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Date: 28 Aug 2001
Remote Name: 126.96.36.199
As an early member of this list, I learned a lot to help prepare me for hip replacement at age 44. I'm here to return the favor for anyone who would like some info.
I'm pleased to report that, now 48, my operated hip is perfect, and my other hip and knees have improved from "headed for trouble OA" to "normal range" for my age, and I feel great!
While I'm careful to to put too much wear and tear on it, I can do anything including play basketball, run as fast as ever, walk indefinate distance, ski, etc, generally better than my peers without arthritis of similar age.
Things are great but it did take time and work. Vigorous water-based exercise, is the best thing.
I'd say it was about 3 months until it started getting really improved. At 6 months I began being ecstatic - realizing I was going to come all the way back. PT was still important to get my gait just right. Water exercise with surgical tubing to simulate full speed running kept building my muscles and training my legs. It was probably over a year before all symptoms of the arthritis were gone.
Take a look at www.burdenko.com. Igor Burdenko was my PT - someone like that makes a world of difference.
Total impact is an issue. My hard work to generate a "girdle of muscle" around the joint is all very low impact. I use elliptical running machines, exercise bike, and a lot of water exercise including running with flotation and resistance.
The high impact stuff is my reward. With substantial muscle around the joint, I absorb a lot of impact. In terms of total time, it isn't a lot. The real running is spurts during a half-court game. In total, I probably run full-out less than a quarter mile a week.
But when I do, it feels great. I'm not slow at all, and the muscles and joints are so stable now that I'm more agile than most my age. It takes a long while for your muscles to rebuild entirely. You need a "girdle of muscle" around the joint before you go skiing, for example, or you might dislocate.
My surgeon chose components that minimize wear, but we expect to replace the plastic cup and "snap-on" ball at some point. He's watching it carefully and we'll do it before there is weakening that might make a revision necessary.
This site was a geat help leading up to my November 1997 surgery and throughout the following year. I used to converse with others regularly, but now I've generally put the whole incident out of mind.
Thank you so much, Linda. I also feel very fortunate to have found Dr. Dennis Burke at Mass General, and Igor Burdenko. For the last 4 years now I've also taken glucosamine suppliments and I don't know how much credit they deserve for the improvement in my other hip and my knees. Feel free to write me if you'd like more info.