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Sherri

Climbing after hip replacement

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My life partner is scheduled to have her hip replaced in November. She's never been hooked on climbing the way I am, but occasionally we get out together to enjoy a mellow cragging or multipitch session. (The approaches have always limited her more than the climb.)

 

We asked the surgeon if she would be able to continue doing that after the replacement and he said, emphatically, "No. Climbing is too hard on the joints, with all of that sudden jarring movement, you could dislocate the hip or wear it out too fast."

 

Sounded to me like he has no idea what climbing actually involves. Ironically, he said she could take up running if she wanted to. ???

 

I'm wondering if anyone out there has experience climbing with a replaced hip?

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It wasn't a full hip replacement, but my dad had a hip resurfacing and has been able to climb after. His doctor said it was ok for him to climb as long as he tried it on something easier and it didn't hurt. He did the Emmons route on Rainier about a year and a half after surgery, and some easy cragging at Leavenworth about 2.5 years after. He would have been able to go cragging way earlier, but only comes to Washington to visit me about once a year.

 

Coming down from Rainier he had some stability issues on the trail, but that was just because the muscles hadn't fully come back from being cut in the surgery yet. During the cragging, the biggest thing was he just wasn't quite as flexible as he was before.

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A friend of mine had both of his replaced. He guides rock in the Summer and is ski patrol and instructor in the Winter. Said his skiing got a lot better (compared to before the surgery).

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Thanks for the feedback, folks. Sure is helpful to have some real-life experiences to evaluate alongside the generic medical advice.

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I know a mountain guide who's had the surgery. He still climbs. You're right, docs have no idea what they're talking about in this area.

 

If anything, climbing probably helps extend the life of the joint by strengthening and stabilizing the surrounding muscles and keeping the ligaments from tightening up due to lack of use.

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That pronouncement sounds a bit over the top. My friend's dad had two hips replaced and ran marathons for 5 years afterwards and only recently cut back to 10ks - but he's a genetic freak. Closer to home another friend (65) had a recent hip replaced and came back climbing and is schedule for the second. Another guide I know had a hip resurfacig and came back strong as ever.

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Thanks for that info, Tvash and Jim.

 

That pronouncement sounds a bit over the top.

 

I thought so, too, Jim, but I have no experience with joint replacements so I wasn't sure if he was just prescribing a blanket, out-of-the-textbook ban on an activity with which he was unfamiliar or if, as he implied, she'd be nuts to even think of climbing with a hip replacement.

 

Advising that she take up running instead was what raised the red flag for me. Out of the two activities, I would think running would be the hardest on a joint.(Especially given that she is NOT a runner and doesn't have any interest in starting)

 

Our occasional climbing outings are one of the few outdoor activities we get to do together. If anything, we'd hoped that the hip replacement would allow us to do more, not less. Nice to hear that perhaps that is still in the cards, at least to some extent.

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Thanks, Joseph. I caught the recent one on knee replacement over there. I'll dig a little further into archives for other body parts.

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Sounds like the doctor is out....in fact I think she is in Yosemite right now tearing it up, Dr BS.

Seems like climbing would be easy on the hip joint and running would be HELL! I could see if he had prescribed biking, but running?

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Kim Czizmazia had one or two of her hips renovated a few years back ... then took up with the Crossfit scene which is super hip-intensive.

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