Sunday, November 1, 2015

Running After Total Hip Replacement

Picture by Cindy Funk from Flickr
I've had a patient who came in to our clinic this past week asking if she can still run after surgery as she was considering a hip replacement. Another patient recently had hip replacement surgery and wanted to get back to running quickly.

I told both of them what I knew was that under laboratory testing conditions, more pounding translates into shorter lifespans for artificial joints. That means when you load your joint more (after hip replacement surgery) during running, the artificial joint will wear out more rapidly than someone who participates in lower impact activities such as cycling or swimming.

Adverse effects could mean dislocations, fractures, loosening of the prosthesis and scraping off and scattering within the body of metal fragments.

In a 2014 study, researchers investigated 23 adults who returned or started running after hip replacement surgery reported few problems five years after their surgery. There was very little evidence that their subjects experienced the above mentioned adverse effects.

Theirs was quite a small group of subjects and the follow up period was relatively short too.

In another larger study, 804 hips from 608 patients were investigated. Among the subjects who ran (an average of four times a week covering 3.6 km), none of the subjects had any loosening, abnormal implant migration or excessive wear during the five year follow up as well.

I suggested to my patient (who had the hip replacement done) that she shouldn't rush back to running after surgery. She needs to regain full range of motion in the hip and get the muscles around the joint strong first before attempting to run. Of course I suggested deep water running/ aqua based rehabilitation first.


Abe H, Sakai T et al (2014). Jogging After Total Hip Arthroplasty. Am J Sp Med. 42(1): 131-137. DOI: 10.1177/0363546513506866.

Meira EP and Zeni J Jr (2014). Sports participation Following Total Hip Arthoplasty. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 996): 839-850.

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