Susan Heinrich is pictured in the distance hiking on a trails at Vail. There are pine trees and green hills beyond her.

What I Wish I Knew Before Hip Replacement Surgery

MIDLIFE HEALTH

A total hip replacement at age 49 was scary, and it changed my life. Here’s what I learned.

Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor and have no medical training. Nothing you read here should be construed as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment, consult a medical professional or healthcare provider. I am sharing my story for educational purposes only. 

When my mobility evaporated at age 49, I was shocked to learn I needed hip surgery, and this is what I wish I knew before my hip replacement.

Being told you need a hip replacement can feel scary and overwhelming. Knowing what to expect and what I had control over, would have eased my anxiety about surgery and aided in recovery afterward.

Please comment below if you are also facing hip surgery and have questions about my experience. 

Before I share what I learned, here is a quick recap on my hip  replacement. Hip pain and limited mobility led me to learn I had hip dysplasia, which was never previously diagnosed. X-rays revealed the cartilage in my left hip had degenerated to the point that my only option was a total hip replacement. You can read the story of my hip replacement, including a week-by-week recovery in Hip Replacement Recovery.

After searching for the right doctor (more on that below), I opted for an anterior hip replacement, rather than a traditional posterior replacement. My surgeon was Dr. Craig Loucks of Peak Orthopedics in Denver. That was almost seven years ago, and I am happy to say that surgery completely changed my life for the better. 

Susan Heinrich with an e-bike on the Greek island of Poros, a town on a hill in the distance
I believed I was too young to need a hip replacement. I was wrong.

What I Learned and Wish I knew, Before Hip Replacement Surgery

I wasn't too young for a hip replacement

When I first started experiencing pain and limited mobility, I was certain the problem was my back. I had struggled with back pain and stiffness since I was pregnant with my second son. Despite declining mobility, I had never heard of anyone younger than 50 needing hip replacement surgery and I was in my late 40s. So I pursued therapy for my back and as a result, I suffered needlessly for months before finally learning the problem was indeed my hip.  

I wish I had known that hip replacements are increasingly common among younger patients, and I wasn’t too young for the procedure. According to the Cleveland Clinic, hip replacements among patients aged 45-54, increased 200% between 2000 and 2010. Part of the reason is that newer materials used in hip replacements now last longer, so younger patients are having the surgery sooner.  

Four doctors stand together, three are men and one is a woman. Two are wearing white lab coats and two are dressed in blue scrubs

It was ok to be choosy about the surgeon for my hip replacement

Once my hip degeneration was diagnosed, I made an appointment with a local orthopedic surgeon recommended by several friends. He was a leading expert. This would be simple, Ithought — we’d meet and I would schedule my surgery. I was a busy mom with kids who were 16 and 13. Hip pain was interfering with my sleep, and my lack of mobility was problematic for all of us. The sooner I had surgery, the better. 

I was incredibly nervous on the day of the meeting; I was taking the first concrete step toward surgery. Rather than leaving that appointment feeling at ease, I left feeling more anxious than before. The appointment had been somewhat rushed, and although the doctor was pleasant enough, something felt off.  It didn’t occur to me that I had every right to consider other surgeons. People said this surgeon was great; was I being irrational? 

I decided to do additional research about the options available, and that was when I learned about an anterior hip replacement. With its muscle-sparing technique and faster short-term recovery, it seemed like something I should consider. I was surprised the first surgeon hadn’t mentioned it. I checked back on their website and learned that they didn’t do that style of surgery. I wanted to talk to a doctor who did. 

Meeting with Dr. Craig Loucks was an entirely different experience. He took time to explain everything and answer all my questions.  I felt my anxiety lift as he reassured me that I was a perfect candidate and my life would totally change post-surgery. He advised I have my hip replacement ASAP. By the end of the appointment, I had scheduled surgery and felt hopeful for the first time in months.

I wish I had known that I should do my own research and it was reasonable to meet with multiple doctors. I didn’t have to go with the first doctor I met with. It would have saved me some anxiety. 

A woman's blood pressure is taken in a doctor's office. Only her arm is visible, along with a doctor holding her wrist and a stethoscope

Preparing for surgery would feel like a part-time job

My surgeon had an unexpected opening, and his office asked if I wanted surgery in three weeks. Otherwise, I’d have to wait a while. I jumped at the chance. I wish I’d known what those next three weeks would look like. 

A hip replacement is still a major surgery. As such, there are many tests and appointments required before surgery. I needed an electrocardiogram to ensure my heart was strong enough for surgery. I also had to see my regular doctor for bloodwork and a complete physical to ensure  I was healthy and could have surgery. 

Complications began almost immediately. I couldn’t schedule surgery until my insurance company authorized it so that delayed things. I was told insurance companies can take up to two weeks to process the request.  

My doctor’s office never sent bloodwork to the surgeon, which required extra phone calls. And there were endless email exchanges with Dr. Loucks’ surgery scheduler as I provided all the required information and test results to their office — the paperwork seemed endless. 

I had to meet with a physical therapist before surgery, so I would have everything in place to begin PT when the surgeon gave me the ok. PT is a crucial part of recovery. 

I was also preparing for my mom to visit; she’d stay for a week or two after surgery to help with the kids. 

I wish I had known before hip surgery that three weeks would be tight timing for all the pre-op requirements because it made the preparation especially busy and stressful. 

A woman wearing grey tights and a t-shirt lies on a therapy table and a therapist holds one of her legs at the knee and ankle

My recovery would be 2-steps forward and 1-step back

I was home the same day I had surgery which was wonderful. I was grateful it was over.  But there was lots to do and manage; I found the compression girdle and tights I had to wear a bit inconvenient. There were medications to track as well. And that first week felt as though a horse had kicked my upper thigh, where my incision was. I ached and so I did very little.  

By week two, I felt better and was very tired of being in bed. My husband took my mom and I for a drive into the mountains and I managed a short walk on a nature trail; I breathed in the crisp fall air. It felt wonderful. I felt ready to begin more exercise but was not permitted to walk other than a very short jaunt. My surgeon had given me a stern warning against doing too much too soon, even though I felt ready. I wasn’t prepared for how frustrating that would feel. 

Then I hit a plateau in week three, more achy pain. The journey to full recovery would take time, and I had to be patient.  Recovery might not be entirely linear. I wish I had known that those first weeks would come with ups and downs as I dealt with progress and what felt like setbacks. 

A woman with crossed legs holds one hand at her ankle her other hand on her knee as if she is in pain

At times, I would question my hip replacement recovery

As mentioned above, there was some pain with recovery. It was manageable but still discouraging at times. Interestingly, it was a different pain than I had had in my hip joint. My hip pain was entirely gone which was a huge relief. 

Pain is interesting because although you are told to expect it, dealing with pain in recovery is more difficult for some people than others. For me the issue was around week four when I wondered if my residual pain would ever resolve? Was this “normal” versus something that meant I wasn’t progressing in my healing. I called the surgeon and my mind was put at ease. I’d see them two weeks later as planned.

I wish I had talked more with my surgeon about what type of pain to expect and what was normal recovery versus what were red flags suggesting I should give them a call. And I wished I had called them sooner to put my mind at ease. 

physical therapy after hip replacement
physical therapy after hip replacement

Post-surgery physical therapy would require patience

I knew I’d be doing physical therapy and was ready to commit to a challenging routine. But my therapist had me doing very basic exercises to start, three weeks post-surgery. I had lost some balance, for example, and needed to regain it. I was frustrated. I wanted my fitness level back and felt ready to get more active. But I needed to follow his lead on what I should be doing and when. That required patience.  

As with the rest of my hip replacement recovery, knowing something and experiencing it are different. I hadn’t expected my balance to be off and needed to work on basics. Getting back to my previous fitness level would take more time and patience than I anticipated. 

Susan Heinrich hiking on Grand Teton National Park
Hiking at Grand Teton National Park, with my new hip

I could enjoy exercise other than running

My surgeon advised me that once I recovered from surgery, I could do everything I did before, other than running and high-impact exercises. Although I was a casual runner, I liked that it was an efficient way to get a cardio workout and alleviate stress; I ran a few days a week. 

So when Dr. Loucks told me running was prohibited after surgery, I was initially disappointed. It felt like another loss I had to accept.

I wish I’d known that once I got used to other forms of exercise, I wouldn’t miss running at all. I grew to love indoor cycling, and a personal trainer helped me establish a new routine to support my physical therapy and regain the strength I’d lost when I’d been inactive. With a new routine, I gained muscle and surpassed my previous level of fitness. 

Susan Heinrich is on skis at the top of the back bowls in Vail Colorado
Susan skiing at Vail a few years after hip surgery

Life after my hip replacement would be better than I imagined

At my appointment at seven weeks after hip surgery, I was given the go-ahead for more exercise. From there, things rapidly improved. It would take about six months before I got to a point where I wasn’t being cautious of my hip at all and truly felt myself. 

Just over a year later, I went on a bucket list trip to India. I also changed my perspective on prioritizing myself and my health, which enabled me to get into the best shape of my life. I wrote about how my hip replacement inspired me to prioritize my health in: Fit At Fifty. 

Learning that you require a total hip replacement is scary and stressful. More than anything else, I wish I had saved myself a lot of anxiety by believing that everything would go smoothly and my life after surgery would be even sweeter than before. Once you have a hip replacement, you appreciate your health and mobility in a new way. hip 

85 Responses

  1. I so agree..I have experienced the same thoughts even..the plateaus and all. It has only been 2 months..in good shape but older than you..have ups and downs..to be expected!
    Thanks for sharing..feeling encouraged and most of all ..we still can walk and enjoy life. The best to you.

  2. I’m preparing for THR ROBOITICLY…your story helps me with the anxiety I’m beginning to feel. I will be keeping my own dairy of the hip replacement surgery too help with the feeling of anxiety 😅. Thank you sincerely

    1. I had the anterior approach, robotically assisted THR procedure 17 days ago and I’m pain free (in my hip) with only residual soreness in my thigh from the surgery. Now walking 3/4 mi./day with a cane for stability only. I won’t kid you, the first few days were rough, but mostly learning how to navigate moving and how not to move. Do exactly what your surgeon tells you to do, and especially what they tell you not to do. It works. My surgeon told me, ” You are unique, your hip is not”. At the beginning, the pain was very manageable with opioids and I only needed them for 3 days. It wasn’t bad. Anticipating the surgery is far worse than the experience. Once you have it done, you’ll be so focused on recovery, the anxiety will disappear. Be excited. YOU WILL BE FINE!

  3. Both the short term and lifelong restrictions after a hip replacement make me feel indescribably angry. How do I deal with that? Some of the suggestions I see online are economically impossible for me. Some of them might be fine at home, but cannot be put in to practice outside the home. Others seem achievable only in La La Land.

    1. Hi Kristin – The recovery takes some time, but the long-term benefits of a new hip make it worthwhile. Yes the compression socks and girdle and requirement to ice are a lot initially. I am not sure what long-term restrictions you are referring to. I am able to do all I did before with the exception of running, high-impact aerobics and skiing bumps. Sending you my best!

      1. I’m still in the “I’m too young for a hip replacement” stage … at 62! My ortho doctor told me I’m “bone-on-bone.” I’ve had one set of bilateral cortisone injections (both hips) and have my second set scheduled for next week, 5 months after the first injections. My doctor is great, not pushing me either way. He takes the time to answer all my questions, and he only does anterior replacements, which is “the better way” to go. But I’m still trying to figure out when the time is right! I want to continue playing pickleball!

  4. So glad I stumbled on your blog. I’ve been oscillating about the surgery weighing living with hip pain vs loosing flexibility perhaps for the rest of my life. I really need my flexibility to do yoga to fully stretch out and to sit at a potter’s wheel which is definitely more than a 90° bend at the hip since you lean over the pot.
    *Globtrotter, can you bend over a touch the floor? Can you cross your legs to put your shoes on? And, can you sit on a low stool and lean over as if you were throwing a pot on a potter’s wheel? Thanks for your input

    1. Hi Ramsey – Yes, I can do all of the things you asked about. My flexibility is great. Definitely discuss short and long-term expectations with your surgeon. You do have to limit certain movements in the first weeks following the surgery. They will explain all that. Sending you my very best! Susan

    2. I had anterior hip replacement 2 years ago and I am very disappointed in the outcome. I cannot raise my leg to put socks or shoes on. Can’t cross my leg unless I do it manually. My leg is numb from groin to top of knee from center of thigh to my ITBand. I need the other hip done and dreading the thought of it. Been to 4 PT and massage therapy. Going to see a neurologist May 1st.

      1. Oh Palma, I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with these issues post surgery. You must be very frustrated. I hope the neurologist is able to provide some answers and help. Good luck!

  5. Thanks for sharing this, I’m 37 and about to have my hip replaced this week. I’ve been struggling for 13 years (previously had hip surgery but not a replacement), so I’m really excited about the possibility about doing basic things like walking (and maybe even hiking!) but also nervous about the actual surgery and recovery, or if I will end up worse then I am already. Appreciate this share – thank you.

    1. Dear Kristine, I am so sorry to hear of all the struggles you have had at such a young age. I hope your surgery went well! I am sure you were in great hands. I am sending you my very best in your recovery and hope that before long you will be out hiking and doing everything else you want to do! Warmly, Susan

  6. Just stumbled across your blog, preparing for my THJR in 2 days time. It’s a relief to read that you have been able to resume an active life. Similar to you, I’m 47, diagnosed with hip dysplasia after years of attributing pain to other issues (ITB, hip flexors) and playing basketball for 30+years. I know I won’t be able to go back to basketball but good to know you have been able to enjoy other activities, and I’m looking forward to exploring new sports. About to read your recovery journey. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. Hi I’m 49 years old and my journey is more scary since I’m a physician knowing what can go right and wrong at the same time , I have hip dysplasia too for which my surgery won’t be as simple as the conventional one . Being a doctor and and having an excellent orthopedics who is also specialist in complex hip reconstruction, I still feel unwell about surgery and how my life will be after my surgery assuming that no complications arise , one of the most common complication is dislocation which can happen at any time , I think my life will change and I’m not sure how much pain I will be experiencing after surgery and for how long . What will be my level of fitness , will I be walking without an assisted device ? Will I walk normal again ? I have been postponing my decision for years now but my doctor think that is now the time . How was your surgery experience with the hip dysplasia?

      1. Hello. I know that all the uncertainties can feel scary. My recovery was mostly very smooth. I detail it week by week in the story. I did have some pain initially but it was quote manageable. I am sure it is harder knowing more about what can go wrong. Sending my best wishes!

  7. This is definitely what I needed to read today. I’m 45 and just finding out this week that hip replacement maybe my only option after a year of so many other treatments. Your story makes me much more optimistic about the future.

    1. Hi Jennifer, Glad to hear you feel encouraged and optimistic. I know it’s disheartening to get the news that you need a THR. Wishing you all the best! Susan

  8. I have been having steroid injections in my right hip once a year for the last 5 years. Since I turned 65, it has now gotten to the point where I am having them every 3-4 months out of the year just to be able tolerate the pain. I went to see my orthopedic surgeon to discuss having a hip replacement and he explained the surgery to me and said that he performs the posterior type hip replacement. I’m confident in my doctor but I have always had this fear of having the surgery. We have scheduled my surgery for the end of this year. Now that I have read about everything involved with the recovery and how long I will be off my feet and going through PT makes me more anxious…Any advice?

    1. Hi Renee – I really can’t offer advice as I am not an expert and everyone’s recovery is a little different. For me, the recovery required patience but really wasn’t that bad and my improved quality of life has been so worth it! Susan

      1. I had my Anterior THJR 5 weeks ago right before my 49th birthday. I am also diagnosed with hip dysplasia at birth and a few more hip and back problems related to that. I had been getting injections for years that were no longer effective so surgery was my only choice. I must say that I didn’t take it as easy as I should have the first week and was in horrible pain through week two. Starting week two I was doing 4 simple PT exercises twice daily, icing and elevating 4 times a day and staring to feel like I was making progress. Now I see my physical therapist weekly, and am applying myself to the 10 exercises that I do at home twice a day. I saw my surgeon’s assistant at my 2 week post op and no follow up for
        2 month and a half along with not getting a lot of aftercare advice on Don’ts has been frightening. I’m just now reading online that I probably won’t be able to sit indian style ever again. That has always been my least painful way of sitting since I was a kiddo. All in all I will be having my other hip replaced after I’m thoroughly recovered.

        1. Dear Brittany. It’s great to hear you are so committed to your PT! FYI, I am able to sit “Indian style”. Best with your continued recovery!

    2. I had the Anterior THR, and really never missed a beat! The easiest recovery because no muscles were cut.

  9. I’m petrified of hip (I need both done) surgery due to the things I’ve read about how fatal fracture during surgery can be. But I am in so much pain I’ve become sedentary. How do I know if my bones are strong enough to avoid fracture during surgery?

    1. Hi there – I was scared as well and of course there are risks with any surgery. Your surgeon should be able to put any risks in perspective for you. Susan

  10. I am 74 and had a partial hip replacement 6 weeks ago. I fell on my tile floor at 2AM and out came the EMTS. I waited 27 hours for surgery but was drugged the entire time and remember nothing until I was in a hospital room. I signed a consent that I have no memory of signing. My daughter was my proxy and should have signed and been able to ask questions. After the surgery at my 4 week visit all was well. it is now six weeks and I drive and use a cane. It was a left side surgery. My daughter asked about the implant and we were told metal on metal. My daughter, a health professional asks had they not all been recalled in 2004-5. She mentioned . possible future problems and his response was that none of HIS patients had had problems. I asked if my own ortho could come and they said too high up the food chain and did not get called. Tour metal on metal is chrome and cobalt. Over time it can cause myriad symptoms, none of them good. I will probably call the manufacturer. Recommendation I read is to get blood baselines of chromium and cobalt. My go back to my ortho of 25 years to get an opinion about both the implant and bloodwork. also because I am on PPO medicare with a 2ndary I spent 2 weeks in an SNL with daily PT/OT. Except for my concerns about the implant it was a lot easier recovery than new knees, a rotator cuff repair, breast cancer and a few more. get off the narcotics as soon as you can and have a Tylenol regime. I have done that for 6 weeks

  11. I wish someone would talk about the mental aspect. It can be more scary than the physical pain.

  12. I’m not sure when you had your surgery but thank you for this. I’m 48 years old and have a hip replacement scheduled in a month. I have been dealing with hip pain for 2 years. My first doctor told me I needed to wait till I was 55 and I left his appointment so disheartened. I finally decided this summer to get a second opinion and the surgeon told me I was a perfect candidate and not to wait any longer because my quality of life was more important. I cried when he told me that. Thank you for talking about your recovery. I honestly have no idea what to expect with an anterior hip replacement. I’m nervous but excited and so looking forward to not being in pain anymore. Thank you again for sharing.

    1. Hi Bethany. I was 49 when I had my anterior replacement and also sought a second opinion in order to find teh right surgeon, so we have a lot in common. Very best wishes with your surgery. Susan

  13. Hi Susan, I’m due for a THR in 2 days. Like others here I am terrified that I will never be able to manage my life again, and terrified of the pain. Reading your blog has comforted me greatly – thanks so much for sharing.

  14. Hi Jack here in scotland .just been diagnosed with osteoathritice in left hip .consultant said cam impingment with labrel tear.zaid would not push me towards surgery yet.i feel really down as been active all my life and ski 3 trips a season .even standing or 30min walk I in pain.cannot find any pain management.did not think would be able to ski again if get hip replacement.age 62.

    1. Hi Jack, So sorry to hear this; I can relate to the pain and feeling down about giving up beloved activities. Fellow skier here and I was able to ski after surgery, once it had all fully healed. My doctor just advised I avoid bumps or any other impact exercise. Obviously speak to your surgeon about what you can do following surgery, timelines etc. Wishing you the best!

  15. If metal on metal is recalled, what are surgeons using and what is the best materials used

  16. I needed to read this today! I am 41 and just had my THR clearance appt with my PHP:( I was a runner and often felt I had to move my hips around and into place before walking even in my 20’s, but I would take that back in a heart beat. The out of nowhere pain came at 37 about a year after my third babe (I think hip kiddo carrying didn’t do me any favors;) My doctor did an injection as a “test”, but it didn’t provide any pain relief, so I failed to believe his diagnosis and started trying to heal myself with every alternative therapy known to man! 4 years later I am still in pain with less mobility, although the pain has changed considerably…I gained a limp!? My biggest anxiety is that I go through with the life/body changing surgery and it doesn’t fix the root cause of my problem (possibly pelvic instability)…I would be DEVASTATED to continue on this way, but only now with a fake/limiting hip! Do you mind if I ask how long you had your pain before the surgery? What did you try before surgery? Did the pain change? How were the muscles around the hip? How was the other side? Did you develop crazy imbalances as I have?;) Either way, your positive experience was definitely what I needed today! THANK YOU

    1. Hi Crystal. So sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with this. I had pain for months before surgery. I can’t now remember exactly how long but it had progressively gotten worse until constant pain and could barely walk. For me, there was no doubt that my hip was the problem because an x-ray showed the cartilage in my left hip joint was entirely gone; I had bone on bone arthritis. At that time, I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia on both sides which was the cause. I was born with it but never diagnosed. For some reason, my right side did not have the same arthritis as the left. To this day, 7 years later, it has not been a problem even though it also has hip dysplasia. I hope that answers some questions. Good luck getting to the root of the problem. For me a second opinion was very valuable. Best wishes to you, Crystal! Susan

    2. Crystal, I am in the same boat as you. I have had hip pain since I had 4 falls in the spring but it doesn’t hurt where it should. I don’t have constant pain and I also had the hip corisone injections and they did nothing. I have been doing therapeutic massage and my muscles are super tight. It has helped but not totally done away with the pain. I also did PT and went to a chiropractor. I’ve had several xrays and all say I have severe arthritis. But I was also told by MD and PTs that just the xrays or MRI’s don’t tell the whole story and may look bad but if you don’t have pain, you don’t need a hip replacement. So I feel the same way worrying it won’t fix my problems. I can’t find a doctor who can tell me the pain is from my hips which is what I really want. If I do end up having surgery, I’m going with the SuperPath method. Have you seen a sports medicine doc?? They are more familar with soft tissue and pelvic issues.

  17. Thanks for helpful comments as I am preparing for a hip and knee replacement. The pain is becoming the kind as “described as, ….barely able to walk. All very encouraging.

  18. I’ve been trying to decide between getting the surgery or trying injections. I am scared of both. Do you know anything about the injections.

    1. I did have an injection before my surgery. It was before a trip to Europe with my family and it was very helpful in giving me mobility. It helped for a few months, I’d say. It doesn’t seem to be a permanent solution. Susan

  19. Hi Susan. I have scheduled THR with the same great Dr 7 times since Jan 2020. It has been cancelled 6 times & #7 will be cancelled tomorrow. 2 were because of Covid & the rest for various reasons. With Gods intervention on 2 occasions, (referral & conversation) I got a 2nd opinion today. I feel so much more comfortable about the surgery now. Something just wasn’t right. The first Dr is a #1 Dr here but I needed a different comfort level. Since I made the decision 2 weeks ago to do a 2nd opinion, I have had a peace in my soul. Yes, I am still anxious at times, I even whimpered at the appt today. I made the surgical date for 10/31/23. A lot to do & I will do it. #8 will be GREAT. Thank you for sharing & listening.

    1. Thanks for much for sharing this. Great to hear you found someone who made you comfortable. I hope your surgery and recovery go well and you are on your way to better mobility.

  20. I am a 69 year old male with bone on bone arthritis in my right hip. I have seen 4 surgeons in good hospitals and am told I am a good candidate for thr. I have had pain in the last 12 to 15months in my hip and now both knees are hurting me (structurally I have been assured that both knees are fine). However I am anxious about the surgery and pain after the surgery. My goals are walking pain free and being able to play golf again without having pain. Thanks for your blogs.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I can’t wait to read your Life after hip replacement entry. I’m 45 and have been struggling with hip pain and walking “ugly” for a few years or even longer. I can’t remember I just dealt with it. I was a fitness instructor and just pushed through until the pandemic. After PT, injections and struggling during my travels I’ve decided to get the THR and my doctor is using direct anterior approach. I keep reading my booklet he gave me over and over and I’m so nervous but looking forward to improvement in my quality of life.
    Thanks again for sharing and I look forward to reading more. I can’t wait to walk pain free in Africa next year !!!

  22. Hi and thanks so much for writing about this topic. I’m 67 yr old female outdoor enthusiast and getting an anterior hip replacement in 3 weeks. How do you know when you’re ready ? When you go from hip pain, to limping, to needing support to walk up hill or stairs. Or as my Dr said to me you’re ready when you come back to me and tell me you’re ready – he was so right! Took me 6 months to decide as I watched my mobility degrade. Mental angst – I get it. Never had surgery until 2 years ago when I fell and broke a wrist – so if your mental image is I’m a healthy, able person you need to keep thinking that IMHO and let the Dr. help revitalize you and keep that mental image of yourself a reality. Hope that helps. I’ll check in after the big day.

    1. Hi Mary. I think you are right. Each os us will know when it’s the right time…for me the diminished mobility made it a clear decision. Very best wishes to you with the surgery. Please do let us know how you’re doing. Susan

  23. Hi there. Three weeks ago, I had total hip replacement surgery, posterior. I have good days and I have bad days still. I can’t sleep at night because of pain and also I’m not a back sleeper – but right now that is how I’m supposed to sleep. Before surgery, I hurt for several years only to find out I was totally bone on bone. I am starting to question whether I should have gotten this surgery or not.

    1. Hi Debbie, I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling with pain and sleeping. I also had good days and bad days and dealt with pain. I contacted my surgeon’s office when I had concerns that things might not be healing properly and that was helpful. You might want to do the same? Best wishes with your recovery! I hope things improve soon. Susan

  24. I am about to have a replacement – I’m 54 and was a yoga teacher for years with a (stupid) insane practice that caused injury after injury and wear and tear. I’m now at zero medial rotation and 10% lateral rotation (insane when I could once stand up with my leg behind my head – please don’t try this, I’m quite certain this did for my hip). I’ve also got very little cartilage left and a constant catching in my groin … but aside from that, I don’t have a lot of pain and am still pretty active although massively compensating elsewhere in my body due to my very limited hip movement. I’m having a massive wobble about the whole thing, feeling really anxious and have spent the entire weekend talking myself out of the surgery. I spoke to a friend last night and a few other people I know who have gone through the replacement and they all said they feel great and don’t regret it and that it’s totally normal to feel anxious and doubtful. Any advice would be gratefully received!

    1. Hi Sarah, Sorry for my delayed reply; I have been traveling. I appreciate you sharing your story and can so relate to the “massive wobble” as you called it. Like your friends, I don’t regret my surgery at all. And I agree that compensating with other parts of our body can cause other problems. I also felt very anxious ahead of surgery. Perhaps another conversation with someone at the surgeon’s office would help to put your mind at ease. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best.

    2. Hi Sarah!

      Did (do) you practice ashtanga? I realize your post might have been from a while ago, so I’m curious to see if you went through with the surgery (and if so, how are you doing)?

  25. Hi! I’m so glad to have stumbled on your blog. I have an appt with an Orthopedic surgeon in 6 weeks to discuss Direct Anterior Approach hip replacement. I am 59, am avid hiker and long stride walker. MRA of hip confirmed hip dysplasia, Osteoarthritis and zero cartilage in the joint. The worry that comes with the recovery and limits surrounding it has me stressed out, but the pain has taken away what I love to do. I appreciate your candor when describing your recovery. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Could you talk about the process of choosing a doctor for the surgery? Did you stay local or look for the “best” doctor in the state (eg US News & World Reports rankings)? What would be the disadvantages of being 2 hrs away from your doctor’s office? I’ve asked around, but can’t find anyone in my area whose had surgery near me.

    1. Hi Janet. I started by asking for recommendations from friends for orthopedic surgeons. I didn’t like the first surgeon I met with so sought out another opinion. I believe I found my surgeon via a google search for doctors who performed the anterior method. Once I met with my doctor I knew he was right for me. I can’t really answer your questions about distance from the office. Mine was about a 40 minute drive; my husband came with me and was the driver. It was day surgery. There were multiple appointments required so you would have to do that drive each time. The doctor’s offie should be able to help answer that.

  27. I had a similar situation with needing the surgery but I’m putting it off because I have a five year old at home and no bathroom on the same floor as me. Any thoughts on how long these things would be a major issue post surgery typically?

    1. Hi. It’s hard to say for sure regarding your five year old. I needed help from my mom for about a week and my kids were teenagers. I could drive fairly soon but there’s a lot of icing etc that needs to happen. The bathroom was less of an issue. We have a small set of stairs and I was manging those fairly early on. Hope that helps.

  28. Do you miss running? I’m looking at a hip replacement and I can’t imagine not being able to run anymore. Is it just for a while after surgery or is it never again?

    1. I was advised to give up running entirely — both for the sake of my new joint and the hip dysplasia in my other hip. I now spin on a bike instead and love it. I don’t miss running, but was never a huge runner.

  29. Hello, Susan.
    I am 53 and having a total hip replacement scheduled for June 14, 2024. I still have about three more months to wait until surgery. I can barely walk and wondering if you have advice on pain management until surgery. I take Advil and Aleve right now. I also wondered about losing weight. I have put on 10-15 pounds due to not being able to exercise the way I use to. I think if I lose the weight it could help ease the pain. Any advice?

    1. Hi Raylenne, I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with pain while you wait for surgery. I have no idea if weight loss would help. I think that would be a question for you doctor. I did have a steroid shot in my hip joint which gave me relief for a few months, before I went ahead with surgery. You might inquire if that’s an option for you. Sending you my best wishes! Susan

  30. I really needed this. My THR is May 21st. My pain is almost unbearable but so is my anxiety. I’m more afraid of messing up during recovery. I’ll keep reading your blog for encouragement. Thanks for creating this. Oh! I’m almost 63 and ready for a pain-free life.

    1. Hi Jill. I am sure you will do a great job with following the recovery instructions. Try not to worry too much. It’s normal to feel anxious; I felt the same. I wish you well with surgery and recovery. The best is ahead! Susan

  31. I just stumbled on your blog and am grateful to hear about your experiences. I’m 41 and preparing for an August hip replacement (it’s early May right now, but have to wait 6 months after my cortisone injection for surgery). I started out petrified and “I’m too young for this” when I finally went to figure out why I’ve had off and on hip pain for years. I didn’t even expect them to find a problem, let alone one that would require a full on hip replacement!

    I’m adjusting now to the fact that I need it, and I’ll be ok. Ironically, BOTH of the surgeons I did consults with said I absolutely can run again post hip replacement and they have patients running marathons afterwards. It’s all about the lifespan of the joint replacement and they’ve gotten so good that despite my age they feel I shouldn’t worry about high impact activity causing an issue down the line. One surgeon does anterior replacements and the other the traditional posterior route. I surprised myself and felt better about the posterior approach after meeting with that surgeon, as that doc had some really good reasons he’s not a fan of the anterior approach – so it’ll be interesting to see how that recovery goes.

    Regardless, your post is helpful and I’m going to go read about your recovery you linked to, as well. It can be reassuring to hear what to expect with surgery, recovery, and life beyond!

    1. Hi Jesi, Yes, I guess some things have changed since I had mine. I am so glad to hear you can continue running if it’s something you love. Part of the reason I was told not to run is because I have hip dysplasia on the other side and they it could hasten the need for a THR on the other side. I am so glad to hear that you found a surgeon that you like. Wishing you the best in surgery, and life beyond. Susan

  32. I had my first hip replacement in 2015. I did not experience any pain after the surgery. I came home, followed doctors orders and within 7 days I could walk without the walker but was still very careful and then used a cane for a week like a safety blanket. The 3rd week of physical therapy I got a pulled muscle doing one of the exercises. That is what was the most painful of my hip replacement surgery experience. I stopped going to that and informed my surgeon who saw I was getting along fine and did exercises at home without adding weight after the muscle healed. I am getting ready to have the other side done and will be very careful doing the therapy. I think I know my limits after the first experience better than that may. I just wish I had not waited so long before having the first one.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I am glad to hear it all worked out despite the bump with a pulled muscle. Yes, you’ll have a better idea what to expect this time around. Wishing you a smooth surgery and recovery.

  33. I went to doctor today for what I thought was bursitis. Instead hip replacement was mentioned. Feeling very overwhelmed right now. I’ve read many of the above comments and didn’t see any that mentioned increased risk of infection once you have replacement. Antibiotics before any dental work ? Is this for lifetime? Anything else like this?

    1. Hi Pam. I can imagine you are feeling overwhelmed. Since mine was in 2016 the guidance and recommendations may have changed since then with regards to preventing infection so I can’t help with specifics. I wish you all the best! Susan

  34. Hi, just had the surgery yesterday. I’m 58, moderate to severe arthritis in lt. hip, bone-on-bone in right. Had the right one done anterior. It is ceramic and titanium.
    What is yours? My brother has his done in his 40s, but they kept dislocating. Had to have 5 different surgeries total (originals were recalled). Final ones done in 2007 and he’s doing great. Did you watch the Bleeding Edge on Netflix btw?We all need to educate ourselves. I asked my surgeon and he said he has seen it. It does give you pause where metal is concerned.

    1. Hi Judy. Yes, mine is also ceramic and titanium. Sorry to hear about your brother but glad he it all turned out well for him. I agree re: educating ourselves. No, I haven’t watched the Bleeding Edge; I will have a look for it. Thanks for sharing that. Susan

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About - Midlife Globetrotter

Hey there,

I’m glad you’re here. Can we talk about midlife? I reached my late 40’s, realized my kids were growing up, and adventure began calling in a new way: big travel adventures as well as everyday ones. I want Midlife Globetrotter to be a place where we explore how to add a sense of fun, freedom and meaning to these precious years. Let’s celebrate how far we’ve come, and all that’s ahead.

Susan

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