Running With Hip Arthritis

I was recently diagnosed with moderate to severe hip arthritis in my left hip (likely due to iron overload from Hemochromatosis). I am 40 years old and was a competitive runner. I was very happy to find this site and hear that people are still able to run with a hip replacement which is very likely in my future. Like many of you, running is central to my mental and physical health, and hearing the doctor tell me to stop running and do something else was gut-wrenching.

I would like to continue running but feel a bit apprehensive.

I was hoping that people could share some advice and personal experiences with running with arthritis before needing a hip replacement. Did you run after hearing you had hip arthritis? How long after the arthritis diagnosis did you end up having a hip replacement? What types of changes did you make to your changing after diagnosis? What sorts of training helped or hurt?

I know everyone’s timeline and experiences are different but would appreciate any help.


Thank you!!


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    • #20905

      I was recently diagnosed with moderate to severe hip arthritis in my left hip (likely due to iron overload from Hemochromatosis). I am 40 years old an
      [See the full post at: Running With Hip Arthritis]

    • #20906

      Glad you were able to diagnose your hemochromatosis at such a young age. My dad didn’t figure it out until he was in his 70s and it had done a number on his heart and liver….although he did have a great life after and lived to be in his mid 90s. Sorry to hear about its impact on your hip.

      Everyone is different with their hip journey. I was most likely running on a bad hip for four years prior to diagnosis. My hip flexors and knee were giving me issues on that side for quite a while.

      I was training for the 2020 Atlanta half marathon when it really started to get bad. I hobbled thru the race and saw the orthopedist the next week. Unfortunately after they told me I needed a new hip all hospitals and surgical centers shutdown because of Covid. I decided in the meantime to continue to train for an upcoming marathon. About two months later my hip totally gave out and I could hardly walk so I started biking more to build strength for the surgery. Around June the surgical center opened back up and I was able to have my hip replaced in July.

      You will have to decide based on your own experience what you can and can’t do. I figured I would only wear it out more by continuing till I couldn’t. I did find biking a good alternative to staying fit until I could run again

    • #20908

      Hi IronRunner,

      I was diagnosed with arthritis in 2012 but had been struggling on and off for several years with hip and lower back pain. The physio who broke the news told me to stop running, get a bike for exercise, and when I could no longer walk upstairs the NHS would give me hip replacements. I got the bike, and not long after fell off and broke my wrist – and the resulting DEXA scan showed slight osteopenia/weak bones. I was running once a week at this time, 5k parkruns had just started near us, but it was 5k and limp back to the car – no warmup or warmdown. In 2013 the 5:2 diet appeared and I managed to lose about 15 pounds by intermittent fasting, which took some load off my joints, but by the end of 2014 I had consulted with a surgeon, who was recommended by a friend, and explained that I wanted a Birmingham hip resurfacing so I could continue being active. He agreed to give it a go, saying he had never have the customer requestng a specific device before. Same device as Andy Murray eventually got…
      All went well, back to jogging carefully at 8 weeks and 5k soon after, but 2 years later the other hip gave up suddenly and that BHR operation failed due to bone quality. I got a Zimmer ceramic hip instead and could not be happier – I’m running further than in years, having long days in the hills, bouldering and biking – but less biking than before, now I can enjoy running again. If anything, the THR feels even better than the resurfacing, but I fully expect both of then to last longer than me! Picked up the odd V70 prize in 10k and half marathon races last year, but there are some faster runners just turned 70 so this year will be more difficult…

    • #20913

      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.

    • #20917

      Hope I can help with some answers:
      Did you run after hearing you had hip arthritis?
      Yes; but started “dialing it back” with less emphasis on road marathons
      How long after the arthritis diagnosis did you end up having a hip replacement? About 4 years
      What types of changes did you make to your changing after diagnosis? Less racing and marathons, more cross-training incorporated into the week, more flexibility work
      What sorts of training helped or hurt? Unfortunately most any activity would trigger ache or pain… running hard and long was the worst aggrivator but most any activity would including anything requiring lateral stability… casual soccer, cabled leg swings in Pilates, etc
      Hope that helps!

    • #20967

      Hi Iron Runner,

      I first found out in 2015 I had moderate arthritis in my hip when it showed up on an MRI. But I had great success with cortisone shots for a number of years. I continued to run 3-5 times a week, and enter races from 5k up to 1/2 marathon. However, I would usually end up with an injury in the hip flexor area, and need another cortisone shot. And each time I got a cortisone shot, the effect wouldn’t last as long. But it wasn’t until the last year or so that I really went downhill, the last cortisone shot didn’t work, and I couldn’t run, or even do simple walks w/o discomfort. So I knew it was time. I had a THR of my left hip on January 19, 2024. And I have just started doing short run/walks.

      Anyway, looking back I think I did the right thing. I was able to run mostly pain free for a good 7 years even though I would periodically overdo it and re-injure the hip. Have you tried a cortisone shot? They don’t work for everyone and they do take a little time to kick in, like a few weeks in my case.


      • This reply was modified 1 month ago by seanm.
    • #20970

      Always good to hear different approaches, however cortisone shots did nothing for me after about 36 hours of minor “relief”. Also tried them for a shoulder issue and felt nothing other than the pain of the shot.

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