Runners rely on mobility when hitting the track or trail on any given day. Running is a high-impact activity that relies not only on your legs to move, but also your hips; and according to the American College of Sports Medicine, about 500,000 hip replacement surgeries occur yearly in the United States.
According to Dr. Stickney, “The decision on whether to have hip replacement should be a cooperative decision between you, your family and your orthopedic surgeon. After review of your symptoms, x-rays, and your personal expectations, recommendation for surgery is based primarily on the extent of pain and disability, and not on age or necessarily x-ray findings.”
The hip is one of the body’s normal weight-bearing joints made up of a ball and socket frame covered by articular cartilage, lined with synovial membrane that produces the lubricating fluid for movement. Over time, wear and tear of the ball and socket causes the pain and can lead to osteoarthritis and traumatic arthritis.
Running after hip replacement requires hip postoperative rehabilitation, physical therapy and a graduated activity program to avoid stiffness as well as build stamina and strength. Below are some tips on how to build up to your normal running pace:
- According to the American Academy of Orthopedics (AAOS), start with a slow walking regimen with the aid of a walker, crutches or event trekking poles. These tools will help increase your energy as you continue to heal. Once your surgeon feels that you are ready to put more weight into your step, then and only then, should you increase your walking pace.
- It is also important to rebuild the muscle strength in your legs by participating in a mild swim exercise with the help of swim fins. Fluid movement in the water minimizes weight-bearing stress to your hip while you are still recovering.
- A low-impact activity like riding a stationary bike is also a great way to build the muscles in your leg and hip, prevent stiffness and keep it flexible.
- Lastly, after your walk or run, don’t forget to ice the hip to reduce or prevent inflammation and rest the affected hip.
Dr. Stickney specializes in hip, knee and shoulder surgery in his Kirkland and Redmond locations. If you are a runner considering a hip replacement, contact Dr. Stickney at (425) 823-4000 to schedule an appointment or email him at ProOrthoAppointment@proliancesurgeons.com. Watch Dr. Stickney’s video and learn more about hip replacement surgery.