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Old 07-29-11, 11:58 AM   #1
JAJ0404
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Anyone riding with a hip replacement?

I've been half-joking to my friends since I was 40 that I'll need a hip replacement by the time I'm 50. I'm 48 and I'm starting to take it more seriously. I have pain where the leg joins the pelvis, on the outside, right about where you'd put your hands in the pocket of jeans. It's in both sides now, and I'm wondering if it really is something that's leading to a hip replacement.

Anyone out there who's had one? I'm wondering what the signs were leading up to this, and how long before the signs lead to the actual replacement. Also interested in how it effects your cycling, but more interested in trying to determine if what I'm feeling is this or something else (I know, ask your doctor, but I like to have some idea before I talk to any professional). It's been getting worse over the last 10 years, but it's not constant, it's more of a frequent flair-up type situation.

Anyone with a story to tell?
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Old 07-29-11, 01:53 PM   #2
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I have a bad left hip I injured 25 years ago, and it's been aching ever since. It gets a little worse every year, but so far I don't need meds for it. Three years ago I had it X-rayed and all the Dr said was "you have moderate arthritis". I don't need a hip replacement yet, but like you, I know that day will come. Because of that, I talk to people who've had them all the time. What I've learned is this:

- You know it's time to get it when the pain keeps you awake at night, regardless of sleep position. Or if you need ibuprofen every day just to be comfortable, it might be time.
- A hip replacement only lasts 10 years, so wait as long as possible to get one.
- Joint replacement technology makes vast improvements about every ten years, so wait as long as possible and hope the technology improves.
- There are different techniques for hip replacement, and the more expensive techniques are better and longer lasting, but your insurance will likely only cover the cheaper options. So save your money to get the best possible option.

About five years ago I was doing an Olympic distance triathlon, and a 62 year old guy came pedaling past me. Being 15 years younger at the time (and cycling is my best discipline), I was impressed, and pulled up beside him and told him so. He said thanks. Later in the race I noticed him leaving the bike-to-run transition at the same time as me, and said "I'm a terrible runner, so you'll be leaving me behind now". He said "No, I've had both hips replaced, and I'm not even supposed to be running, so I'm sure you'll be leaving me behind". And sure enough, I did, even though I was only running a 9 minute pace. Conclusion: the hip replacement was fine for cycling. Not so much for running.
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Old 07-29-11, 01:56 PM   #3
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Sounds like you need to talk with and be evaluated by a sport medicine doc. S/he can tell you exactly what the problem is.
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Old 07-29-11, 02:43 PM   #4
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- You know it's time to get it when the pain keeps you awake at night, regardless of sleep position. Or if you need ibuprofen every day just to be comfortable, it might be time. Plus, if it hurts as much moving your legs while sitting down as it does standing up, it's time.
- A hip replacement only lasts 10 years, so wait as long as possible to get one.
+1 on item number one.

My wife has bilateral hip prosthesis and the left hip was completely reconstructed prior to having the hip replacement done. The right hip was replaced a year after the reconstruction was done and that was 15 years ago. Her orthopedic surgeon says she still has a few years on that hip before she needs it replaced again. The reconstruction normally has a 20 to 25 year life span but the arthritis came back much faster than they expected and they had to replace the hip. The insurance company paid for all of it including her flight to Detroit to have the reconstruction done. All we paid was our deductible. She doesn't ride an upright bike anymore, but she can move pretty good on her recumbent trike.
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Old 07-29-11, 06:59 PM   #5
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I have had total replacements of both hips; the right in 1998 and the left in 2008. When the pain and loss of range of motion start to affect your life, it is time to join the club. Members will testify that "it doesn't hurt any more and I should have had it done a long time ago."

I disagree with the idea that "A hip replacement only lasts 10 years." My first replacement was done 13 years ago and the wear layer (highly cross-linked UHMW polyethylene) shows no discernible loss. The second replacement is metal on metal and wear should never be an issue. My orthopod says there is no reason to expect either replacement to fail with normal activities.

I am not a runner, but I certainly can. My doctor officially advises against skiing and tennis, but he knows that is part of the reason I had the replacements done. For me, being physically active now is worth the possibility of needing revision surgery in the future.

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Old 07-30-11, 01:42 AM   #6
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There is a fellow who plays tennis at our club every week who had a hip replacement the other year. He was out for a few months, but is now back playing on a weekly basis. Not as quick as he used to be, but then again, he is in his late 60's. He still enjoys playing the game.
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Old 07-30-11, 05:59 AM   #7
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I had both hips replaced at age 56, they are made out of titanium and theoretically should last a lifetime. My doc said the best exercise after replacement is cycling. I'm now 60 years old and just hit 1400 miles this season. I have more strength and about 95% of the flexibility of my real hips. I have never felt better and only wished I had it done sooner.
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Old 07-30-11, 08:45 AM   #8
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I have a few friends that were in pro pelotons in their youth. All have had successful hip replacements and all ride frequently and aggressively.

My father has had both hips and both knees replaced (hoping I got Mom's genes) and still does 10-20 km daily rides on his Trek Lime.

Good luck and good health.
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Old 07-30-11, 09:43 AM   #9
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One of my regular cycling partners is a retired Army Colonel. With two knee replacements and who knows what old injuries, and at age 73, I admire him greatly and don't complain about a tough route or the weather. We do an occasional rest for the serious hills. I'm the one who sometimes needs the rest! I can't imagine what it would take to ride with hip or knee replacements. I admire you all.
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Old 07-30-11, 09:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by JAJ0404 View Post
Anyone riding with a hip replacement?
Floyd Landis.
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Old 07-30-11, 12:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by pharasz View Post
- You know it's time to get it when the pain keeps you awake at night, regardless of sleep position. Or if you need ibuprofen every day just to be comfortable, it might be time.
- A hip replacement only lasts 10 years, so wait as long as possible to get one.
- Joint replacement technology makes vast improvements about every ten years, so wait as long as possible and hope the technology improves.
- There are different techniques for hip replacement, and the more expensive techniques are better and longer lasting, but your insurance will likely only cover the cheaper options. So save your money to get the best possible option.
Thank you to everyone who gave their input, this is exactly what I was looking for. I don't think I'm as close as I thought I might be. I have pain in certain postions at night, a few nights a week, but I can always turn some way where it stops and I can sleep. I take Aleve a few times a week, but more for my knees than hips. I think the thing that scares me the most is that at least once a week I'll be standing still and my weight will shift slightly to the side and I'll feel like the hip is ready to give out. I'm going to mention it to my doctor the next time I'm in, but it sounds like I have a few more years and it sounds like technology is improving greatly. I'm working at a research University right now, I might have to look up someone who works in that field and pick their brain.

Thanks again everyone - - I appreciate it.
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Old 07-30-11, 05:17 PM   #12
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A year and a half ago I had I had an ankle fused in early December. My first race after the operation was in early March. Lining up at the starting line several of us old timers were talking about aches and pains. I mentioned my fusion surgery and thought I was the tough guy of the bunch. Much to my surprise one guy was undergoing chemo and another guy had his hip replaced in mid-January and pulled up his sorts to revel the scar. As others have said, wait as long as possible before taking the plunge.
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Old 08-02-11, 08:23 PM   #13
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I had a bad cycling accident in December, 2009. It bought me 8 weeks in a wheelchair. There are 10 screws and 2 titanium plates in my left pelvis. They tell me I will need a total hip replacement at some point, but no one can tell me when.

So I keep riding. Sometimes, my hip hurts. Sometimes, it doesn't. So what? It is what it is and I intend to put off hip replacement until I really, really need it, and then I plan to be back on the bike as soon as the bones heal. I don't know a single person whose hip replacement has prevented them from riding.
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Old 08-03-11, 07:57 AM   #14
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Sounds like you are still a year or two away. I had my rt hip replaced 3 years ago and I just rode RAGBRAI last week. I am a slow healer and it took me more than a year to get back to 100%. You might want to get to the doctor because your knee pain may actually be causing you to put undue stress on your hips. A little therapy may go a long way.
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