7 Year Update
I am the ex jockey and cutter/reined cowhorse rider that has a right hip resurfaced with Dr Sparling in Vancouver, WA (Wright C+) 7 years ago at age 45 (petite female). I am still doing great, no complications and can pretty much do whatever I want pain free. I don’t even think about my hip anymore.
Just wanted to update. I feel very fortunate and grateful to our modern medicine and your help to educate and inform.
Luann’s Original Story
June 28, 2010
I was very distraught when, after having my hip resurfacing (45 yr female, right hip, C+, Dr Sparling WA) 3 weeks ago, I found that my resurfaced leg was about 3/4 of an inch longer! The Dr said I will learn to compensate and I must practice straightening my operated leg out when walking. I am still on crutches so this is not so hard. However, once I can walk without them (still 3 weeks away) I feel I will limp badly and feel very off balance with the discrepancy. You have all taught me a lot and given me hope and the means to try and correct it.
June 30, 2010
I have seen the Dr. only since surgery, at day 7 post op. I had noticed the length difference (longer on the resurf leg) since about day 3 post op. The PT’s at the hospital just kept telling me that I needed to stretch it, and it would eventually get better. I was released from the hospital on day 4 with no PT help once at home, just a list of exercises I needed to do on my own.
Once home, I was frustrated with the fact that if I stood straight up (with the help of my crutches) I could not completely straighten my operated leg without standing on my toes on the other. I finally put a small insert/lift into my non-op leg so I could pratice my walking exercises without the “standing on my toes” problem.
The very next day I had that 7th day post op appt with the surgeon, Dr Sparling of WA. He has done abut 400 + resurf’s and is reported to be one of the best in the OR/WA area. He, however, is not the most “chatty” Dr. out there, and I often have touble getting him to comment much on my conerns (at least to my satisfaction). I mentioned my leg length discovery, and he more or less souned like it was not going to be a problem, and that perhaps I was imagining it (due to some of the reasons you have all already mentioned). He absolutely did not want me to have the lift in my shoe, and made me take it out. He said I should practice standing up straight and “tilt” my pelvis to the right (right is my “longer” resurfaced side) and teach my body to compenste. I then showed him again how much I had to stand on my toes to straighten my operated leg and he then said “well, maybe it is longer, we will just have to wait and see and then decide later if you need a lift”.
He never looked at the radiographs to check leg length. He didn’t measure anything! Now, I do realize that I still have a lot of healing and PT to do (today I’m at exactly 4 weeks) but I try to do what the Dr said with tipping and straightening my pelvis to the right and it is so far near impossible. I have 2 more weeks on cruthes. I feel the real test will be when I get to walk without them. If I still have problems after I’ve had a week or two off of them, I am going to request from the Dr. more professionally delivered PT. I think if he Rx’d it then it will be paid for by my insurance.
By the way, I had what I believe to be, a unique hip situation. Rather than the oseoarthritis “bone on bone” cariliage damage that many people have when having a hip prothesis, my cartilage was almost completely intact. My pain and imobility were due to profuse oseophytes or “bone spurs” that surrouned my joint and caught the liguments and tendons as the moved around it. It caused me moderate chronic pain, limp (leaning forward with my foot and leg turned outward) etc. Perhaps this had something to due with the outcome. Maybe there wasn’t as much to “resurface away”?? Hard to ask the Dr., he gets impatient with me.
Anyway, to sum it up, after reading this discussion group, sounds like most hippes learn to walk in spite of it all. My Dr. sure didn’t seem too worried.
July 15, 2010
I am now officially 6 weeks post surgery, and just had my second post-op Dr’s appt. Because I am a small framed ( and therefore have small and not-so-dense bone) female 45 yrs, my Dr. considers me higher risk for HR failure, so I feel, after reading many posts on this discussion group, that he is taking a very conservative approach with my recovery activity level. I am so far very excited because I feel great overall and have very little discomfort. I can already (with permission) bend my leg (as long as I do not put my knee towards my stomach) more than 90 degrees, put on my sock, dress without aid, etc. On the “bummer” side, these 1st 6 weeks I only had permission to put 50% max weight on my leg and walk with a walker (only used the first 3 days) then crutches. I just got released at the last appt. to use a cane, and to put just as much weight on my leg as tolerated for the next 6 weeks. I still cannot lift anything over 20 lbs. So needless to say, my cutter and reiner, for the past 6 weeks, have been cared for by my husband and probably think they died and went to horse heaven!! My Dr. does still assure me, however, that if everything goes as planned, I should be riding in approx. 3 months post-op… which will put me into early Sept.
As you certainly know by being a fellow equestrain, injuries often go with the activity. I have had to “rehab” several times in my life with various broken bones, etc. I expect that the first few weeks in the saddle will just be easy stuff. I have no idea, really, but in my head, I plan to try to start cutting by early winter. I guess I will just have to wait and see if my plan is quite brilliant or simply wishful thinking
I am comforted by the fact, that even though my Dr. most likely has no idea what cutting on horseback involves, after describing it to him (and I tried to make it sound even more intense than it really was) he said I should be able to it fine. As far as the reiner goes, he is a huge and smooth stopper, so I hope that won’t bother me much. The spin… I’ll just have to wait and see. I do know a gal that has had bilat THR and she shows a reiner just fine, so I think the cutter may be the challenge. I promise I will keep all the equestrains posted on my progress. Please, anyone who rides, let us all know your trials and triumphs. I hang on your every word (thanks again, Nancy). Feel free to email me at home, also. Hope your surgery goes well. Try not to stress too much. I remember being so scared and nervous and it was actually very easy considering all.
August 10, 2010
I am at 10 weeks now and this is really my only “hurdle”, at least at this point in my healing. I can walk, without a limp or pain, for pretty long distances, do small chores, sit very comfortably, but those first few steps getting up… UGLY!! My leg is painful, really weak, and feels like it would just about collapse if I put all my weight on it. I, too, take about 10 or so very limpy steps before it warms up. The last 3 days I have noticed it being a little better; more like 5 steps.
September 17, 2010
I used to be a jockey, and I’m understanding that you are exercise riding somewhere… I’m guessing Canada (you did say your horses were on “holiday”. I spent 3 different seasons riding races at Assinibioa Downs in Winnipeg. I now live in my home state of Oregon.
I have been riding again now for three weeks. I have very little discomfort. I have literally been in the saddle almost all day with no problems. Sometimes I take my foot out of the stirrup and straighten my leg, and I feel the muscles getting tired and stretched out again. But with all you are going through, I feel almost guilty to say (at least, so far) I feel that I am almost riding at 1OO% of my ability. I say almost, because I have still not tried to cut. I do plan to try again (just on a flag, not real cattle yet) at the end of the month.
I am just thrilled that, these last few days, I have been able to participate in a clinic that I sponsor every year (Pat Wyse) and I am riding well. I have been able to do sliding stops, rollbacks, spins, lead changes, etc. and all at speed. No problem with the HR. In fact, I feel like a new person. I do hear of people with HR doing well at first, and then having problems. I will just keep hoping for the best and be positive. Even if I have to go through a revision sooner than I want to, I will always be glad I tried the HR first. I would always haved wondered had I not.
October 5, 2010
I have been working a cutting flag with my cutting horse for about 1 & 1/2 weeks now with no ill effects. This is when a trained horse (cutting is a sport in which a horse moves a cow out of herd and then plays “keep away”) follows a mechanical device that mimics the movements a cow would make in a real cutting class/show. It involves pretty extreme back and forth jarring motions. For now, since I can remotely control the flag’s speed, I am keeping it moderate to slow. I’m very excited, though, and hoping that, after speeding it up, and not having it hurt my hip, I can start cutting again on cattle. I’m planning to try in Nov. (which will then be about 5 and 1/2 months post op).
May 13, 2011
I am just a little over 2 weeks shy of my one year anniversary, and I am happy to say, I feel just awesome about 95% of the time.
I had a Conserve + right hip done, due to osteo arth. and bone spurs, by Dr. Edward Sparling In Vacouver, WA on June 2, 2010. I am a 5’3″ female 117lbs, 46 years old at time of resurfacing. My first two months after sx were typical with no complications. In my third month I experienced great improvement, and was walking without a limp and riding/training my horses again (with my Dr’s approval), occasionally still took NSAIDS, but at MUCH lower levels than before sx, and no narcotics.
Then around last November/Dec., I started getting really sore again. Not quite as bad as pre-op, but my hip recovery seemed to be going downhill. I was terrified, of course, and imagined the worse! I managed it with NSAIDs and grit. At my 6 month check up, I told the Dr how it pained me, and with ROM tests, radiographs and the like, they said the implant looked fine, and to keep taking the Ibuprofen to manage it. They offered no explanation other than it must just be a little inflammation and not to panic. I could still do all my riding and horse chores, just with discomfort (although the riding was the most comfortable).
So, I tried to keep my sanity, work through it, and, thank goodness, they must have been right. Come about February, my hip greatly improved again!! In case everyone is wondering, there was not an incident of any kind I can think of that could have made it worse in those months (other that the cold, damp weather in Oregon!) I did not do anything that I was told I shouldn’t, fall, or push/injure it in any way. Anyway, the point being is, I shared this because I want hippies to know it can happen. Do not panic if it does. Get a check from your Dr and if everything is OK, wait it out. My guess is it was just part of the healing process. Keep your head up!
I am very happy to report that from Feb to this day, I have been fantastic. Not to say that it is completely trouble free. I do have some days that are better than others, but even those days are still FAR better than my best day with my old hip! My range of motion is near perfect. I can ride my horses all day, and do chores( ie: clean stalls, move hay, empty heavy buckets, fork manure out of large wagon, etc), and walk back to the house with no limp! I must add, too, I do not just “moisey down a trail” with my horses. I show cutters and reiners, which to you non-horsey people, means running all out, stopping hard, turning on a dime, spinning like a top, etc. Appart from maybe jumping, this is some of the most rowdy riding a person can do. I am currently in first place in my cutting class(a type of showing involving chasing/working cattle) ! Horray for hip resurfacing!!!
I work about 30+ hours a week as a dental hygienist with no discomfort (for some elderly patients, I have to clean their teeth standing up for an hour, and this doesn’t bother my hip, either!). I drive a manual tranmission car with no problems. I have hiked 8 miles in 2 1/2 hours with only a little knee pain the day after (a little ibuprofen and it was gone the next day). I now take nsaids only occasionally as needed (prehaps 5-6 times a month?). I am hoping that from here it only keeps getting better!
If I had to whine about the little discomfort I do have left, I would have to say this. When I lift something really heavy (approx 60-80 lbs) I feel a little soreness in my hip still. This has been true since the sx, but I have noticed getting MUCH better the last six months (and yes, we horse people lift this kind of weight a lot!). Also, when I bend way down, from my waist, like to straighten a shoe or sock, it hurts a little when I straighten up again, I may even limp a step or two after, but it gets better immediately. This has also happened since day one and has improved greatly. I still have knee pain now and then (same side as HR) not sure if this is related to hip or not at this point, Dr’s can’t really say, I may simply have a knee problem, too. Lucky me. I will add that running moderately fast is still a challenge. Kinda still limping a little at a run. It almost seems more due to weakness and not pain. Any imput on if/when this may get better, runners/joggers?
Well, long post, but that is about it. I will continue to update at times. Here’s hoping all of you will feel this good. If you are someone with a bad hip comtemplating sx, I hope this helps in your decision. It has changed my life.
Thanks sooo much for this website, Pat! Sincerely, Luann
August 7, 2011
I am now 14 months out from my right HR (age 45, Dr Sparling, Wright C+) and just yesterday won my 8 month series of cutting show classes. Cutting on horseback is a fast paced, jolting and jarring ride that first involves singling a cow out of a big herd, then playing “keep away” with that cow; chasing it back and forth for a while. You get judged on your riding skills, as well as the horses ability to separate and “hold” that cow.
My new hip is doing fabulous (yes, I did get my Dr’s approval to do this) through all the shows, practice, and training that we do. And for those of you who ride , I am riding a reining horse as well.
I hope this gives encouragement and inspiration to ALL athletes and active people with (or considering) HR. My old, OA hip was paining me terribly while riding before HR. I have been given back my life and passion!
Soon I will be wearing a shiney new trophy belt buckle that my cutting horse and I won! I am so excited I will probably wear it to bed!
August 23, 2011
I am at 14 months and am still not “pain free”. Today I rode a horse for 3 1/2 hours and took 2 Advil to help. Towards the end of the ride, I had a little stiffness, soreness. The key words are “a little”. Very manageable, on a scale of 1-10 just a 1. Compared to before my HR. NO comparison!!
December 22, 2011
I am at 1 1/2 years now, and I still feel like I am not at, what I remember from the “good ol’ days” as full strength. If I am stepping up on something with my full body weight (5’2″ 118 lbs), I still prefer my nonoperated leg. My HR leg struggles to pull my weight up. I do a lot of exercise, walking, stat. bike riding, and active cow- horse riding/showing, and I still feel a little weak. Not sure if this is just life after HR, or if it is ever 100%. A lot of posting hippies say it can take up to 3 years. I am not really complaining, I love my HR. I feel it probably saved my life and sanilty.
March 21, 2012
I am doing absolutely fabulous with my Dr. Sparling HR. I am also 45 and super active. I really feel, apart from being a long distance marathon runner (which I most likely couldn’t have achieved at ANY time in my life! that at this point, 1 yr 10months preop, I can do anything I want. I ride and train horses in quite rowdy events and last year won a championship! Anyway, you are correct about your assessment that Dr. Sparling is not a “warm and fuzzy” personality. He was recommended to me as an excellent surgeon, and that is what I really valued. My leg length difference is really my only complaint. I have gotten used to it, and barely notice it now. However, it is kind of funny because that is exactly what he told me would happen (in his not so “warm and fuzzy way”) It only bothers me when I stand for long periods, so I make sure I wear my shoes with a lift when I anticipate this. This aside, it is important to go to the most experienced, and that would be Dr Prichett. My husband’s attitude of “it is crazy to go all that distance when there is a HR DR right here in the Vancouver area” is what ultimately made me decide that Prichett was not an option for me. Good Luck, it wouldn’t hurt to get all the opinions you can, from all the close HR Dr’s. I got 5 before I decided (I’ll admit, though, they were not all HR Dr’s)
April 6, 2012
I am almost 2 years out. I never “clunked” right after surgery. Then, about 6 months out, I would feel and hear a slight sound when after bending over and staightening up. That went on for about a year (never hurt or bothered me much, and thanks to this website, I didn’t worry about it) and this last 6 months or so, I have not felt or heard it since.
July 4, 2012
I am over two years out now. When I was a new surface hippy and recovering from my surgery, I was reading a lot of posts on this site. One thing I seemed to come across over and over was that recovery, at least for some( most?) people can take years. I distinctly remember that at the one year anniversary of my sx I was feeling much better than at six months. The one year mark seemed to be a major turning point for me. At six months I was still having muscle, ligament, and strength recovery issues. At least that is what I assume they were. I was still quite sore and stiff ( at least, off and on) and felt very weak in that leg. I kept as positive as I could and hoped all the experience hippies who said it could take a while were right. They were, of course! Now at two years, it still keeps getting better.
May 31, 2013
I am very excited to be nearing three years since my surgery! I had a Wright C+ done on my right hip by Dr Sparling in Vancouver, Wa. I was 45 at the time of my surgery , female, and am approx. 116 lbs and 5′ 2″. I
Have had no real pain since my surgery, other than ( what I know now were) the aches and occasional soreness of recovery. I enjoy a very active lifestyle, bike riding, hiking, and ( often extreme) horseback riding. My HR was nothing short of a modern day miracle, and I feel so fortunate to live in this time of medicine.
I am STILL improving in my strength. I had heard from other hippies that it can take years. They were correct. Those of you who recently had surgery, DON’T rush it!!
Just thought I’d share. I love hearing other’s success stories. Hope to be writing something similar in the years to come.
And again- thank you Pat for this awesome forum.