycles for years. I’m older now (68) and don’t care much about competition. But to the point:

Now that spring is sort of here (I’m in VT with 3 feet of snow in front of the house and 3 feet of mud on the roads), I’m running 20-30 miles per week. I’ve not had any hip pain or difficulty of any kind. However, as I eased back into running, I often felt a very slight difference in my new hip. Not pain, but a slight tug, or twinge. It usually went away after a mile or two.

As you older folks know, flexibility and natural speed take more work with age. But two weeks ago I started doing strides, 100-200 yard pick-ups, in the middle of a run, several times a week. Immediately the tug/twinge phenomenon went away. While I don’t feel 30 (or 40 0r 50) again, adding speed was clearly good for the hip, or so it seems. I imagine it has increased range of motion and/or broken up any residual scar tissue.

I write this because I’ve always felt that plodding was harder on the body than naturally striding out at a good pace. I suspect many of us are actually too careful, jogging very slowly. I don’t think I’ll do any very hard training, but adding some zest to my weekly routine appears to be very good for the hip (and for me). Just a little food for thought.

Steve… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – Final Exam

As previously reported, my recovery has been wonderful. Had surgery 2/22/14. Since then, lots of running, cycling, backcountry skiing, etc.

Final test: Skiing at Vail.

Whoopee! Deep powder, steep back bowls, 4 hours of bliss and a few ass-over-elbow tumbles. Never once thought about my hip.

It was in part the confidence I got from this site that led me to a surgeon who doesn’t believe all the conservative nonsense.

Happy New Year to all Hipsters! … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

steve – hip joy

Dear All,

Not much hip runner action since Tom’s Thanksgiving post, so I thought I’d add a little holiday cheery optimism for those considering, or recovering from, THR. Mine was in February 2014 and I’ve documented my quick, successful recovery in other posts. I began running at 11 weeks post-op and now, if I wish to, can run all I want. I used to run 80-90/week, but am older now and don’t have any great running ambitions. I’m 67 and run 8 – 8:30 pace, 20 or 25 miles/week. But here’s the latest wonder:

I’m in Vermont on sabbatical and have enjoyed the early snow with back country skiing. I mean really backcountry, as in slogging through undergrowth and ravines, etc. (for anyone interested, a company called Altai Skis makes a product, the Hok, which is sort of hybrid between snowshoes and backcountry ski. You can go anywhere in snow of any depth, like snowshoes, but can also kick and glide and slide down hills)

The fun hip news is that I’ve done many miles without even thinking about my hip. I’ve fallen. I’ve run into (thankfully) small trees. I’ve been in the most awkward positions, legs splayed in every direction, ridiculous forces on various joints, and never thought about my hip. Last winter I couldn’t even walk uphill on these very skis. What a marvelous change!

If you are limited in activity, but reluctant to undergo surgery, perhaps my experience will be helpful

Happy Holidays to all hipsters.

Cheers,

Steve… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – information/opinion for new or potential members

Dear All,

I am no more (and no less!) qualified to offer advice than many others, including Hip brother Tom. But I know that I was desperate for hope when I found this site and therefore I offer a few things in response to questions posed by new visitors.

As a matter of responsibility, I suppose I must offer the typical disclaimer: Every case is different and my comments/advice may not apply to all situations. There – that’s out of the way.

After my own research, and lengthy conversations with my surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC, I believe most of the conservative restrictions post surgery are nonsense and old-fashioned. This field, like most other human endeavors, has advanced dramatically over the years.

1. The notion that the implant will somehow shake loose with impact or repetitive activity is false, according to my doctor. When the bone knits to the pores in the implant, it makes a solid bond. My doctor implied that the new femur is as strong or stronger than my natural leg. His only precaution was to resist running for 12 weeks post-surgery to allow the bone to grow properly into the implant. If too much motion occurs too early at the interface, fibrous tissue can develop, which is not a good thing. Thereafter, it’s good to go.

2. The idea of the parts “wearing out” seems equally nonsensical. Many, perhaps most, of the folks on this site have a ceramic “ball” and a polyethylene socket liner. Both of these materials have evolved so as to have nearly indefinite life. One study I read of the newest highly-crossed polyethylene showed virtually no wear at all after many years of activity. My impression is that they really don’t know the longevity because it simply hasn’t been in use long enough. But at least my doctor was quite certain that it will outlive me. I’m 67, but still as active as several decades ago. It seems silly to restrict activities at all, considering that the life of these things may well be 30 years or more. If … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – 5 1/2 month update

Dear Hipsters,

I write to offer ongoing encouragement to those contemplating or recovering from a THR. My surgery was February 22, 2014.

I suppose I was/am luckier than some, but my situation is nearly miraculous. I missed only 2 days of work, cycled indoors on post-op day 5, never used a cane or other device and have progressed steadily thereafter. I cycled normally by week 5 and began running at week 11.

My hope at surgery time was that my summer would be unaffected by my hip. And so it is. 95% of the time I have no sense of even having had the surgery. If I didn’t know, I would be unable to identify which hip was replaced.

In the past month I’ve hiked aggressively in the White Mountains. Jumped joyfully from rock to rock on downhills without any unusual sensation. I don’t run a lot, but not because I can’t. I just spend more time road and mountain biking. I run 3 or 4 times a week, 3-5 miles per run. No issues, no pain, no limitations. Biking is even better. I’m stronger than I’ve been in years.

I even helped my daughter move and lugged unreasonably heavy furniture up narrow stairs, putting strain on my hip at odd angles and all else that moves entail. Again, no effect whatsoever on my hip.

It seems a bit self-absorbed to write all of this, but I do so just so others have an example of what outcome is possible.

Hope others are doing well.

Cheers,

Steve … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – 14 week report

Few things in life are actually better than anticipated. With holidays in childhood, for example, the excitement in advance is nearly always greater than the events themselves. And who among us ever had a blind date that lived up to the pre-date fantasy?

But unlike a blind date, my actual hip is better than my fantasies of my hip and I get to sleep with it too! Every night!

I started running 3 weeks ago. 2-3 miles, 3-4 times a week. Contrary to expectations, I’ve not had to retreat and reconsolidate. For example, on this past weekend I ran 3 hilly miles Saturday and this seems to have prepared me for my 4.5 mile run on Sunday. I was barely able to discern any difference between hips. This is all odd for me, as 90 mile weeks were common 3 decades ago, but 4.5 miles feels pretty good right now, even if I’m running 2 minutes per mile more slowly. That has nothing to do with my hip and everything to do with the passage of time.

Hope all hipsters are well!… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – I’m now officially a HipRunner!!

Well, patience is not my best quality. I was advised to wait until 12 weeks post-op to try running. The warm sun and too-crowded-to-bike-in-Central-Park circumstances were seductive, so I donned my Brooks and headed out yesterday – the 11 week mark. What’s a week? The power of rationalizing!!

So, I ran 3 miles. At my age (67) and with no running in more than a year, the pace was slooooowwww, probably 9 minute miles, but I felt so incredibly liberated.
I was curious to see how my hip would react. The answer was immensely gratifying. I experienced no pain whatsoever. My stride was normal, even when I accelerated a bit to run around someone. I didn’t push myself too much, but that was more because of general lack of running fitness, not my hip. The only thing that reminded me that I had a hip replacement was a sensation right in the hip joint itself. It may have been my imagination, but I think I could tell that the materials were firmer than my natural hip. The greatest surprise was that I felt no pain or weakness in the muscles around the hip, and absolutely no unusual feeling in the femur with the implant.

This morning I have a bit of general stiffness, just from running for the first time. But even this feeling is bilateral and mostly in the quads. I can’t feel anything unusual in or near the hip.

So, I’m ecstatic. Before surgery I would not have imagined that I would have mountain biked, road biked, speed skated and run, all before the 3 month mark.

So, thanks to Tom and this site for conveying what’s possible and allowing all of us to share our stories.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – 10 week report

Crossed another item off my post-surgery bucket list. Yesterday I resumed inline speed skating. I was a bit wary, as Central Park is an obstacle course of tourists, strollers, slow cyclists etc, when on fast skates with no brakes. But . . .

And it was marvelous, liberating! 10 more days to the 12 week mark, when I’m cleared to cross off another item with my first run. I’ll report that too, just because this may be the only audience that actually cares. (My wife sort of cares, but . . . )

Hope all are progressing well!… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – Week 7 and cycling

Good morning, Hipsters.

7 weeks post-op and feeling mighty good. Sunday consisted of 3 miles pleasant walking, several sets of PT and a 25 mile cycle.

Most of the time I am unaware of any difference between hips.

As to cycling . . . For those who don’t cycle, or see it as very secondary, a word about cycling after THR:

While I wait to run, I’ve been pressing cycling (I used to race fairly seriously). Within these few weeks, initially spinning on a wind trainer, now riding outside, I find that my cycling fitness is returning very, very quickly. Obviously the precise range of motion and specific muscles make this a more predictable workout, but the normality is quite striking. I’ve ridden only a dozen times, half of them indoors, but my power is nearly normal. I know pace and gear ratio on a whole series of inclines and hills, so my comparisons are fairly accurate.

I write this because of the obvious need to approach running more gradually due, in part, to the much greater impact but also, I suspect, due to the more complex muscle systems involved.

The opportunity to press earlier with cycling may allow other hip-runners to be, albeit it temporarily, hip-cyclists. Perhaps my experience is unique, but I think probably not. The chance to work toward a high level of fitness only 7 weeks post-op is very good for my psychological well-being. I surely could not do this with running.

Hope all recent THR’s are progressing brilliantly.

Cheers,

Steve… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – 6 week doctor visit

My 6 week post-op visit was delightful and short, although I was reminded to be patient. As I’ve previously posted, my recovery has been quite amazing by any standard. I’m cycling, including mountain biking, feel virtually normal in all daily activities including miles of walking – blah, blah.

But my conversation with Dr. Mayman elicited some information I hope others will find helpful and encouraging.

First, he surprised me by recommending that I not run for another 6 weeks. The risks are low, he acknowledged, but why bother? At 12 weeks the growth of bone into the implant will have created, in his words, a hip as strong or stronger than my natural hip.

I also asked if “risky” activities like cycling challenging single track should be avoided for fear of breaking the hip. He responded that the new hip would be significantly harder to break than the natural hip and he has no reservations about such activities.

Finally, I asked about really high impact, for example: By summertime, when backpacking, should I be cautious about jumping from rock to rock (perhaps 3 foot drop) and absorbing the impact on my new hip. Not at all, he replied.

All of this was quite liberating, other than his suggestion to wait a bit longer to run.

He also reiterated (with appropriate caveats) that the evidence is mounting that a properly aligned hip with ceramic head and cross-linked polyethylene liner appears to be nearly impervious to wear, at least during my lifetime.

He said there was really no point in seeing me sooner than 2 years from now and then only to get an image to confirm that nothing has changed at all.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – 4 week report continued

It just feels fun to report that I celebrated 4 weeks post-op with an hour mountain bike ride on single track (nothing too technical, as I haven’t lost my mind). Lots of rolling hills and felt darned near normal.

What a great feeling! I wish I could run (doc said wait a few more weeks), but it’s mighty fine to be able to do everything and anything else.

Can’t be more grateful for this progress! And I’m delighted I found this site so I have a place to write self-indulgent reports and, hopefully, encourage others who are deciding whether or not to take this step.… (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – 4 week report

Ah, hip bliss.   After 4 weeks, under most circumstances I’d have trouble noticing anything that suggests I’m only a month post-surgery.  Just returned from a wedding – 1000 miles of driving, blah, blah.  Could have danced all night, if I cared about dancing all night.   A few glasses of wine and watching another generation lose all inhibition was entertainment enough.

The Hiprunner-related report is that even my daring Doc wouldn’t approve a start to running quite yet.   While I feel like running, feel completely normal cycling, etc., here was his cogent advice:  “The bone needs to grow into the pores in the implant.  That takes some time.  If there is too much stress on the interface before the bone grows in fully then you can get fibrous tissue instead of bone.”

That’s clear and helpful.  The really good news is that he suggested I wait a “couple more weeks.”   So, I have his blessing to start running at 6 weeks post-op.  That’s good enough for me.

The running, frankly, is mostly symbolic, as I have no intentions of training hard.  I love to run as a means of having an option when weather is lousy for wheel-sports.  I was a decent (2:40’s) marathoner, but now mostly inline speed skate and cycle.  I like running more than I like cleaning bearings.  My attraction to this site was because of the encouraging “Tom optimism” that contradicts all the unnecessary, conservative, post-op gloom one finds elsewhere.

 

 … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)

Steve – 3 week report

It’s so good it’s getting boring.   At 3 weeks post-op my daily functioning and energy are normal.  I have to remind myself to behave.  I just returned from a 2 mile errand walk at a brisk stroll and certainly could have doubled it.   Unlike a week ago, my hip doesn’t feel odd in any way, although I can’t quite claim that I am oblivious to having had surgery.  As I’ve reported before, I can and do jog a short distance, to make a crosswalk light, to catch a cab or just for the hell of it.   It feels fine.  I’m not dumb enough (not quite) to actually try running, but I delight in the fact that it is tempting.

For Jen T and others who are deciding how quickly to “pull the trigger,” I am sooo glad I went ahead immediately.  I was hoping by having the surgery in late February that I’d be in good enough shape to visit my son and his family in Colorado in late March.  Not only are we going, but he and I just made arrangements to do an easy mountain bike ride on trails where falling is unlikely.   Had I not done the surgery, I’d be riding a tricycle with my granddaughter.  I think I’ll do that too!!

 

 

 

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Steve – 2 week anniversary

Well, the progress continues to astound me.  I suppose it is due to many factors, but I’m grateful to be sure.

I returned to work on post-op day 4 and, on post-op day 9 was back to full time.   Friday evening, post-op day 13, I attended an evening benefit for my school.  I had two short speech/presentations to make and was completely comfortable bounding up the 3 steps to the podium.

I have no pain, just a very mild feeling after exercise or when first rising from sitting for a while.  I’ve doubled my PT (I just do my own thing – no actually physical therapist) and the range of motion of my new hip is nearly identical to my “natural” hip.   After PT yesterday I cycled about 30 minutes on the wind trainer.  I felt very close to normal.  Apparently cycling muscles were not affected much, as I could have pushed a pretty big gear if I tried.  I restrained myself.  I was tempted to cycle outside and do a few loops in Central Park (I live in NYC), but I suppose crashing is a bad idea.

I won’t, for obvious reasons, but I actually feel as though I could go for a short run.  Certainly from a strength and comfort perspective, I could do that, but I wonder/worry if the implant is sufficiently knit to bone to allow that kind of jarring. I’ll be patient and wait a few weeks for clearance from my doc.

 … (Click Here to View Full Post and Comments)