Total hip replacement

Dealing with aches and pains--and better yet, avoiding them--and fitness related to snowboarding. This is also the place to talk about helmets, safety pads, and goggles.

Total hip replacement

Postby DLSTEW » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:26 pm

Anyone have any experience with total hip replacement and snowboarding? My wife (49) has just had the procedure and is anxious to keep the whole family snowboarding next season. We are intermediate, no jumping, and relatively tame, but the doctor (who doesn't snowboard) has discouraged it in general, to our disappointment. I am wondering if he just doesn't have experience with the subject and is relating it to skiing (which caused pain for my wife. She snowboarded right up to the surgery because it didn't stress her hip as skiing did).
Me, my wife and three teenage kids all snowboard and It is without question our favorite family function.
Does anyone have any information or experience with this?
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Re: Total hip replacement

Postby canoer » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:22 am

From my wife's experience with perhaps going back a bit too soon (to skiing) after an ACL repair, I'd recommend patience for a full season. My wife went back to the hill within a year of the ACL and it's hard to say for sure, but she had a nasty tib-fib fracture on the same leg that's pretty much retired her from downhill activities. She's just a couple of years older than your wife.

Nothing wrong with getting a second opinion though (my wife got two of them). Check out some medical forums too, if you haven't already. My wife spent hours on mybrokenleg.com.

I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. :D
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Re: Total hip replacement

Postby runswithdog » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:50 pm

Boy, am I glad my orthopedic group contains one snowboarder, one skiier, and another snowboarder who ripped his shoulder (rotator cuff) about 3 months ago.
Talk about experienced. :)

Good luck with finding answers, and remember. Your wife can always be an experiment of one. A lot of "recovery issues" have to do with what hurts. And what doesn't.

I would think with good quality rehab, and acute attention to getting in best possible shape----- it will all work out.
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Re: Total hip replacement

Postby DLSTEW » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:56 pm

Thanks for the replies.
Kim (wife) has quite the spirit. She plans on horseback riding and even showing possibly this summer if possible (she is very active and plans on staying that way), but snowboarding is high on her list next season (regardless of what anyone says). She is ahead of schedule on her recovery so far, and we are being cautious until she is recovered from the surgery. We are doing all the therapy and instructions the surgeon has advised otherwise, but the "no downhill sports" instruction will not be followed if all goes well....
For now, one week after the surgery she is out of pain other than the muscle tissue and tendon pain from the surgery, and doing well so far.
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Re: Total hip replacement

Postby SteveH » Tue Mar 09, 2010 1:07 am

I've been engaged in one fairly stressful athletic endeavor or another for more than 40 years. Inevitably, I've had to deal with the struggle of how to respond to injuries. Most recently, I've had a knee bruise that has lasted for over a year and had me wondering if it was the "terminal" hit that would limit my activities. Fortunately, it has begun to heal and I have hope that I'll be functioning at a relatively normal level soon.

Heres what I have distilled from working through decades of injuries.

1. A doc who doesn't understand the sport involved is of limited use. I've had any number of specialists tell me to stop running because that seems like a perfectly reasonable precaution to a non runner. They simply don't get the idea that the goal is to get back to what we love, not the path of least resistance to avoid further injury.

2. Be extremely diligent with rehabilitation. Exercises that strengthen the soft tissue are vital to promote flexibilty and strength and avoid injury. How does an NFL running back sustain 15 hits per game that would send the rest of us to the hospital? Incredible conditioning that protects the body from the effects of extreme forces. If we're flexible, we don't break. If we're strong, we can resist forces that would otherwise injure us.

3. Listen to your body--carefully. Pain is a wonderfully accurate guide to actions that the body doesn't like. The trick is to figure out if the body doesn't like the action because it is not well conditioned and needs to get stronger, or because the action is causing further injury. The skill is only developed over time and, if in doubt, avoid the pain. I extended my recovery from the knee bruise by "working through the pain" which was actually traumatizing the bruise and causing it to worsen.

4. Think through the mechanics of the injury. My knee bruise was stressed when force was applied at a flexion angle around 90 degrees. Using a brace that limited flexion to 90 degrees reduced the stress and risk to the injury. Hip replacement, as I understand it, works quite well through he normal range of movement. The primary risk is a stress that could force the joint beyond the normal range. Snowboarding should be no more stressful than walking, absent a fall that forces the joint outside the normal range. Typical falls won't strongly impact the hip joint since the feet are tied to the board and held in a comfortable relationship. It seems to me the largest risk would be a collision with a person or object that would push the joint to an unnatural angle. So selecting terrain that minimizes the risk of collision would seem to help to limit the risk.

Best of luck for a great recovery that allows many years of enjoying our sport.
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