Ask Beth: Should I Consider a Hip Replacement?

QUESTION: Should I consider a hip replacement that may end my active lifestyle?

Hi Beth,

I am a 58-year old male who has pretty much given up on surfing because of an arthritic hip. I am contemplating a hip replacement. I know that with a hip replacement I will not be able to surf, but my main concern is if I will be able to continue with some other actiities that are dear to me.

My doctor is pretty much non-commital, reminding me that a hip replacement is for old folks to walk around on only. Presently I bicycle to work five days a week, 18 miles a day, with a couple of good climbs. I work as carpenter which, as you can imagine, makes for a rather active day. I find bicycling to be presently very comfortable, and work rather uncomfortable, but tolerable. What do you think? Would continuing with this routine with a hip replacement be possible? Would it hasten its wear excessively? Do you know of any other knowledgeable sources I could contact?

Thank you very much for your time and input,
A Surfing Carpenter


Hey there,

Below is the response from my fellow surfer/PT Lance. My only other suggestion would be to try out some alternative ways to help ease the pain, like accupuncture, and see if it can make your lifestyle tolerable for another few years. The later in life you have a hip replacement procedure done, the better. I totally understand the willingness to do anything to get back in the water, but a total hip replacement is a BIG deal.

Best of luck and let us know what you decide to do!


Hello Beth and Mr. Carpenter Man,

Hip replacements can be amazing in terms of reducing pain and increasing function. Some people go on to lead very active lives following hip replacements. I don’t see why you should not be able to work, bike, and possibly even surf (small gentle waves). The activities to avoid are impact sports. Surfing could be classified as an impact sport, but I think at some level, wave riding is a possibility in the future. If nothing else, at least go out and body board. Half the stoke with surfing is just getting out in the water and washing away your worries.

There is a rehab period following the surgery in which certain movements and activities must be avoided in order to maintain the integrity of the replacement. Make sure you get good rehab and work hard with your home exercise program. Pool therapy is a great way to restore the mechanics and strength of the lower extremity without exacerbating your symptoms pre- and post-surgery. Do consult with your physician and rehab team on specifics of what you are allowed to do: they know more about the specifics of your case. If you live in the Bay Area, we do free consults at Potrero Physical Therapy. Good luck!

Lance @ Potrero Physical Therapy

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