Help me understand!

I am just curious why some surgeons say marathoners must never run marathons again while others say its OK?  Is it the quality of the implant or just the confidence of the surgeon’s abilities.  I belong to Kaiser Permanente and my surgeon used the zimmer ML taper stem, zimmer TM cup and ceramic head .  This was back in 2015 and I don’t know if maybe that implant is inferior in quality to others?  Shouldn’t all implants (since I assume the technology is the same) have the same level of durability?

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    • #9597

      I am just curious why some surgeons say marathoners must never run marathons again while others say its OK?  Is it the quality of the implant or just
      [See the full post at: Help me understand!]

    • #9598

      I am no expert, but here are my thoughts:

      1) Implants used to be a weak link. The old plastics used did wear out. Newer materials last much much longer. Some doctors either use older implants or have old knowledge about the longevity of implants.

      2) Loosening of the device from the bone was and is an issue. Certain activities and just time and aging bone can cause the device to come loose and have to be replaced.

      3) Doctors are more willing to let patients balance the health advantages of regular exercise, including running, with the risks. A THR patient who runs will likely be thinner, happier, and in better shape than one who doesn’t; his overall health will be better even if his implant is more at risk.

      I talked to a number of doctors before having surgery and was quite surprised that even the old school docs were willing to let me run. They cautioned me that my THR might not last as long, but they didn’t forbid running. (And did forbid things like crossing my legs!)

    • #9599

      Thanks Liz. That is certainly food for thought. I am really on the fence trying to decide if I should get back in the game. I guess if I had realized that the last marathon I ran was going to be my last, I might find it easier to move on. But since I didn’t know, I feel I have been cheated out of something I thought I would be doing for life.

    • #9600

      That’s a great answer, Liz, expecially #3. The new joint may not last as long — and how many studies are out there that have systematically studied this? — but if you’re an athlete, and it’s a big part of your life, the benefits of doing something you love to do, and staying healthier for it in the long run, can outweigh the possibility of the joint wearing out sooner. I also imagine some docs forbid running because they assume pounding and poor form; or don’t run themselves, or maybe don’t want to see you coming back for a revision. The only thing my doc says No to are standing, straight-legged forward bends past 90° because of the small risk of a dislocation, due to the force on the joint in that position. Not a deal breaker, plenty of other ways to get a hamstring stretch, such as doing it seated.

      Steve, I waited 6 months to start easing back into running and have since done a marathon. I took it slow, backing off as needed. Really giving the joint time to heal is critical, I think. Some folks on here are back running mere weeks after surgery, which I was afraid to do. But everyone is different.

    • #9601
      Hip Brother Tom

      There is a risk of decreasing the life of the device by running. In a black and white world that would be enough for anyone to take the docs advice and stop running. But as stated above, being thinner, healthier and happier has its benefits. From a mental health standpoint, there are clearly benefits to continuing your active lifestyle. The docs who see in color, not just black and white, recognize this.

    • #9602
      Mike Rix

      As my physio partner advised me – anything man made – be it a washing machine, car or a hip has a limited life expectancy. It’ll wear out however tough and durable it is. The problems with marathons is not the marathon itself but the training miles. If you need to run then it’s probably advisable to self limit. Personally, I know that I’ll never beat my pre op marathon PB but I’m already VERY close to my 5k and 10k bests and I’m 5 years post op on just 30 miles a week tops.

    • #9603

      I’ve had both my hips done. I don’t run marathons anymore mainly because as said above the training required to get you to the start line. I do however run about 8-10kms most days of the week and a 16km on the weekends. That way I know I can still do some distance and in fact ran a half marathon last Sunday.

    • #9604

      Your comments about the various materials used (for lining the ball and socket) reminded me about something I read the other day. Apparently there is experimentation going on where the ball and socket are magnetized with the same magnetic pole…i.e. both N or both S. The opposing force of the same poles pushes them apart…they don’t touch so there’s no friction.


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