This is my first post in HipRunner, so let me start by saying a big thank you for allowing me to join this group! On December 16th I had an anterior THR of my right hip, so I am now a legit community member. In preparation for my operation I did a lot of research and I found some of the posts on this site to be very helpful in my education, so thank you all for that.
I am now 45 but discovered running late in my life. It was not until my early 30’s that I tried it and not until my mid-30’s when I became obsessive about it. I went from a near 300 lb couch potato to a finisher of six marathons with a PR of 3:20 and along the way I hit a five-year stretch where I logged over 16,000 miles and raced in Africa. Running was such a passion for me and I religiously woke at 4am to service my obsession and not take time away from my family.
As a runner I experienced about every kind of injury imaginable and sought treatment to get through and keep running, I was agreeable to the zaniest of techniques as long as I could stay on the roads. A couple of years ago my hip started to bother me consistently and I went to the person that had always given me the best advice. He moved my hip and said that the problem was bone and I needed an X-Ray to confirm. I, of course, did not want to hear this and continued on with running and stretching as I was certain I could solve this myself.
My hip trouble progressed to the point that every step caused an audible pop and everyone asked me why I was limping, which angered me because I was not ready to own this injury. But things stayed on the downward path and soon I could not even run, just relegated to the dreaded elliptical machine – which turned out to be the one thing that did not cause my hip pain. So, I decided I would hit it so hard that I would break one of the ones at the Y. I kept at that exercise for over a year, but never broke it.
Finally in September of this year a friend gave me a referral to the best “hip guy” in town. I had a series of X-Rays and then the surgeon came in the room and said, “I’ve got bad news brother, you’ve got a bad hip.” He then went on to tell me that I have the worst hip he had seen on a 45-year old and that my only option was a THR. He said that he was amazed that I could even walk, but that this procedure was amazing and I would love life after having it done. He asked if I had questions, but I was just numb and had no clue what to even ask. He told me to come back when I was ready to schedule the procedure or to talk about it more. After he left the room two nurses came in and said they were in the hall looking at the films and felt sorry for me because they said these were the worst films they had seen.
I spent the next several weeks doing some research and coming up with a battery of questions for the surgeon and, of course, coming to terms with my fate. I found some of these crazy edge cases where people were actually improving their times after THR and started to wonder why that could not be me? In the end I realized that my running career was toast already, so what did I really have to lose. So, the next month I went back ready to pepper my surgeon with some specifics. He told me that he was fine with me running marathons with my new hip but that I would need to get a revision sooner if I do that. Sounded like great news and a no-brainer to me. He also told me that my hip was so bad that running could not have been the cause, I was born with some type of congenital issue that has progressed over time and turned into osteoarthritis. This was good to hear as everyone is quick to let me know that running caused my hip trouble.
I sought two other opinions to feel good about this choice. The first doctor looked at my films and said, “oh s41t.” The second doctor said, “well that hip is totally destroyed.” So, there it was, seemed pretty clear. We decided to have the operation right before Christmas so that I could recover over the holidays and have a minimal absence from work, so December 16th it was.
My surgeon wanted to do the procedure as out-patient to limit the chance of infection, so we did the procedure at a surgical center and not a hospital. The procedure was delayed a bit, so they did not make the incision until about 12:45pm. I remember waking up in recovery around 3pm and thinking this was the worst pain I have ever experienced. The nurse told me to stand up and I thought she was crazy, but I did and it felt better immediately. They had me make a couple of trips to the bathroom with the walker and at 4:15pm they told me to go home! I was in the car at 4:30pm and in my house soon thereafter.
I’m now eight days post-op and doing well according to the PT that comes to the house. I am using the cane around the house and yesterday the PT took me for a walk around the block which he said was pretty unusual. I am still incredibly tight around the hip and quad but I have a hard time saying that there is much pain. Compared to the pain I experienced prior to this operation I really do feel better. I miss my mobility and previous level of activity, but I am confident those will return to me.
My right knee is very sore, but it has improved, so I’m not too worried about that now. The biggest mental challenge is that my right leg feels longer than my left one and that has me mildly depressed. My surgeon told me that my arthritic leg was a lot shorter than my good one before the procedure and that my body would need to realign with the new hip. This all makes sense in my head, but the reality is that I feel crooked and that worries me with each step I take.
Well that’s it for now. I just wanted to share my back story and let you know that I hope to be an active member of this community where I can both learn and contribute.