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Osteoarthritis of the hip and Elliptical exercising

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Pre-Op Area' started by Gregory, Oct 26, 2009.

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  1. Gregory

    Gregory New Member

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    I've been told by 4 surgeons who looked at my x-rays that I have Osteoarthritis and needed a THR. I'm scheduled to have my surgery next month. I don't have constant pain but am starting to limp and have some difficulty sleeping.

    I used to play racquetball 3 or 4 times a week but had to stop. I currently work out with weights and also do the elliptical machine for about 20 minutes 4 times a week.

    The question I have is should I stop using the elliptical machine and switch to swimming and biking? Is the elliptical machine bad for someone in my condition? Could it be making things worse?
  2. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Swimming would put less stress on your hip joint. It helps that the water supports your body while you exercise. But if you aren't having specific pain or limping from the elliptical machine, I don't see why you'd need to stop it. But it is curious to me that all your doctors say your hip is bad enough to need surgery, yet you are able to do an exercise program.

    I'm thinking you have more pain than you are allowing yourself to admit to. It is likely pain that is keeping you from sleeping. If you don't have "constant pain," when is it that you have it?

    Are you sure you're ready for the surgery or are you just responding to what the doctors are recommending?
  3. dcdowden

    dcdowden Junior Member

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    I liked to use the cross trainer as well, but my hips finally got bad enough that I could no longer do that. So I backed off to a recumbent bike. I woke up about every hour at night to turn over to my other side because each of my hips were pretty bad and they could only tolerate so much. My hips eventually got to the point that I could only walk short distances and I could not put on my shoes and socks anymore. I saw a quote from the golfer, Tom Watson, who said that you know it's time for a hip replacement when putting on your shoes and socks becomes an Olympic event. I would definitely say don't wait as long as I did for the surgery, and staying in good shape before hand will definitely speed up the recovery. I had both hips done last year about 3 months apart. My rehab from the first surgery was limited by the pain in the other hip. But I'm happy to report my hips are pain free now. Now all I need is to complete the recovery from the knee replacement surgery I had about 10 weeks ago.
    Good luck,
    Doug
  4. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    I agree, Doug. What you describe is what I'm hoping to hear from Gregory. I have a hunch he's in more pain than his post indicated.
  5. Gregory

    Gregory New Member

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    The doctors say I need surgery because my hip joint is bone on bone and I told them about the pain I've experienced. I've reached the point where it's getting difficult to get my shoe and sock on. As far as difficulty sleeping, it's usually when I awaken during the night. I can't get comfortable due to the pain but eventually do fall back asleep.
    What makes it difficult for me as far as deciding to go through with the surgery now or delay it is that my pain is nothing compared to the stories I've read about and others I've talked to who had the surgery. Which is why I was wondering about using the elliptical. It's not as harsh on the joint as running but is it that much worse than say bike riding?
  6. Judles

    Judles Alpha

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    Who said!!!! I found the eliptical hurt like hell! I too was bone on bone!!! I could never understand why they say it didn't put too much stress on your joints! I certainly found that it DID put LOTS of stress on my joints!!! (:)0)
  7. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    I agree....it's all about what it feels like to YOU.

    Gregory, please don't try to compare yourself to others. If you are in pain and having trouble doing your normal activities or are limping (this will eventually cause problems for other joints), then you do need to consider surgery. While it is good to exercise prior to surgery so that your muscles are strong for recovery, you should only do things that do not cause pain. Maybe those folks you're talking to have waited too long for surgery......you need to make the decision based on how YOU feel.
  8. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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  9. Jayhawk

    Jayhawk Member

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    My situation is very similar.....bone on bone in my right hip and diagnosed as a hip replacement candidate. My hip condition is the result of playing sports and years of limping due to chronicially arthritic knees (total knee arthroplasty on both knees in the past 15 months). I was a high-level racquetball player until I was unable to play due to my knee problems. I was told by doctors that the manner in which I walked for so long was a huge detriment to my hips. The range of motion is my hip is significantlly reduced.

    I have decided to delay the hip surgery as long as I can particpate in my athletic activities.....playing raquetball again and weight train. I can use the eliptical trainer without hip or knee pain but do not particularly like the exercise and ride a stationary bike instead. Interestingly, after years of being physically unable I can now run again....but have chosed to not run due to impact on the prosthesis.

    I would consider a cortisone injection in your hip....had an injection in May and have been basically pain free for five months (beginning to experience pain again and will have a second injection soon). This is not a cure only a pain treatment and will only delay the inevitable, but for me has allowed a return to my physical activites. Once I begin to be limited in my activities I will then opt for the surgery.

    Steve
    Spring, Tx
  10. Judles

    Judles Alpha

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    Steve! You're lucky you can "wind down!"....I had one cortisone shot that lasted for 2 weeks! Then I realized the writing was on the wall for me and I didn't want another "fix" or mask.....so I chose to have the surgery sooner ratgher tghan later! You wouldn't believe how wonderful it feels to wake up in the morning and NOT have that nagging osteo pain! But as long as you are enjoying your sports, that's great! Just don't overdo!!! (:)0)
  11. Jayhawk

    Jayhawk Member

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    Completely understand......I had cortisone injections in both knees for several years and when it got to the point that the pain relief was a matter of weeks verus months I had no options left. My complete recovery from both knee arthroplasties has been phenomental!!! A factor was the level of pain I experienced in re-hab on my knees was no worst that what I had lived with for a long, long time....this allowed me to be very aggressive in my physical therapy (plus an expert doctor) and my recovery was weeks verus months. Many people have difficulty in overcoming the pain threshold in physical therapy and delay their recovery and/or develop problems.

    Now, there is no physical activity that I cannot do.....even though I choose to not participate in some.

    Plan to follow the same strategy with my hips.


    Steve
  12. TBONE

    TBONE Senior

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    Gregory--Just my opinion but in general movement is good, impact is bad. So and elliptical machine is pretty good, I think and has the advantage of keeping the hip joints active. Swimming is probably better as a non-impact, and generally non-weight-bearing exercise. I would stay as active as possible with low impact exercises until or unless yoru doc says stop.
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