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Skiers that have had hip replacement surgery

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Has anyone done any extensive work with skiers who have had hip replacement surgery?

This past weekend I conducted a clinic with a group of PSIA level 1 certs that are not planning to take the level 2 exam this season. After the clinic one of the gentlemen said he had a total hip replacement about 18 months ago. Thinking back on our time together, outside of some early season legs and the impacts of age I really didn’t notice any indications of the hip replacement.

Since then I’ve been wondering about the effects of his surgery. What is the impact on his range of motion, is his flexibility restricted, what other things should I be aware of and take into future clinic planning. Searching through a lot of previous posts didn’t seem to provide significant information.

Any input is welcome.
post #2 of 2
I had my right hip replaced in March of 2000. It takes a varying amount of time for people to recover. Most people I have talked to say things keep on improving for 2 years or more. Depending on the surgical approach used the capsule, external rotators, and gluteus medius (as well as other muscles) have to be cut through extensively and that takes a while to heal and rehab. Also there frequent ly is thigh pain reported (etiology is not well known but may involve "micromotion" of the prosthetic stem) but this usually disappears over the first 2 years. Obviously, the actually fixation of the hip (non-cemented) also improves over time as bone fills in and strengthens.

I started skiing just under 9 months post surgery but that was VERY tenuous. The hip was very weak and there was considerable pain with almost any kind of fall. In this early stage my turns were made with a vast majority of the weight on the non-operated side (lots of weighted inside turns to the side opposite that operated).

Skiing effects: As the hip deteriorates there is a great deal of pain and restriction to a variety of motions of the hip - especially internal rotation. After hip replacement surgery internal rotation (especially combined with hip flexion) is restriced for a few months (to avoid dislocation). In my experience this leads to remnants of internal rotation resrictions being carried over even as the hip gets stronger and stronger. This can lead to inhibition of a smooth "cross under" (a mainstay of modern skiing) to one side and a little unnecessary push off instead of a simple more effective release of the downhill ski. As I became aware of this push off (with some feedback) I recognized this problem and was able to let my hips more smoothly move from right to left (as the pain I had been instinctively avoiding wasn't there anymore). Other than that there has been little else specific that I have needed to work on, although my skiing continues to improve with increased strength of the new hip.

At this point (21 months post surgery) I am skiing pretty agressively (speed, steeps, small jumps <5 feet) and can almost ski one footed on the operated side.

Note: Not all surgeons recommend skiing as an activity for people with hip replacements. Almost no surgeons recommend agressive skiing for people with hip replacement. For myself, I can't follow this advise.
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