I've had BHRs on both hips - left 2004, right 2008. In the last weeks before both ops I was hobbling a quarter of a mile for my morning paper, having to take breathers as pain washed over me. I was on anti-inflammatories to help me sleep.

Since both ops I've had discomfort at times, largely when I've over-done things (like a fast 20 miles on an exercise bike), but nothing approaching what I was experiencing before the ops. 6 months after the second op I was striding round a hilly six mile walk. What a feeling! (aided by a varied selection of music on my mp3).

I've had both BHR in both hips. I live in the UK. I had the left one done privately in 2004 when I was 50. I had to have it done privately as my local National Health Service (NHS) hospital did not do BHR. I've absolutely no regrets spending the money. I had the right one done in March 2008, on the NHS - same surgeon when I was 54!

November 17, 2008 I've just had my 8 month review. Both hips are fine and my surgeon gave me the OK to start running again. I intend to do about 3 days a week with a total weekly mileage of 10-15 miles. I'd like to be able (eventually ) to negotiate a 10km race.

December 22, 2008 I've just been out for an easy 15 minute stroll after my evening meal - part of my exercise routine. While I was out I was musing about the benefits of having BHRs on both my hips. I thought I'd share a few ideas with you all.

I had the first one done in 2004. From experience, I probably left that one a bit late as I had trouble sleeping through the pain before I had the op. I had the second one done this March (2008) so I've just gone through the nine month post op stage.

So, what about the benefits for me?

* Being pain-free is great. No more waking up in the middle of the night as the pain-killers had worn off. Even before my second BHR I couldn't walk far. Even a round trip half a mile for my morning paper could be tough on some days. Just typing this makes me sigh with satisfaction. Mind you, I still can get pain in my legs but it is nothing to do with aching hips - just occasionally over-doing it.

* The simple joy of walking. If I had to pick only one activity for the rest of my life I'd be quite happy to settle for walking. I live within half a mile of coastal paths and country lanes. It is superb to get out there and explore again. Sometimes I switch the mp3 to play through all my music, other times I just go with my thoughts. Wonderful !

* The possibility of running/jogging again. I've done a few miles "running" now. At the moment - after a seven year break - it feels clumsy and hard work but I'll perserve for a while. If I think it is possibly doing any damage I'll stop without regret - walking and pain-free are much higher on my wish list. January 13, 2009 Just got back from a 40 minute walk in my boots along a hilly coast path. A very pleasant 6 degrees C. I must admit to thinking “if that’s as good as it gets it would have all been worth it”.

Back to the running…..

1 Jan. Started the year with a 1.44 mile run in bitter cold. 10 mins 56s 4 Jan. Mile treadmill 7m19s 6 Jan 3000m treadmill 15m41s. Left calf tight about 5 inches from floor. Overdid the speed? Ice, arnica gel and 1 x ibuprofen calmed it down. 9 Jan treadmill 4 miles continuous 35m31s. Furthest yet. 12 Jan. Outside. Ran 1.9 miles out in an easy 17m17s. Stopped and stretched. Ran 1.78 miles back in 14m12s. Hard work as was distance and “speed”.

I’m happy now that I’ve built up to 4 miles in one go. I’m going to try to add a few easy miles around the main runs before going any further.

As for the hips. The 2008 one is going well. The 2004 one gets a bit stiff after about 3 miles, but when I started it felt stiff after about a mile so it seems to be improving. I suppose it has had more time to stiffen up since the operation in 2004.

February 1, 2009 A brief summary

January Wed 21 treadmill 5 miles 42.21.6. I was a bit weary at the end of that !

Fri 23 I hadn’t done anything fast for a while so I warmed up and had a go at a measured road mile. I had targeted the mile in 7.15 but as I was going through my check points I realized I was ahead of them and pushed on. I crossed the line in 6.59.0. Very pleased.

Sun 25 easy 2000m on the treadmill

Week’s miles run 12.96 miles

Mon 26 Went over to a measured 3km course I ran some years ago. I hoped to run it in under 14 mins 30 secs. Again, I had my target splits and got ahead of them. With a final push I finished in 13.51.5 – and then jogged over a mile recovery. Slept well !

Wed 28 Did my longest run on the roads – 4.18 miles. 34.26. Hard work but nice being out there.

Fri 30 Easy 4000m on the treadmill (after 2500m row and 10 miles exercise bike)

February Sun 1 Went to the gym. Plan was to warm up for 1km on the tread and then go straight into a run at 12kph and see how easy everything felt. I did that and increased the speed by 0.1 each km and by 0.2 on the 5th km to cover 5000m in 24.35.0 – a post-op pb (PR in USA speak) by 46s. I then went straight into a 1km warm down for a total run of 7000m. It was more than I planned but it felt good, probably as 5km is now less than my longest run and slower than my fastest run.

Week’s miles run 14.76 miles – a bit more than I originally planned but inside my weekly maximum target of 15 miles in a week. I’ll ease off the mileage next week. (honest !)

A few general points which you might find useful:

• Does it hurt? My left hip (BHR 2004) gets a bit stiff sometimes but doesn’t hurt as such. As you might expect my hip muscles have been a bit tight this week as they’ve been doing a type of exercise they haven’t done for years and they’ve both had BHR surgery. An evening ibuprofen most nights seems to sort them out. A good soak in a hot bath on Saturady eased everything.

• When I started running in November it didn’t feel natural – I felt very heavy and unco-ordinated. It all feels a lot better now. It is an advantage of running on a treadmill (or track) you can concentrate on how you are running without thinking too much about where you are running – though obviously you don’t want to shoot out the back of a treadmill !

• Before my second BHR I used to think about enjoying a single ten minute mile jog. Obviously I’ve gone way past that but I’m keeping a close eye on not getting too competitive with myself. I’m going to work out some time targets for myself over the next few weeks and I’m going to stick with my original plan of running no further than 10km in one go. I’ll post the targets at a later date.

A final point. Its been a very cold winter over here. Temperature at the moment is around 40 degrees but there’s a bitterly cold wind. Once a week I coach a track session. Typically I’ve been wearing a long-sleeved thermal top, t-shirt, sweatshirt, down-filled jacket, goretex raincoat, woolly hat and gloves. It gets quite cosy in there! The athletes all have various layers on but keep warm with their running efforts.

March 15, 2009 Now for the runs over the last two weeks:

Wed 4 Mar Treadmill. Easy 2m in 16m22s. Total 2.5m in 21m02s. No pain or stiffness in hips.

Fri 6 Mar. Road. Mile warm up. Mile quick 7m10s. 1.4 mile warm down.

Sun 8 Mar . Treadmill 3000m 15m27s. 500m wd. Left leg a bit stiff but OK in evening. .

Week’s mileage 8.11 miles

Wed 11 Mar Road. Half mile warm up straight into just over 2.5m in 21m7s and straight into 0.8 mile warm down. Total distance 3.86m. No leg or hip problems. Did some leg weights in gym afterwards. Legs fine in the evening

Fri 13 Mar Went down to run a mile around the sea front.as a bit of “speed” work. Did a mile warm up. Had a target of 7.10 in mind before the run (pb 6.59). Had my bit of paper with pb splits on as a guide. After the first couple of splits I realised I was a couple of seconds ahead of my pb so decided to go for it. Wheezed up the last straight to finish in 6.46.7 – 12.3s inside my old pb. Quelle surprise! The value of easy weeks and recovery?

Sun 15 Mar Rowed 10 mins (2566m) then 2 mile comfortable on treadmill in 15.51 plus warm up and down. Felt I could have run quicker and longer but kept to my plan of no faster than 12.5 kph and total distance 2.5 mile. No pain or stiffness

Week’s mileage 9.36 miles

Good news: No ibuprofen or ice since Monday 2 March. Also down to one stretching exercise session a day – either plain stretches or yoga. Each about 10 minutes. Still doing lots of walking, exercise bike, first road bike ride this year, and concept 2 rowing.

May 25, 2009 Today my left BHR is five years old. It is one of those landmarks that I think is worth celebrating, like 6 weeks (driving again), 6 months (the occasional jog) and a year.

I thought you might be interested in how it went.

I’d been a keen runner since the early 80s but back in 1999 and 2000 I’d been getting increasing pain in my left hip. It got to the stage where I could only do 3 or 4 mile runs, a few times a week. I kept a training diary and the final entry on 14 April 2000 says “no more running – doctor’s orders”. The final run on 12th April was a mile in 5.23.0 – not too bad at age 46 with a dodgy hip.

I moved into the gym onto cross trainers and the concept two rower, and outside on my mountain bike round hilly local lanes. Gradually the hip got worse and the pain increased. People started noticing my severe limp.

I started researching hip replacements. I wanted to remain as active as I could and found information about BHRs. Using the National Health Service here in England I got access to consultant surgeons but they could only offer THRs in my area of the country. I tried various letters to see if I could get access to BHRs in another part of the country, with no success.

In 2003/2004 I started looking at paying for it myself as I was in the very lucky position of having a nest egg of savings I could use. I paid for a private consultation and found a surgeon within a few miles of my home. I also considered options in Belgium and India but decided that I preferred the local option and the operation was scheduled for 25 May 2004.

The operation went well and I got on with my recovery. I gradually built up my brisk walking to about 6 miles. I got back on the exercise bike and the rower. At six months I did the occasional run, some outdoors, some on the treadmill. I built up to doing a 3000 metre track race in just under 15 minutes.

The surgeon had looked at my right hip and he thought it would probably need a BHR in 2006. With that in mind, I decided to stop running in an attempt to preserve the right hip.

As time went by I had to cut back on the walking as the right hip got more painful and I started limping on that side. Going back to the surgeon in 2008 he felt that the time was right to put a BHR in that one. Fortunately they were now available on the NHS and I wouldn’t have to pay for it.

On 19 March 2008 I got a BHR on my right side from the same surgeon. That one is now into its second year.

Am I happy with them? Absolutely. I get minor tweaks and aches but they are from exercising not from arthritic bones. The masters athletes I coach in track and field get aches and pains from their training – it goes with the territory.

Do I regret paying for my first hip? Absolutely not. Whatever happens, it was money well spent.

December 1, 2009 Over the last few weeks I’ve been running 2 or 3 times a week. Nothing planned, just deciding on the day what I’m going to do. Sometimes adding or subtracting distance while I’m actually doing it, depending on how I feel.

The atrocious wet and windy weather we’ve been having in Britain hasn’t helped with running outdoors so I’ve been doing a bit more on the treadmill. I do notice the difference after runs on the treadmill – everything is much looser. I think it is the regular pace, regular gradient (set at 1.0) and no twists or turns. Still like to run outdoors when I get the chance.

Weekly mileage has only been in the zone of between 6.5 and 11.5 miles a week. That will do for me. It is keeping me in touch with running without getting too caught up in it. My running fitness is still OK as two treadmill runs last week suggest:

Friday 27 Nov 2 miles 14.55

Sunday 29 Nov 5 miles 40.45 including easy start and finish.

If you’d told me I’d be running those sorts of times when I started running after my two BHRs I’d have been very happy about them. I am happy about them and about how relaxed my legs and hips are.

I’m hoping the weather stays kind (but cold !) toady so that I can put my boots on and go for a stroll along the coastpath.

March 9, 2010 I'm still running. Usually two or three days a week, averaging about 9 or 10 miles each week, though a few lower mileage weeks when I tweak muscles, one way or another. Speed varies from slow jogs around 9 minute miling, to faster runs under 8 minute miling.

This week just ended was a heavier week for me. I ran on four days, with a total of just under 14 miles in the week. Today i warmed up then ran 5000m on the treadmill in 24.23 (that's 3.1 miles at 7.50 @ mile pace).

I'm happy doing the level I'm doing. Some days it is hard work, but ask any runner and that will be true for them. Other days it feels great to be running along with no pain and just enjoyment.

For info, I'll be 57 later this year so any running is a bonus for an elderly bod like me. . My left hip will be 6 years old on the 25th of this month:the right hip was 2 in March.

December 31, 2010 Its been a long time since I put an update on here. Since my last update my running has not gone well. I’ll select some dates to highlight what’s been happening:

May I ran 6 miles continuous at 8m30s pace. That was the longest distance I’d done and the limit of what I wanted to do. I had no pain during or after the run.

I started to get some aches in my left leg during runs – not on every run.

13 June I ran 4 miles at 8m10s pace, again with no pain during or after the run.

Aches continued to get a bit worse on some runs.

12 July I tripped over a low step which I didn’t see. I landed on my left hip. First thought was to hope that I hadn’t damaged the hip. I think I strained soft tissue around the hip.

I reduced the distance of my runs to a maximum of 2.5 miles to see if the aches stopped and then in August down to 1.5 miles. I did no runs at all for 7 days and then tried again. Not every run ached.

1 October I saw a local physio who diagnosed that my gluteal muscles were not firing. She gave me a series of exercises designed to get them working. After a few days I did some very small jogs on a treadmill. No ache/pain at all. Continued the exercises.

20 October Ran 2km (1.3 miles). Fine during the run but very aching afterwards. Decided to take a 4 week total break from running while continuing the exercises

19 November 0.5 mile easy jog. No ache

30 November 1.4 miles easy jog. No aches

3 December 1km easy jog. No ache during but left hip aching for weeks afterwards. No runs since then. Ache was worse when going up stairs (putting all weight onto left hip when it was on the higher stair) Ache is a dull pain not a sharp pain.

Four things I’d like to mention: 1. I can cycle, use a cross trainer and a concept 2 rowing machine at quite high intensity with no aches or pains. I also walk briskly a few times a week. 2. I’m 57 years old. Some of my aches and pains are obviously age-related but I’m sure there is something wrong with my left leg when running. 3. I intend to try to get a full diagnosis of what is wrong in 2011 and then get treatment if it is treatable. If I definitely can’t run pain-free again then I can accept that. I have no intention of running with pain. 4. I have no regrets at trying to get back into running. I’ve enjoyed the running I’ve done post-BHR. I’d suggest that anyone thinking of running post HR needs to give it some thought and make their own mind up.

I’d be interested in any suggestions on what might be wrong with my left leg. It might just be that I strained something and didn’t give it time to recover. (I’m working on that idea at the moment by not even trying to do small jogs)

On a more positive note….

Today (31 December) I did a brisk 4.9 miles walk in just under 90 minutes. It was along country lanes and across fields, with lots of hills. It was cold and breezy. I had my MP3 music player on shuffle. I really enjoyed the walk. Four hours after I finished, I’m sitting here with no aches or pains (and not having used any anti-inflammatories or painkillers)

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