While many surgeons say no to resuming a running program after a total hip replacement, others say you can do so depending on the bone quality and the prosthetic materials used to replace the worn hip joint. In surgery, the damaged cartilage and bone are removed and replaced with metal, plastic or ceramic joint surfaces. Surgeons may use cement to attach the artificial joint to the bone. Impact activities pose a risk of stem fracture and prosthesis loosening and can accelerate wear on the prosthetic components’ surfaces. Because running can be a jarring activity to begin with, running after a total hip replacement requires even more caution.
Talk with your physician to get an idea of how soon you can start running again. Take as long as you need to find out how to safely resume your activity. We can provide you with running techniques that are appropriate for a hip replacement patient. These will involve adding smooth, fluid motions to your form. It is important to start slowly, first walking, then power walking, then jogging on a smooth surface such as a treadmill without an incline. If you do feel pain, just slow down or stop. You can always run later, when your body gets used to the motion. The following points are important to remember as you resume your running regimen:
- Stretch your legs, arms, back and hips before running.
- Warm up thoroughly.
- Cool down and gently stretch your muscles after a run to prevent further injury to your hip.
- Start slowly and work your way up to longer runs.
- Avoid falls or a jarring motion that could damage the replaced hip.
The most important thing is to follow your surgeon’s advice. Your physical therapist at The Jackson Clinics will be happy to talk with your physician and design a program that can get you up and running as safely as possible. We can also suggest ways to incorporate various lifestyle changes to keep the hip problem free.