Reply To: Running With Hip Arthritis

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I ran a few days before my first hip surgery, but by then I was running like once a week and for a shorter duration … but sometimes I just wanted to get in a high intensity interval workout. I had limped along the way, then I’d stop limping … On the day of my first surgery, I was walking wonderfully.

Dance was a hobby of mine back then … and like three months before surgery, I went dancing. Had a blast. And the hip ached and ached and ached the next day. One weekend I went to a dance festival … two days of dancing. The day I got back, I could barely walk.

Hip replacement is an elective surgery. Many surgeons won’t recommend the surgery. They want the patient to step and say they’re ready for the surgery. Many surgeons will say “if you want to get rid of the pain, I’d recommend the surgery.” But most don’t really try to persuade.

I had my first replacement in 2018 and then the second (other side) in 2022. My X-rays did not look horrible, according to my surgeons. But I had had enough pain and I said unequivocally I want the surgery–I don’t want to do PT (which I did early on). What I’m saying is you sorta will know when you’re ready. But you can visit various surgeons. Finding the right surgeon is what ultimately helps people make the decision to go forward.

And find a surgeon who is comfortable with your goals–running. Both of my surgeons were comfortable with that. I think there is a bit of a generational divide going on, with younger surgeons more comfortable with running. Also, you can investigate hip resurfacing, which is a different surgery (though officially a hip replacement) and is specifically designed for aggressive activity. If you do, go to someone who does 200 resurfacings a year. Experience is the key in surgery.

Do not worry about revision. The latest generation of hips are really holding up nicely. Surgeons are always cautious, so they won’t ever guarantee anything but one of my surgeon’s nurses said they’re expecting mine to last 30 years or so. By the time you need a revision (If you you need a revision) they will have made great progress in revisions.