32 years old, need THR on my right hip.


I just wanted to come here to introduce myself. My name is Sara, I am 32, and I have been told I need THR. I have always loved sports but growing up I had a hard time finding where I connected to sports.  Hand eye coordination has never been my thing, and I was often left on the sidelines. When I went to college I originally went for sports management, looking to find my connect to sport but my career ended up someplace else.  When I was about 26 I decided I need to get in shape. I started running for weight loss (I was never overweight, just didn’t like where I was headed) and feel in love with running for the effects on my mental health/how it made me feel.

S0, here I am 6 years later. Two doctors have told me I need THR, which I have seen the x-ray, and there is no doubt that is true. The first doctor I felt like was in disbelief because of my age, no family history of arthritis, no former injuries, and I felt like did one of those “in disbelief laughs” and told me to find another way for stress relief other than running. Told me to play tennis, swim or go for walks and said “even walking can be bad”.  Second doctor I saw was top Boston hospital. Same story, no running. Felt pretty defeated after that. I feel they are telling me the same thing they would tell someone a lot older than me, who isn’t that active. I like to push myself/explore and I feel like I am being told I can’t do that anymore. I have an appointment with a running clinic/hospital in Boston next month. I am hoping they can have an more optimistic approach.

I have found an awesome Physical Therapist. She has been great and thinks that my femur on my right side (the bad hip) is longer then the left and that is what is caused the OA. For me, I just want to know what caused this so I can get back to being active, and damage the prosthetic less after surgery. I feel like the the orthopedic surgeons I have seen are really great at what they do, but they have no interest in finding out why this has happened, just to fix the problem at hand. Which I guess in reality, that’s their job. But nerveless, still frustrating.

In my head I have a timeline of getting it done the first week in December. My company shuts down for 2 weeks in December, so more time to recover. Also my favorite holiday is New Years so I want to be up on my feet before than. I want to stay active this summer. I love stand up paddle boarding and I don’t want to be on the couch all summer (we have had a brutal spring in Boston this year and I just want to be outside as much as possible). I have in my head this summer I have to be fit as possible before this surgery. So looking for ways to do that this summer. I do the strong lifts 5X5 program, cycling classes, and I swam last Saturday and it felt great! I need to do better at the workouts my PT gives me, I know those are the most important.

With surgery being done in December 2018, I have hopes to run the Boston Marathon 2020. I need to run Boston once. If that’s my last, then so be it. Do you think that is doable?

Thanks so much for setting up this page! It has given me hope!

Home Forums 32 years old, need THR on my right hip.

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    • #12427

      Hi! I just wanted to come here to introduce myself. My name is Sara, I am 32, and I have been told I need THR. I have always loved sports but growing
      [See the full post at: 32 years old, need THR on my right hip.]

    • #12496

      Hi Sara. At 57 I’m a very recent (21 March 2018) artificial hip recipient. I haven’t begun running again yet. I can’t really speak as to what may have caused your hip to fail at such a young age. But 32 does seem rather young for needing a new hip. I would recommend that you seek the advice of others in the medical and physical therapy community to first try to determine exactly what caused it. It may be an imbalance that the hip replacement won’t necessarily fix. With regard to your post-op plans of running Boston in 2020. Personally, I would set some intermediate goals that are a little easier to attain…10k, 10-miler, half-marathon, etc. I’d hate to see you go off and hurt yourself (again) simply trying to stick to an original goal that might be out of reach. But good luck with your upcoming December surgery. Stay in touch and let us know how everything is going.


    • #12506

      Sara, I was lucky enough to have a surgeon that was athlete friendly, he said thst I could pretty much do whatever activity I wanted after 3 months. I’m now 3 1/2 months post bilateral THR and I’m mostly on my mt bike. I’ve done some walk/runs, but I’m just not comfortable enough to go all out with running just yet. Everyone heals different and you’ll just have to listen to your hip and body to let you know how hard you can push. There shouldn’t be any reason you can’t run again. I’m sure that a lot of the surgeons error on the side of caution, particularly with your age, as opposed to someone my age, 59, where they probably think I’ll be dead before the hip wears out.

      I think we were all excited when we found this website, thank you Tom, it does give you hope, and I know I hammer the pedals on the mt bike already and am going to ride in a 99 mile race in a couple of months. Keep the faith, Todd.

    • #12747

      It’s time for you to take control of your destiny, and it looks to me, by the fact that you found this site that you are beginning to do so. I believe that this is exactly why Tom created this site….yes he probably had you in mind, although he didn’t know you at the time. … it’s time for you to do your own research and be the primary decision maker (with the aid of the Dr’s of course), as to what procedures and implant your going to have. Now that I got that fatherly advice out of the way (I’m 62) I will tell you a short summary of what happened to me. About two years ago I was diagnosed osteoarthritis and told by my primary DR that I would need a THR and oh, by the way…. no running! as running is such a big part of my life, it was a major blow. I thought that if I was a race horse, it would have been easier, because they would just shoot me and it would over quickly.
      The short of it was I got on the internet, found this site, and and others and discovered, yup there are guys/gals who continue to run, are competitive, and yes, run distance. I found an alternate procedure and device (resurfacing) that is oriented towards people who want to be active…like running. I also found one of the most premiere resurfacing surgeons in the world who happened to be in my backyard and took my insurance plan. See my previous post on my pre-surgery interview with the DR. where I popped the “R” question..it’s quite humerus I think.
      Yes, I think staying active before surgery is the best thing you can do for an quick and easier recovery. I ran 3 marathons in three months and ran every day before surgery. I am now 6 months post surgery, I generally run at least a 5k and more often a 10 k everyday. I completed 3 10k running events (I’m still slow, but getting faster, the good part is that my wife and I can now, run together! ) planning to run the Eugene 1/2 marathon next weekend, Longest run to date will see how it goes.

      My final words are in regards to the Boston Marathons, Yes! you should definitely plan on running this one sometime in your life…. It will change you…the journey will, if not the event. This is a picture of Carol and I at the start in 2017 (my 3rd Boston. Carol’s 1st. she ran 8 marathons to finally qualify) it was one of the best things we ever experienced together. Boston 2017

    • #12750

      Carol and I Boston 2017

      Carol and I in the Athletes Village just before the start of the 2017 Boston Marathon

    • #13120

      Hi Sara

      I had my first THR at 47, and my second 3 years later. Both times I went home from the hospital the same day, spent about 12 hours total as a patient. I went back to work after a week for the left and 2 weeks for the right. My company did make some accommodations for me since my job is fairly active. I started running again after 12 weeks for the left. I am 11 weeks post op for the right, so I have not attempted to run yet.

      I was SO relieved after having the first THR. The recovery was not as difficult as I anticipated and I was able to hike 6 miles 5 weeks post op. At 12 weeks, my hip felt totally normal. It changed my life, after years of pain and months of poor sleep.

      Best of luck to you!

    • #13143

      Hi Sara!

      When I was 20, I had a spine x-ray after a car accident that included my pelvis. While my spine was fine, the doctor returned saying with a mean-spirited/disbelieving laugh, “You have the hips of an 80 year old woman!” I was shocked and felt terrible. At the time, I ran college cross-country with no distress. When I asked, “What do I do?” the doctor asked, “Does it hurt?” I said no. He replied, “Then you do nothing. Come back when it hurts.” I ran with no problems on and off for the next 15+ years.

      Within the past 2-3 years (now age 41), I noticed that I had decreased flexibility in my legs. When trying to do the splits (which I was never very good at anyway) I could only spread my legs 90-100 degrees max when seated on the floor. Sitting cross-legged was difficult and became impossible. When I tried to run again after a tough winter, it felt like I couldn’t kick my legs out far enough for a comfortable stride. Nothing hurt and I wasn’t out of breath, but my stride was uncomfortably short. I didn’t relate this change to my hips until a theater coach who led us in stretching suggested that I have my hips evaluated. Then I remembered what the original doc had told me at 21.

      Mayo Clinic advised that I needed one, perhaps two, hips replaced. As a general rule, MC does not replace two hips simultaneously for young healthy people. I had my first hip replaced on 3/21/18. I need to wait at least three months before the doc would be willing to replace hip #2.

      I wanted to share with you the following things:

      1) I, too, wanted to know what caused this, as I am otherwise very healthy. I was told that when young people (under 45) need hip replacements, it is usually because the femur did not develop ideally in childhood. A childhood “defect” of sorts, but not really. Instead of a smooth ball and socket, the ball of the femur is jagged or rough and therefore causes damage and arthritis much earlier than in most folks.

      2) I was told that pain should dictate when I schedule surgery. I actually made the call to have the surgery because I had such substantial limitation of motion over the course of this past year that I wanted to ensure I could continue to be active now. I didn’t want my circumstances to become worse. I interviewed with two doctors and was very upfront that I wanted to run after surgery. The first doctor was not at all sympathetic. The second doctor said, “OK,” and that was that.

      3) I live alone and did not have much help after surgery. The first week is challenging, but I was able to manage by myself by day 3 (though I didn’t move much). The doctor told me I would be walking pain-free without any assistive devices by week 3. I was walking without a cane at week 3, but now in week 5 I still have pain. I’m not ready to run. I feel a little bit like the tin man pre-oil can. I can walk miles and miles but will be limping that evening. This is kind of a let down because I didn’t really have much pain before the surgery and now I do, but my doctor assures me I’m on track. Also, I have been warned repeatedly that young people have to be patient after surgery, as, particularly if we’re athletic, we’re used to pushing through pain, and this is not advised after hip surgery. While initially I was told to walk as much as possible, with continued pain I have been advised to ease up. This is temporary.

      Finally, in between the time I was told I needed a THR and the time I had surgery (about one year), I was told that there was nothing I could do that would damage my hips more. There is a scale that evaluates the damage to the hip… it starts with a K, can’t remember the name… and I had the worst rating. I could do whatever I wanted/could for exercise, but I scheduled the surgery when I realized I was capable of doing much less than in previous years.

      There have been some surprises with the first surgery – I have had more pain that I expected, including nerve pain down the leg that felt like rolling in broken glass. This is common with anterior approach, but only lasted about a week. I’m happy I did the anterior approach (v. posterior) due to much smaller scar.

      In conclusion, I didn’t realize that “up walking again” and “The operated leg feels no different than the non-operated leg!” are two very different events. I’m curious to know how long it took for others here to “heal completely.” That said, I’m happy I began this process, as I’m just excited to get it over with. Best wishes!

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