Ben – Hip replacement required at 32.

Hello fellow hipsters!

So I’ve been scouring YouTube and the Internet on and off for three years searching (without real success) for unequivocal testimony (or better still video evidence) that having a hip replacement doesn’t not mean game over. Until now I found little inspiration. But having found this site and read only a few of the inspirational posts I’m starting to feel a little more confident about the whole thing…

I’m 32 now and was diagnosed with severe OA of my left hip with cam and acetabulum impingements 3 years ago. I went back to my home town (Reading, UK) for an antroscopy by Dr Tom Pollard in September 2014. He did a decent job of it, shaving off the excess bone, patching up whatever residual cartilage was left and microfracturing the bone to create a scar tissue substitute for the all-too-illusive cartilage. Fast forward 2.5yrs and to be honest I was back to square 1 and staring a THR of my left hip full in the face.

I have always been a very keen footballer, representing professional premier league academies up to age 15 and thereafter enjoying a very competitive level of amateur football (up until my OA diagnosis 3yrs ago, aged 29). I was also always a keen runner and gym-goer. Nothing competive on the running side – it just always gave me that ceratonin boost I needed to get through the week of my sedentary office based job.

As I write I’m on holiday with my young family and for the first time I’m becoming totally convinced I need the hip replacement as soon as possible. The pain when walking longer distances has become almost unbearable and I’m struggling to keep up with my 2yr old. I think it’s time to man up and deal with this finally…

…or is it?! Every time I make a decision to arrange the dreaded THR I think to myself – I’m too young for this aren’t I? Can’t I live with the pain a little longer? Is it really that bad? What happens in 10-15 years when I need to replace the replacement? And what in a further 10-15yrs when I’ll only be in my 50/60s? I can’t run or play football now but will I be able to post op??

My answers usually include: pain which inhibits your day to day has to be dealt with, pain relief and Physio helps in the short term but do you want to be hijacked by your hip every time you’re away from your Physio? Who knows where medical advances will take us in 10-15yrs – deal on information you have NOW. Think about the knock on affects on the surrounding muscle tissue and other joints. Look how you’re limping! I’ve read about 60yr old double hippees running marathons quicker than you could dream of fully fit – so MAN UP.

Unfortuantely my right hip seems to be going the same way. Impingements, cysts etc staring to show so hope to catch that early enough for a more successful arthroscopy…

Ill continue to scan through the posts, but if anyone has time to reach out to me I would love to hear first hand experience to help me answer some of my lingering doubts:

– can I really run as much as I want post op?

-is football (even 5 aside) totally out of the question post op?

– am I likely to always limp?

– which technique and hardware is best for my physical status (32yr old, 6ft, 85kg, 15% body fat)?

– does the pain disappear completely?

– is there any benefit in waiting?

– is there video evidence out there showing the running gait of post op hippies?

– what does having a hip replacement now mean for me 30 yrs down the line?

– what limitations will I face post op?

anyway I hope to hear from some of you and I’ll keep updating with my progress….

Home Forums Ben – Hip replacement required at 32.

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    • #10314

      Hello fellow hipsters! So I’ve been scouring YouTube and the Internet on and off for three years searching (without real success) for unequivocal test
      [See the full post at: Ben – Hip replacement required at 32.]

    • #10315

      Morning Ben.
      Sounds like from all the pain you’re going through that you need a THR desperately. It’s not the end of the world!!! It’s a new chapter in your life opening up an yes you will be able to play football again, run those kilometers and play pain free with your kids.
      I had my left hip replaced in April 2012 and was back on the road in the July,doing what I love the most,running. I was told then that I also needed the other hip done but I left that till the April,2014. I got back on the road end of July that year and have never looked back. I am or was an ultra marathon runner although now I just run up to 21km. Nobody knows what the future holds in the way of hip prosthesis because they do not have case studies of people running with a THR. As my surgeon said to me, I’d rather wear out than “rust ” out. And by the time you need to perhaps have a revision of a THR done ,the medical industry will be that much more advanced. Do not suffer in pain. Go and have it done & live a pain-free life.

    • #10316

      Hi Ben,
      I totally agree with what Felicity says. I’m not quite 10 months post THR and am back running 20 miles a week, training up for a half marathon in October. Having suffered nearly three years of constant pain I couldn’t be happier with the outcome from surgery. I forget I’ve had it most days – apart from a long but neat scar (which is fading) I have no reminders! Don’t delay, it’ll transform your life. Not immediately of course, and the first few weeks are a bit grim, but I have absolutely no regrets. Do your research, find a good surgeon and insist on being referred to them via NHS choose and book. That’s what I did and there wasn’t even much of a wait.

      Good luck with it all. Report back!

    • #10317

      Life is now isn’t it? There’s no point in being in agonizing pain for years before you can restart Your life again.
      Just remember People are different. I used a couple of years before I could run, but I was back at the gym at day 13 post op. And it is true; you’ll be totally pain free and limp free.
      Next year I will do my first triathlon.

      Find a good surgeon and read up on rehab and you’ll be fine.

      Best of Luck!

    • #10318

      Hi Ben,
      To echo what Jenny & Felicity are saying go for it. I swear its the best decision I’ve ever made. I am 54 and have had both hips replaced (2015 & 2016) and I am running a trail marathon this Saturday and have also completed several other races this year including a 50K and a bunch of sprint triathlons with no pain. I know I can’t imagine what you’re thinking at your young age but I do know that the pain I was feeling while running, resting and even sleeping (shooting pains down my legs enough to wake me up) are all gone. I don’t have all of my speed back yet but it is getting there and even if it doesn’t I’m running and I really thought it was over before finding this site and my doctor.
      To answer some of your questions.. (my answers are based solely on my own experience and I’m no doctor)
      -I believe you’ll be able to run as much as you want too post-op.. start slow and build back you base. I was running after about 3 months post op each hip. I’m currently running around 30 to 35 miles a week.
      -I have no limp at all.. but I was limping before surgery
      -Pain is entirely gone for me.. I do get some discomfort now and then down my leg and I just know know if its hip related or getting old related.
      -I see no benefit in waiting. I truly wished I had done it sooner. I think you have an even bigger advantage to being so young and you will bounce back very quickly.
      Who knows about the future. For me it was about what I could (and could not) do today. I want to run and THR surgery got me back on the road and trails.
      Good luck with whatever you decide!

    • #10319

      Hi there

      Just relaxing in hotel after 13 mile walk on new hip (THR February). I was still running up to 7 miles just before the op but I wanted to run more in my fifties and not worry about replacements in the future – who knows what might happen to me before the hip wore out

      The key thing is to have ceramic on ceramic the wear is far less than metal heads and cups – in fact I understand they have not really had any wear out yet (ps they coat piston heads with ceramic as they last longer despite the combustion ! )

      Stay fit before the op – strength exercises in particular and hydro therapy as soon as you can afterwards

      Check out surgeons that do operations for people who want to be active not just pain control.

      Off for a beer before repeating it tomorrow !

    • #10320

      Hi Ben. I would echo what the others have said but would add that maybe you should get an opinion from one of the resurfacing experts whether a Birmingham Hip would be possible with your impingements. Ronan Treacey is one of the co-inventors of the BHR and still does NHS work in Birmingham so you can get a referral from your GP. The greatest benefit of resurfacing is that you get to keep more of your femur, if it wears out (which takes more than 20 years) a THR is the next step and ceramic bearings will not wear out. The downside is the metal-on-metal resurfacing has a bad press and is a more exacting operation so some have failed due to poor fitting by inexperienced surgeons, and there is a small risk of reactions to chromium or cobalt used in the steel. Check out McMinn’s website for encouragement and contact details.
      I have a BHR from Nov 2014 and was jogging at 9 weeks and racing properly at about a year (5k mainly but one 10k, plus a 13 mile training run), 2016 was a really good year for parkrun performances plus a good 10k race. Then the other hip let me down last Xmas and my next BHR failed because the femoral head broke during the op. I ended up with a ceramic THR and this seems to be working OK, I have run 10 5Ks and a 10k so far (op. was May 2nd) but there is some pain in that leg from the slightly different orientation of the joint as my foot is now straighter.
      I am twice your age so have less to worry about regarding bearing longevity but I did a lot of research before choosing to go the resurfacing route, I was at the limit for bone quality and age (beyond the limit for the second!) but I preferred the mechanical neatness of the solution and the easy fall back to THR if things went wrong.
      I am based near Leicester, UK and had my operations locally, paid for by BUPA. Get back to me if you need any more info/encouragement..

    • #10321

      Hi Ben, I can understand the thinking (“But I’m only 32! OA is for _old people!_”) … which is what I thought when diagnosed with it at 48. I’d had pain and gradual downhill progression, limping, etc. for 2 years prior, yet I let it go another 2 years before finally deciding to take the plunge and have a THR. It’s now a year later and I am fully back to doing everything I did before, and more. I am thrilled and grateful that the pain is gone and the simple act of walking doesn’t fill me with dread. As to your Qs …

      – can I really run as much as I want post op?
      My doc said yes, but it’s good to wait a few to several months to let the hardware “grow” into the bone and fully set. I waited 6 months, but others here have started sooner. I just wanted to be very conservative.

      -is football (even 5 aside) totally out of the question post op? –Can’t speak to football, sorry!

      – am I likely to always limp? — You will quit limping but it’ll probably take some good PT and awareness to un-learn the goofy walking habits you developed that are probably unconscious by now. I still have to pay attention to a shoulder that I tend to hunch up that I think was from when I walked painfully and badly. The body had ingenious ways of compensating for pain and much of it seems involuntary; you’ll have to un-learn those patterns.

      – which technique and hardware is best for my physical status (32yr old, 6ft, 85kg, 15% body fat)? –That is a question for your doc.

      – does the pain disappear completely? –(cue the orchestra) YES! The joint pain stops.

      – is there any benefit in waiting? — Your life sounds pretty tough right now; waiting will just make pain and bad habits worse. I did myself no favors by waiting as long as I did. I was in denial and terrified of the surgery. Everyone around me could see I was a mess, but me.

      – is there video evidence out there showing the running gait of post op hippies? –Not that I know of. Plenty of pre-op runners have poor gaits, anyway. I think my gait got better because I’m paying a lot more attention to even strength and balance on both sides.

      – what does having a hip replacement now mean for me 30 yrs down the line? –Question for the doc.

      – what limitations will I face post op? –The ONLY limitation I have from my doc is “no straight-leg, standing forward bends past 90°.” I had an anterior procedure and there is a small risk of dislocation with a forward bend that extreme, so I’m happy to abide by that one precaution. Otherwise I’m good to go with whatever I want to do, including running. I run, backcountry ski, ice skate, climb, and backpack. BUT, all docs are different and yours may say other things.

      Hope this helps! Please let us know how it goes! Lots of happy and grateful people here who are back to their active lifestyles. Cheers!

    • #10322
      Gerard O Callaghan

      Hi, I have had 2 orthoscopes, one on each hip over past 5 years. First one (left hip) when 38 (now 43). Hip impingement (CAM and Pincer) and also labral tears and cysts in conjunction with grade 3/4 osteo arthritis. The orthoscope was probably done a little late and was told at time, likely to get 5 years.
      Had similar in right hip and procedure done June 14.
      My left hip has now deteriorated whereby I cannot bend my leg much beyond 45 degrees from hip and have constant catching pain when get up from low
      Seats or into car. I cannot rotate internally or externally. I’ve been holding off on a THR on left hip for fear that I will become inactive (I go to gym 3 / 4 days per week to do s&c work and previously played Gaelic football and did a lot of running etc).
      I have gone to physios, stretched etc and now I feel my only choice is a THR. It scares life out of me as I still need young for this option but have to assume that it will enhance my quality of life in the long run.

    • #10323

      Thank you so much for the replies to my post so far. I can’t describe what a boost its given me. I read out each one to my wife as they come in!

      Clearly there is plenty of positive experience out there which is so encouraging. Also interesting to note that there is not much/ any clinical experience of ceramic hardware wearing out. Think my dr would use ceramic ball/ plastic cup. Any experience out there with that?

      A lingering doubt for me is always the nature of the pain I feel. Typically it hurts (like hell) during a long walk or exercise and perhaps for a while after. But otherwise the discomfort is mild enough while resting/ driving/ sleeping. This gives me a headache trying to asses whether it’s bad enough to justify the op now. The dr always says – you’ll know – but as mentioned in the comments above – everyone is different and we all have differnt pain experiences and thresholds. It’s so hard to make that self-assessment. I do know my clinical assessment is very clear, but the pain classification is a bit more ambiguous/ open to interpretation.

      Mercifully the pain has eased off a little over the last few days which is allowing me to enjoy the vacation a little more.

      I am starting to feel discomfort (not pain) in my other hip so i have another dimension to consider- sort the right arthroscopy before or after the left hip replacement? The right is in far better condition than the left was (even pre arthroscopy three years ago) but the left was clearly left too late. I want to get to the right one earlier but I’m going to seek a few specialist opinions on the order of play.

      I would also love to hear from any hippees of a similar age too to learn how they dealt with the psychological aspects of taking such drastic measures so young and how their recoveries have progressed. It’s taken me a long while to accept/ get my head around but I think I’m getting there…

      Thanks again for all the comments I really do appreciate it so much and looking forward to hearing from any others out there who can offer any guidance at all.



    • #10324
      Robert harris

      Ben – I notice at least one other individual mentioned the Birmingham hip replacement. I’m not sure if this is something you’ve already researched and considered but, if not, you owe it to yourself to look into it.

      I had a BHR approximately 3 months ago at age 49. I was an ultra-runner until about 2012 when the pain got to be too big of a problem. It was another couple years before I saw a doctor (I kept thinking I had an overuse injury and it would get better with rest).

      I opted for the BHR for some of the exact reasons you’ve discussed. Neither of us expect the replacement to last the rest of our lives albeit the resurfaced hip preserved bone making an eventual revision much simpler. And while the life span is still unknown, there is evidence the BHR can last 30 years. Moreover, the BHR has a larger head which allows for more normal range of motion and a larger bearing surface (less wear). There are some cons – primarily concerns of metal ions that form from the metal-on-metal surface; it is considered most appropriate for younger active males (you) and many people have used the BHR quite successfully. I suggest you research it and make up your mind after.


    • #10325
      Gerard O Callaghan

      Good luck with your decision Ben. Speak to as many people as possible before making decision. Only you can assess how much the condition currently impacting on quality of life and pain thresholds obviously differ for everyone.

      I am somewhat same as yourself in that I can manage and whilst there is a degree of ongoing pain, my issues are more around the restricted mobility from the hip joint whereby I cannot bend off my left leg, tie shoe laces or put socks on (well, without difficulty).

      I met my consultant today and he recommends ceramic on ceramic primarily due to fact he knows I will continue to train and lead an active lifestyle.

      He also gave me numerous examples of individuals who have run, climbed mountains, cycled miles, do gym work etc. If done earlier in life, recovery likely to be quicker and should get longer term benefit.

      You could persevere with your current status but inevitably you will have to undergo the operation and it’s largely down to how you feel and how long you are prepared to wait.

      I am c.10 years older than you and still feel too young for it but my consultant specialises in 30/40 year olds and said it is more common than you think!

      Good luck with decision.

    • #10326
      Hip Brother Tom


      Oh man! This post is EXACTLY why I started this blog. I am sorry I am late to the party, but I have been away on work and had no time to respond. First, since you are feeling a pain that “hurts like hell” at any time, than I would say that that is a good indication that it is time for a THR. For me, it was waking me up at night also. I was ready to have it done. Secondly, while you may consider yourself ‘too young’ for a hip replacement, nobody is too young to have pain relieved. Thirdly (not sure if that is a word), if you do it while you are young and fitter, you’ll bounce back faster. Of course you’ve heard it from everyone….go for it. And if the other one is going out too, then maybe now is the time for you to get the first done, so you’ll have time to recover before the 2nd. It’s your life, don’t let a hip replacement be a stigma to you, you have a 2 year old that is going to need to learn how to ride a bike someday. Get it replaced and get on with your happy life.

      Hip Brother Tom.

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