Many runners who have to undergo a hip replacement want to know if they will be able to run again. The question is a difficult one as there is not much scholarship done on the subject. Oftentimes, doctors are not sure how to advise you. However, some promising research has come out recently from Japan.
The research studied 804 hips in 608 patients who were undergoing hip replacement or hip resurfacing. During postsurgical visits, patients were given a questionnaire. Included in the questionnaire were questions about their pre-operational and post-operational physical activity.
The mean age of patients was sixty-two. Of the six hundred and eight patients, thirty-three were runners before surgery. Of those who ran before and after surgery, no one complained of hip pain. Also, the results say, “No hip showed loosening, abnormal component migration, or excessive wear at a mean 5-year follow-up.”
The results indicate that seventy percent of those who ran before surgery were able to continue doing so. However, of those who did not run before surgery and were interested in running afterwards, only thirty-one percent were able to.
What This Means
Obviously, every condition is going to be unique because every person is unique. If you are undergoing hip replacement soon, it is best to ask your doctor whether running will be right for you. However, the results of this study should be encouraging to anyone who was running before surgery. If you were running before your hip surgery or resurfacing, you are likely to be able to continue running. If you were not running before, the chances are somewhat slimmer.
A reliable way to begin running after hip surgery is with trekking poles. Start slowly by walking with the aid of the poles for support. This will take weight off the new hip and ease you into moving more and more.
Swimming is another great activity for the post-surgery phase before you begin running. After your doctor releases you to begin exercising again, you should consider swimming. The exercise is involved and demanding but is also very low impact.
One of the most common concerns with new hips is dislocating the hip. This commonly occurs when the bone is twisted and pops out of the socket. Strengthening the muscles is a helpful way to prevent re-injuring the hip. Swimming is a low impact way to strengthen the muscles before you begin running.
Much like swimming, cycling is a low impact way to strengthen the muscles of the hips and increase aerobic capacity as you prepare to begin running. This is true of both stationary cycling and traditional cycling. Stationary cycling is very popular as one does not face the dangers of riding on the open road.
Start slowly with running. Be very mindful of how the hip is reacting to the impact of running. Also, many would advise you to ice the hip after the run to prevent any inflammation. If you are mindful of your limitations and how your hip is feeling, you should be able to run.
Obviously, all of what has been said is dependent on your doctor releasing you to exercise. Always consult your doctor before making decisions.