Martial Arts After a Total Hip Replacement

Robert Carver

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Hi Everyone:

Amazingly at age 42 I am facing the prospect of a Total Hip Replacement (THR) in the very near future. I have been putting it off for several years because I do not want to have the limitations imposed by an artificial joint. However, time and the pain levels are such that I am having to deal with this matter. So I have a question for for those that have had THR and do martial arts (or know someone else that has has THR). How has this made a difference and what real limitations to you have in your training.

Thanks!
 
M

MartialArtsChic

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Master M. at my school has had both of his hips replaced. He just got the second one done in March. The absolute difference from then til now is amazing. He can grapple, turn, move and just plain walk better now. Whereas, he couldn't do any of this before. The pain was just incredible for him and he could barely walk. He's a heck of a lot nicer now too, since the pain has gone away.

As for limitations, you'll have to find that out for yourself, everyone is different plus you are still very young. Once you've healed, start slow and see what you can or can't do. Just make sure to listen to your doctor and heal. You don't want to mess yourself up by starting too soon.

Master M. can't do some of the kicks or go very high or go down on his knees, but he's in his 50's and put off doing the 2nd one for far too long.
 

Klondike93

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What kind of injury did you sustain that now requires you to have your hip replaced? It wasn't due to martial arts was it?



:p
 

arnisador

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Didn't some very well-known martial artist have this done recently--Bill Wallace or Chuck Norris or someone?
 
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Robert Carver

Robert Carver

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Arnisador, actually both Chuck Norris and Bill Wallace have had THRs. I am just not likely to get a dialog going with either of them on the subject. :)

Klondike93, yep, it was martial arts. 30+ years of it has taken its toll. Not to mention almost 14 years in the Marine Corps, ten years of running 10-12 miles a day, etc. Basically, it was just wear and tear. No injury that I know of, but with osteoarthritis, they really don't know. It is very possible that I sustained an injury at some point, and like most hard-headed Marines (not to mention martial artists) I just blew off the pain as "just one of those things". I also have a very high pain tolerance (a necessary asset when you do jujutsu). I do remember that while in my early twenties while doing kicks, I would get some popping in the joint, but nothing that got my attention then. Now I tell my juniors that if you experience ANY discomfort in the hip or popping, get to the doctor. Better to catch it early than to wait until it is too late.

MartialArtsChic... thank you as well. I can definately understand how your sensei would be a whole lot nicer when not in pain. With just about constant pain, my attitude can be a little rotten sometimes! :D
 

tshadowchaser

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I work with people , old and young, everyday that have had THR.
From what i have seen much depends on the mental state of the individual involved along with their general health.
You teach and train in Jujutsu so you are most likely in pretty good shape. given that and the fact that I belive you are looking forward to a healthy life fter the replacement I think your chances of being active are pretty good.
Yes , you will have to take it easy at fist and your muscles will have to strengthen once again, you will need to learn to walk(this should only take a week or so) but after that I think you will slowly begin to feel much better . And if you are somewhat careful you should have an active life in the martial arts there after
My best to you and please keep us informed of the situation and your progress
 

theletch1

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Professor Martin Buell, who heads up one of the kempo organizations (Universal Kempo Karate) has had both hips replaced. I've been told that he moves better after the THR than before. The limitations are probably gonna be more mental than physical. Whatever you set your mind to being able to do...or not do... is the limit. Best of luck.
 
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Robert Carver

Robert Carver

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Thank you for your reply theletch1. I would certainly like to believe that the only limitation would be mental as that would be easy enough to overcome. The problem is that with an artificial hip, there are some major physical limitations associated with the implant. For instance, the range of motion is not as great as a natural hip. Thus, if you place the hip into a range of motion greater than it was intended it will dislocate. The other has to do with how the implant is interfaced with the natural bone. With a THR they cut away the femur just below the neck of the femur. They then drill a channel down the length of the femur and put the lower portion of the implant into the channel. The implant can be either cemented or uncemented into place. In the case of the uncemented type, the material of the implant is pourous and the bone grows into the implant to hold it in place. The problem that exists here is that constant jarring that might be associated with heavy bag kicking or (in my case) hard breakfalls, will cause the implant to loosen up and you have to have a revision surgery to put in a second implant. Under normal day to day wear, the implants only last about 15 years (if you are lucky) and then the loosening around the implant causes you to have a revision surgery. Needless to say, the demands on the body for martial arts are more than the average day to day wear the implant was intended for. This, plus the fact that they only last 15 years or so and because of my age, is the reason my doctor and I decided when I was first diagnosed 4 years ago to put off the surgery as long as possible. So the reason I have brought up this subject is to get realistic expectations of my limitations. I could go all out and just like Bo Jackson, wear my new hip out in one year (he resumed playing baseball) or I can play some nice middle ground and try to keep the replacement equipment as long as possible.
 
M

MartialArtsChic

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How is the other hip? Is that one on its way out too? I would say hard breakfalls on the fake hip will most likely be a thing of the past as well as any major hard kicking (maybe). However, you can always not use a heavy bag but use something else. Unless someone who actually has their hip replaced replies to this, I think you may just have to take it slow and see what it is your able to do or not do. It appears you are extremely well informed already. All I'll say is just be sure to heal and don't start too much right away. That's a lot of pain, expense, PT and everything to go through to mess it up by doing something you're not supposed to sooner rather then later.

Yes you are a martial artist and there will be things you can do and there are going to be things you won't be able to do anymore with the fake hip. However, living a life being able to walk and free from pain far exceeds MA things you won't be able to do. At least I would think.

Just my 2 cents.

Hope all goes well.
 

lhommedieu

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Know a 4th Dan (Gup?) in Tae Kwon Do with 20+ years training who had one done a few years ago. Rather than resume high kicking, he delved into Chinese Internal Arts to help the recuperation process. He decided that he liked it so much that he he made it the focus of his training. He's never been happier.

Best,

Steve Lamade
 
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Robert Carver

Robert Carver

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MartialArtsChic:

Thank you again for your reply. When I had this diagnosed, I immediately started doing my research. So I have an idea as to the limitations, but not necessarily realistic limitations. Like I mentioned above in reference to Bo Jackson. He had his hip replaced, quit playing football, but returned to playing baseball. He is the example of going all out, and wearing his implant out in a year. So it shows that is at least possible. If you talk with a doctor, they will tell you that THRs are designed for older people to enable them to achieve normal mobility. So in other words, it is designed so that I can walk slowly around the lake and feed the ducks. The first circumstance means I end up back in the same condition, needing another THR in a few years. The other means giving up my martial arts. Sorry, but neither of those extremes are acceptable. By getting information from those Budoka that have been there, I hope to find a nice middle ground.

Oh, and regarding the other (right) hip... well, it is not in the best shape either. It is no where near the condition of the right one, but the odds are pretty good that in ten years I will be replacing that one as well.

Part of my research on THR had to do with how I managed to screw it up in the first place. If you have not noticed, there are a LOT of martial artists (like Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace and others) that have had their hips replaced. It seems to be that martial arts places an undue amount of stress on the hip. I found several studies that shows that certain kicks, such as the traditional Japanese style roundhouse kick (raise knee high and position the lower leg so that is is parallel to the floor, then driving the knee toward the target) binds the hip of the supporting leg. Basically, most Western men (and some non-Western men) do not have enough space in the hip joint, so when the knee is raised high, the hip is bound with the "ball" pushed tight against the socket in a position it was never intended to be in. That driving motion with the kick on the tightly bound ball runs it back and forth over the cartledge. This starts the damage and continued kicking just wears down the joint. That is one of the reasons I do not teach a traditional style roundhouse kick to my students (yes, even us Jujutsu guys need to know how to kick). The newer Korean type roundhouse kick places less stress on the joint because the knee is not raised so high (or the lower leg positioned parallel to the floor) during the chamber. BTW, this method was developed as a response to the folks coming down with bad hips.

Steve, thank you also for your response. I have thought about alternative martial arts, but I honestly think I would be miserable without Jujutsu. I have tried Tai Chi and thought it was pretty cool, but it did not fit my temperment. However, I am always willing to give it another shot in the future!
 

lhommedieu

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Originally posted by Robert Carver

Steve, thank you also for your response. I have thought about alternative martial arts, but I honestly think I would be miserable without Jujutsu. I have tried Tai Chi and thought it was pretty cool, but it did not fit my temperment. However, I am always willing to give it another shot in the future!

Cf. TAIJI Chin Na: The Seizing Art of Taijiquan , by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming for a look at the locking and throwing applications of Tai Qi Quan. Available through Amazon.com

Best,

Steve
 
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Spud

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My brother in law has had both hips done in his mid-50's. He was sorry that he didn't do it sooner. Coninues his hiking, snowshoing and mountaineering without difficulty now. Although one hip is giving him some minor problems it is nothing like it was.

Good luck with your decision.
 

Nightingale

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tell your doctor that you're planning on continuing martial arts. There is a different way they can put the joint in that makes it stronger and easier to replace again if necessary. It is a longer recover time though.
 

hardheadjarhead

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THR would certainly cause a change in training.

I didn't know Norris had one...but I knew about Wallace. He had his bad knee replaced too, so I heard. Larry Hartsell had THR as well. I read about a noted Shotokan expert who had one (the great kicker from the movie "Kill Or Be Killed"...the guy who levitated in the beginning)...he changed his kata, but continues to train.

The high impact stuff likely would have to come to a halt. This may explain why Norris isn't doing what he used to...but then, he's over sixty, and though fit, even with good hips I could see him backing off a great deal.

Running wouldn't be advised...treadmills and stairmasters would be okay.

Grappling? Sure! As long as people aren't cranking weird hip locks on you.

It isn't the end of the world, certainly. The things you can't do, you can still teach. I don't do jump kicks anymore due to back problems...but I can teach them. I do it well, too.

One does what one can, eh? Talk with a sports oriented orthopedic surgeon and tell him very specifically what you do, what you'd like to do, and see what he says. Get a second opinion.

Keep up your spirits...we all age eventually. While 42 is young for a hip replacement, it isn't unheard of. Something, at some point, goes out of whack for each of us. I'm surprised to hear some of the older folks on this forum aren't experiencing more problems.

Oh, and the stubborn jarhead syndrome is well known by me and another guy I know who is a martial artist. Sometimes one doesn't know when to quit. But the reverse can be worse.

Regards,

Steve
 
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Deb

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Robert,
I am an almost 50 year old woman martial artist with the same problem - my right hip is bone-on-bone and needs replaced, but doctors urge me to wait until I'm older. Awful to finally be too young for something, and it's hip replacement.
I read all the replies to your query with much interest, since we're in the same boat. I did find 2 web sites about alternatives to the traditional HR. Please look at www.activejoints.com and www.wmt.com . The first is for people younger than 65 who face our mutual problem. One of the sites is about a new type of joint which will allow up to 158 degrees of rotation. I gathered that with traditional, the plastic wears off and does something to the remaining bone of the femur. There is ceramic on ceramic coating, metal on metal coating, different options. The problem is finding a doctor near enough and in one's insurance network who understands how important it is to a martial artist to continue to train and teach. Good luck in your search for answers.
Deb
 

James Clifton

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Rob,
4 weeks after total hip replacement & everything is fine.I had MIS ,have a 2" scar & was walking 3 days after surg.Doing rehab 3 days a week,will start back weightlifting at the end of June.I really don't know what my limitations,movement etc.will be.Dr really did LESS,LESS INVASIVE surg. on me,didn't cut all those muscles & went in at the top instead of the standard way.I'm a happy camper!! CAN'T WAIT TO GET BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS!!Much thanks to you for your email,it meant & still means a lot!
Jim Clifton
 

Shug

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Hi All

I've been reading this thread and I'm wondering how Robert Carver is doing now and for that matter anyone else in the same boat.

I recently (8 weeks ago) had a hip operation called a surface replacement where a titanium cup and socket replaces the connective tissue, the material between the bones. I had this done as I was advised that this was the best type of operation to allow maximum flexibility and strength as there is minimal bone removal - the bones are sort of filed down so that the titanium cups fit snugly .

I have two young children who are very energetic and like me to have fun with them I also do Tae Kwon Do and this would be the best substitute hip joint for continuing this, albeit not so vigorously.

This may be an option for any future hip operations that people like us require. At the end before the operation I found it very painful. It kept me awake every night. I had no power to lift my foot more than a few inches to name a few things. Since the operation I have more flexibility and no pain although I cant lift my knee up to waist height yet but its miles better a improving. The convalescing time for this operation is considerably longer than a THR but the outcome is a stronger hip joint.

Shug

 

arnisador

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For Young and Active, a Hip Replacement Alternative


At 40, Jeff Gaynor barely resembled the young man who, in his early 20s, ran half-marathons and performed martial arts.


Mr. Gaynor, who lives in Champaign, Ill., was so sleep deprived from pain in his hip that he had not had one good nights sleep in seven years, he said. His body was so twisted and his gait so peculiar that children ran in the other direction when they saw him.


Unable to stand and barely able to walk, he resigned from his job as a mathematics professor at the University of Illinois. His young sons became accustomed to a father who could not run, play or even go to the mall without a lot of planning. He gained weight 70 pounds because although he was sedentary, he still ate like an athlete.


But Mr. Gaynor, now 45, has been able to resume some of his former activities because of a new surgical implant called the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System, an alternative to total hip replacement.

He ends up back in jujutsu, so it's a happy ending!
 
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