Terry – About me!

A little about me and my need for hip replacement surgery.  I have been running since 1978.  I actually started to augment my love of cross country skiing in the off season and running quickly became the passion.  Most people who know you are a runner too quickly connect a procedure like a hip replacement with the abuses of running.  Not the case with me.  My accident happened in April of 1989.  I also like to ride bikes and was on a first ride of the spring when I was struck by a car while riding.  I sustained a partial PCL tear and a posterior hip dislocation.  The orthopaedic doc that relocated the hip told me then that I would recover fine and would resume full activity, but that 20 years or so down the road I would likely develop osteo arthritis in that hip.  And so it came to pass.  About 6 years ago after nagging discomforrt in the hip I had X-rays which confirmed the onset of osteo arthritis.  I was advised to contact my doctor when things became worse.  I was still running, but not racing and my weekly mileage was a shadow of what I had formerly run.  About two years ago I had another x-ray and the orthopedic doc says “We now have a problem.”  I had a consult with my surgeon and (surprise, surprise) replacement was recommended.  After several months of niggling with my then boss about paid time off work, I scheduled the surgery for March 27, 2013.  I was very eager to get things taken care of ASAP at that point. The pre-surgery meeting with all the other prospective knee and hip replacement candidates helped me to appreciate how thankful I was that my fitness level going into the surgery was very high in comparison to many of the others in the room.  It is difficult to over emphasize how important a high overall fitness level is going into the surgery.  Recovery and recuperation is WAY better when you are fit before surgery!  I asked a consulting ortho doc about returning to running after surgery and he said if I had not already been running he would advise against starting running, but in light of decades of running to please wait until 6 months after surger to tresume running.  No problem, I choose to err on the conservative side about things like running on a new hip.

My surgery was uneventful.  Dr. Andrew Urquhart was my surgeon and actually did the surgery (as opposed to supervising residents).  The morning following surgery the resident start their rounds and look me over and announce that I might be out of the hospital that afternoon.  “Like hell” I thought to myself.  The Dr. Urquhart comes in and says the same thing.  My response was identical.  the the real secision makers arrived.  The Physical Therapists!  They take a look and say “You aren’t going anywhere until tomorrow.”  A wise mandate.  But seeing that it was the Thursday before Easter weekend, you better believe they wanted that Orthopaedic floor emptied!  I passed the “Can I get in and out of a car test?” and was taken home.  I had general anesthetic for the surgery and have no complaints.  Spinal?  Not so much, a needle in my soilal cord lining isn’t what I wanted.  No complications aside from the standard two-three day post op constipation.  That situation resolved itself soon after returning home.

I did not sleep well for the first two weeks after getting home.  We had secured a very helpful reclining chair from The University of Michigan Property Disposition building and it was used extensively in that first two weeks.  I slept in it every night as it was too uncomfortable in bed and I was very uncertain about rolling over in bed.  I kept thinking the hip would fall apart.  Not to worry.  Doesn’t happen.  Well, is unlikely to happen.   We have a firly small ranch style house, no inside steps, hardwood floors, no rugs.  Getting around was safe and easy. The PT that did home visits was very helpful with post op exercises and relieving any uncertainty about in/out of bed, walking, showering etc.  I started walking outside two weeks after surgery.  I shed the walker almost right away and used the cane for a week or two.  Make sure you have your doctor get you the paper work for a temporary handicapped parking spot.  You get used to those choice parking spots!  I started driving about three weeks after surgery.   The seated position for driving proved to be the most uncomfortable position of all, but improved quickly in the weeks after surgery.  I requested additional Physical therapy which I went to diligently through most of the summer.  I really liked the strengthening exercises and other work I was put through.  great staff and facilities at UM Medsport.  Plus, the PT  love motivated clients with clear fitness goals.  Makes their job easier. I was walking 45 minutes to 1 hour per day.  I returned to work 1 month after surgery and work has been great.  Ironically, I work at a running specialty store and am up and down stairs all day.  No problems at all.

When September 1 rolled around I emailed my surgeon to make sure I had his seal of approval and he says “You could have started running 6 weeks after surgery!”  He advised to resume light running and report any pain or discomfort.

I am currently running 3 days a week for 20-35 minutes per day.  I have no great desire to return to every day running, but I am getting a little antsy about racing.. Last weekend I participated in a 5K run and left after the race without checking results.  Turns out I placed second in my age group.  Who knew?

After consulting with several PT and browsing available online information about running after hip replacement the only thing anyone agrees on is that there is little hard data on exactly how much an activity like running accelerates (if at all) the wear on the new hip.  Seems like no one really knows.  I think resuming running at a low mileage level is wise.  I have run many marathons and every distance under that.  The itch to do over distance has long since been scratched, but I do like to run and am happy I can put in a few miles again.  In addition, I am advised that the healing continues for the better part of 18 months after surgery, so don’t be in too much of a hurry to test things out too much too soon.  Enjoy not taking Vitamin I(Ibuprofin) any more!  The fitness will come back.  Hopefully you have good medical and PT help and trust the people who know their stuff.  My PT brother advises finding a surgeon who has at least 1oo hip replacement surgeries performed.  Don’t be afraid of the surgery, get it done.  Be patient and smart about post surgery recovery.

6 thoughts on “Terry – About me!

  1. Nice Post Terry. You make a good point about being in shape prior to the surgery. Many people become inactive because of their hip and their fitness level goes down the drain. Kudos to you for your patience and getting back to running again.

  2. Terry

    Funny thing here is that you posted this precisely 40 minutes before.Dr. Urquhart put me under. I was out on day two. Currently resting at home. And working a system to reduce my pain med needs. In home PT / AT start
    Monday. I am hopeful to return to work half day on the Monday after Thanksggiving.

    My pre-op routine was a little intense. The Monday before surggery I did a dumbbell routine, ran 5 miles, did a bodyweight 350 rep routine and did 7 miles on the stationary bike. I wanted to be in the best shape possible before surgery. I’m confident it will pay off. My goal is to run my first 5k the first week of March

    I’ll keep you posted on my progress

    1. I hope all is going smoothly with the hip. As my PT brother reminds me hip replacement is not an appendectomy it is “rough plumbing!” I guess depending on the nature of the work you do, you might be able to (or have to) return to work, but I think if you can swing a month off you will be thankful-and likely very ready to get back to work. I know Dr. Urquhart is pretty flip with his lack of admonitions about hip precautions, but I think most surgeons figure that you have your new parts, and if there are no extenuating post-op complications, then, hell, go run! I threw myself into PT and waited 6 months to begin running. But I guess I am just a bit cautious. I have never had any surgery other than an appendectomy and a new hip is serious stuff. One of the nicest post surgery improvements is no meds and great all night sleep! I ran a stellar 24 minute 5K 2 weeks ago and surprisingly enough secured a 2nd place age group mug. Baby steps…baby steps! Happy Turkey day! If you are downtown in Ann Arbor, stop in at Running Fit and say hello. It would be nice to put a face with a name.


  3. Thanks Terry I own my own company so I can control how much I work. I am very fortunate to have a great team assuring everything is getting done in my absence. I have returned to the office for short 2 – 4 hour work sessions. It’s nice to have my finger on the pulse, but to also feel free to leave when I tire. I have been following my prescribed PT exercises 2 – 3 times per day. It is also helpful that I have a close friend that is a PT. I think following PT is my key to a quick recovery. I will try to swing by Running Fit when I’m in town.

  4. Hi, Terry
    Thank you for your report. I really agree before operation , If we are fit, we can recover quickly. I had to change my operation day. But, First one, I did 5k running, 1k swimming and 13 miles bike. went back home and I said myself ” I did everything, I am ready for tommorrow”. However, next minutes , I got a phone call from the hospital.
    nurse said to me was your surgeon had an accident, He is in hospital, He can not operate you 4 weeks. After that my hip was degenerated badly. I needed crutches, but, I did swimming all most every day, tried to walk till operation day. I only stayed hospital 2 nights. Recovery was pretty quick , too. Thanks your one of comment, If we are inpatient, start to jog , run early stage or too much running or too much distance might cause problems. I am 13weeks now. I already ran 10k , 2 times. I run 5k at least 2 times a week. I am really enjoying. so far, No problems. But, I should be more modest till 6 months or 1 year? I do every year, FIRST CHANCE 10k race in January. I should skip it this year. My surgeon is very nice sports man. But, He did not agree my running. You are lucky, your surgeon is more understandable? Anyway, thank you for your report.

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