I am a young snowbird (age 52) living in Idaho during the summer and Arizona in the winter. When I was in Arizona this last winter, I met several people who had a hip replacement and were out running competitively. What kind of hip replacement allows you to do this? I'm very interested in finding out.
You may have seen some folks who have the hip resurfacing procedure (not a complete total hip replacement). Hip resurfacing arthroplasty is a type of hip replacement that replaces the arthritic surface of the joint but removes far less bone than the traditional total hip replacement. Because the hip resurfacing removes less bone, it may be preferable for younger patients. It is an attractive option for those who want to stay active.
These newer implants are less likely to fracture or break with weight-bearing load. Hip resurfacing gives the hip higher wear resistance. More than ever before, these new implants make it possible for patients to resume low to medium level impact sports.
The results of a recent study from France suggest that high-impact activities are also possible. Surgeons from the Department of Sports Medicine at the University of Lille in France studied 40 of their patients who were runners and who received a hip resurfacing procedure.
They measured the amount of time spent running, level of impact, weekly mileage, and return to sports competition for this group. The younger patients (50 years old and younger) were able to maintain their same level of running after surgery as before. Some runners were even able to run competitively once again. Older patients were more likely to report a decrease in their weekly mileage.
This was a short-to mid-term length study. Long-term results will tell the rest of the story. Patients will be better able to make decisions about the level of physical activity they want to pursue after hip resurfacing when they know what to expect over the entire life of the implant. For now, caution is advised when counseling patients regarding activity level, intensity, and level of impact.
Nicolas Fouilleron, MD, et al. Running Activity After Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty. A Prospective Study. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. April 2012. Vol. 40. No. 4. Pp. 889-894.
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