Caycee Cullen, San Francisco, CA

Hello Hip Runners! I am new to this group and so so so happy to be here.

I just got my surgery date (10/26/23) for a total right hip replacement. Yikes! I am scared (I’ve never had surgery before except for wisdom teeth removal)  and excited (hopefully an end to my pain and BACK TO RUNNING). I am here for information and support and to pass on my experience so hopefully I can support someone else on their hip replacement journey.

One year ago I did the SF Half and my right hip was never really the same. I had a lot of pain:( I went to the PT and X-rays showed I have stage 3 osteoarthritis with bone spurs. It crushed me at first and what was even more brutal was that I could barely run 2 miles – sometimes the buckling pain would stop me in my tracks.

I am a cyclist, rower, and runner, however running is my true love. I LOVE LOVE LOVE running. It is integral to my happiness on all sorts of levels. So going from running 5 miles 5 times a week and able to do half marathons (I did one marathon – NYC – and would like to do that again!) with a month’s notice to being in pain and barely running once a week REALLY AFFECTED my life. I turned 50 in February and without running and a slowing metabolism I gained 12 pounds and didn’t feel like myself. I am slowly shedding the weight with diet and Tunde, my favorite Peleton instructor, but I am so so so ready to run free.

Questions for this most awesome forum:

  1. Does anyone have any pointers for how I can be best prepared for this surgery so the recovery is smooth and as successful as possible? I am a nurse and on my feet a lot at work so I want to make sure I don’t go back to work too soon and honestly, I want to make sure I don’t do anything too soon so I can heal with no complications. I am one of those people who jumps back too soon so any advice about how you handled the recovery is appreciated.
  2. Are there certain materials I should request the surgeon to install (ceramic, titanium alloys, etc.) that is better/more suited for someone who is going to run on this hip replacement? I know there are varieties of materials.
  3. My surgeon said this replacement will last 30 years. Does the lifespan of the new hip decrease if it is used to run on? In other words, does running make its lifespan less? I plan to run for as long as I can so knowing it is good until I am 80 is encouraging, but is that real?
  4. Once a full recovery is attained – I hear it takes 1 year to really feel 100% normal – do you need to be tentative with it or is it just like before the arthritis? I do Spartan Races and Tough Mudders and am wondering if that kind of thing is behind me?

Any info is so appreciated. I feel so lucky I found you:)

Home Forums Caycee Cullen, San Francisco, CA

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    • #20681
      Caycee
      Participant

      Hello Hip Runners! I am new to this group and so so so happy to be here. I just got my surgery date (10/26/23) for a total right hip replacement. Yike
      [See the full post at: Caycee Cullen, San Francisco, CA]

    • #20683
      Hip Brother Tom
      Keymaster

      Caycee,

      I am glad you found us. First! I want to commend you for getting the replacement. Quality of life is so important and you are going to notice an immediate difference. The hip pain will be gone. Second and probably most importantly, don’t try to hop back on the horse too fast. I started trying to run 3 months after surgery. I was able to run, but it did not feel right initially. After the euphoria of being free of the pain, you will have to be patient as that hip heals. Every day it will get stronger. 11 years later and I just completed a 52K mountain run – it wasn’t fast like Dave, but there were no hip issues! Stay optimistic! Stay positive and eventually you’ll be back to running marathons!

      Hip Brother Tom

    • #20684
      OB
      Participant

      Hi Caycee

      Your surgeon should be giving you a list of pre-surgery exercises to do to ready you for surgery. If not there is some good videos on YouTube from “talking with the docs” to “Bob and Brad”. I also could not run prior to surgery but could bike. I found the biking kept me in great shape and helped me recover well.

      I asked my surgeon about lifespan of the new hip technology. I have the titanium post with ceramic head from Stryker that is said to last 30 years. My surgeon told me that the 30 years is predicated and the actual “in the body” test won’t be known until it’s been 30 years but said I won’t wear it out. I actually ran 2500 miles on my right hip, had it xrayed two years later and it didn’t show any wear.

      I found returning to running a demonstration in patience. Start walking and moving right away after surgery. Stay on your meds….don’t try to be brave…to allow you to move with minimal pain for the first couple of weeks. I only used a cane to provide support for a couple of weeks. Each day walk a little farther. By two months you should be able to walk multiple miles and spin on your peloton bike. By 4 months you should be able to start increasing your bike workload and do more strength and mobility exercises with walks as far as you want to go. At 6 months, I started to reintroduce jogging durning my walks using methods that they suggest when starting running programs….run 1 minute/ walk 1 minute and building.

      Your hip will feel thick for awhile but you will gain great mobility back and be running normal in a year.

      Good luck and post your progress.

      Tim

    • #20686
      Dave Whiteside
      Participant

      Hi Caycee,
      1) I think keeping as fit as you can will help you recover faster. Start doing hip strengthening/flexibility exercises now and then you can continue after surgery. If you can run/job a little, which is what I did, I think that also helped with my recovery.
      2) Hard to say as most of us have only had 1 so little to compare with. However many people with different materials and anterior/posterior have all done very well, so I’m not sure it’s critical
      3) I’m 13 years in and run about 2,000 miles a year and race mainly ultra’s. The way I look at it is no one knows how long it will last, but I know I’m going to enjoy it while I can and if I need a follow up I’ll decide then if I slow down, but for now enjoying life to the fullest
      4) Again everyone is different, I waited 3 months before I started running, others start much earlier. I don’t think waiting a while in the big picture is worth the risk of damage early on.
      Anyway, welcome tot he club and looking forward to hearing about your successes.
      Dave

      • #20766
        Caycee
        Participant

        Hello Tim,

        Thanks so much for your response. I am 4 weeks post surgery and feel great! I will post a detailed update today:)

        I am so glad I found you!
        Caycee

        • #20768
          Caycee
          Participant

          Hey dave,

          Thanks so much for your response. It really helps to hear other people’s experiences!

          I am really glad I found Hip Runners,
          Caycee

      • #20767
        Caycee
        Participant

        Thank you so much for your response! It has been 4 weeks since the surgery and I am GREAT!

        I will post a detailed update now:)

        Caycee

    • #20769
      Caycee
      Participant

      Hello Hip Runners,

      Thank you Tim, Tom, and Dave for the replies – it is so nice to hear other people’s stories and to know that I WILL recover and be running again. THAT’S THEE BEST!

      Currently I am 4 weeks post surgery and I am doing GREAT. For the first 14 days all I did was elevate/ice, rest, eat the foods recommended for post surgery healing, and do the PT. At 2.5 weeks the PT said I could ditch the cane as long as I walked with consciousness – that it, using my glutes and abs to take the burden off of the hip muscles that were (and are) still sore.

      My incision site is healing nicely.

      I have no hip pain!!! Hip hip hooray! What I do have is tightness/soreness/tenderness in my hip flexors, IT band and behind the knee – I am assuming where the tendons of the hams insert on the tibia. I saw my surgeon and PT at day 21 and they both informed me that this feeling is common due to the violent moving of the muscles during the surgery and that it will take time for them to migrate back to their correct position. The PT cleared me to bike and walk long distances and gave me some more challenging exercises to do to strengthen the hip muscles. I am doing them and they are hard!

      Each day I get a little stronger and the numbness/tingling feeling on and around the incision decreases.

      I am concerned that my non-surgical side is picking up a lot of work and that I will become lopsided – and my surgical leg started out a little longer than my non-sur leg – so I have been really trying to imagine a balanced gait. I must remind myself that I am 50 years old and had an incredible active life prior to surgery WITH UNEVEN LEGS so this is just part of my life:)

      I will post more updates and really appreciate all of the wisdom from you – especially the part about being patient – always a challenge for me but I can do it!

      Have a fabulous Friday!
      Caycee Cullen

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