About This Site

Me (top center white shirt standing) & and most of the original members of The Spokane Distance Project

Hi, I’m Tom Fuchs.  I’ve been a runner and an athlete for the majority of my life.  At the time of this writing, I’m 46.  I graduated from Gonzaga University where I ran and coached for 4 years.  I now coach XC at my kids’ grade school here in Spokane, Washington.    I’m a married father of 4 boys and I work as an IT Manager for a wholesale distributor of aircraft avionics.   There’s really nothing special about me.  You could call me an average Joe actually.  I don’t go crazy on gels and gu’s and I don’t eat cliff bars.  I prefer a good beer and a burger and I don’t watch my diet too much.  I’ve slowed down a bit, but I can still manage a 6 minute mile when I’m in shape.  The problem is, I’ve been getting in less and less shape thanks to this bum hip of mine.

MY BACKSTORY

This troublesome hip first bared its ugly head in 1996 when I woke up one morning and my hip was locked up.  It took some work to get out of bed.  I was told I had arthritis in my hip and I should quit running.  So I did.  One year and 20 lbs later, I started running again.  Everything was fine for the next decade.  The hip it seemed was just fine.  No more locking, no pain.  At the beginning of 2009 I decided to get more serious about my running.  My buddy Eric who I ran with in college, told me that the 2010 USATF Cross-Country Championships would be held in Spokane and he thought we should do it.  So I ramped up my training and I joined a men’s running group called “The Spokane Distance Project“.  (I secretly knew that I was the project).   Then it happened.  I’ll never forget that summer day that I felt the little twinge in my hip that made it uncomfortable to run.  I was running up to the Arbor Crest Winery during my lunch hour.  The winery sits on a bluff that overlooks the whole Spokane Valley.  It is a beautiful view, but you first have to pay the price of climbing the road to get up to it.  As I was running back down the hill, the pain became more pronounced.  I decided to take it easy for the next few days, but since that day…..the hip has reminded me that it is not well.  I was always alarmed when people would ask, “Why are you limping?” when I didn’t even realize that I was.  No amount of PT or stretching or visits with the chiropractor alleviated the pain.  The diagnosis was straightforward: osteoarthritis in the left hip.  I knew I had 2 choices.  One, stop running and stop eating what I wanted, or 2 keep running and keep eating what I wanted and just deal with the pain.  Experience showed me how I did when I stopped running, so I chose option 2.  Everything seemed manageable until about 5 months ago. My limping became more pronounced, my times started slowing down,  and I would feel the hip pain while I sat or even slept.  I also noticed that my running form had changed because after long runs, I would finish with a gash just above my left ankle where the right shoe must have been coming through and rubbing.  On top of all of that, my left knee started aching because I was using it to overcompensate from the hip problems.

THE INSPIRATON FOR THIS BLOG

My story begins on the day I met my orthopedist (Dr. Tim) on 12/13/2011………..

Not much compares to  the natural high and fitness level that you get from running.”, Dr. Tim told me.  “The hip replacement technology has vastly improved.” He went on. “But there just is not enough data to go by in terms of continuing to run, or even being able to run after a hip replacement.”  This sounded like the nail in the coffin for my running career.  But then he continued……”So if you choose to try to run…..you become your own experiment.”  BOOM!  This is what I needed to hear.  I looked at him and said, “No……I become…YOUR experiment!”.

And so begins my journey.  I’m a glass half full kind of guy.  And the optimism in me at the time of this writing is extremely high.  I have great hope for success in this endeavor, and you are welcome to follow along on my journey to recovery……even if after the recovery I decide that I need to find a new form of exercise.  Surgery is scheduled for 1/3/2012.    I hope that this blog will serve as a reference for others who find themselves in the same situation down the road.

43 thoughts on “About This Site

  1. I just received my diagnosis yesterday and I spent most of the afternoon and evening crying my eyes out. Nail in the coffin in deed. I just found your blog and I finally feel a glimmer of hope. Thank you so much for starting it.

    1. I’ve been there with osteoarthris diagnosed and symptomatic in my right hip 2 years ago. I’m still running but different…just jogging mixed in with walking and more of a midfoot strike and medicated but doing it! Ran the LB half marathon 4 months after I knew of my diagnosis and was so happy to finish it. Just did LA Marathon this year. Will keep on doing this until I physically can’t then I’ll look into having a THR. Just discovered this website too and it’s giving me lots of hope that I could run after THR too.

    2. Just received my diagnosis today. I’m a 48 yr old amateur triathlete. Dr told me that in order to ensure that the device lasts the rest of my life that jogging is not recommended. I interrogated him about what wear-testing studies have shown. There apparently isn’t any. Excuse me?! How can there be no data on the affect of running on device life? There’s obviously plenty of you scofflaws out there that aren’t listening to your doctors. So count me among you. Very grateful that this blog exists. Thanks much!

  2. Oct 23, 2013 I had total replacement of Rt hip joint. Nov 9, 2013 I turned 70. I have been a runner since age 42 and mainly on trails (dirt) for the past 4 yrs. I was running about a 140 miles per month building to try a 100K after turning 70. Feb this year a injury why squatting blew out my labrum beyond repair. Hip would partially dislocate if I moved wrong. I am now hiking short distances and riding stationary bike (Dr will not let me ride road bike yet). I have every intention of running again. My workout log has taken on new meaning. If this hip wears out in 10 years I will be 80. Will I still be here. Figure my family can give my logs to the Dr.
    I will be most interested to follow your results! Thank You For posting.

    1. Hi don,
      Hope you get this reply. Check out my posts. I can relate to you. Age: 72, running ultras for over 30 yrs, had a thr 10 yrs ago and stopping running for over 5 yrs. Started back up and never looked back. I do a combo of walk/run with trekking poles. Last yr did 3 50k trail runs and a 24 hr (73 mi, no poles). Having a Superpath on 3/10/15 and plan on running (actually walking) a 50k in June. Doc says do anything after 3 mo. Goal is the 48 hr Across the Years run in Dec. Let me know how your doing.

  3. don’t often comment to blogs but have to say thanks for establishing it…I betcha I’m like many many others out there, ran 3x 26.2 every year until I took a break in winter 2011 and well I never got going again, osteo left hip diagnosis eventually, have spent the last 2 years gaining 15 kilos, my confidence and lifestyle out the window as I listened maybe too much to the naysayers….I finally decided just today to proceed to surgery next year and already preparing with some dietary and gym work to get the weight off…what you wrote is so true, the experiment aspect. nobody can tell me what’s gonna happen down the line when I subject the newly installed hardware to the abuse I plan to give it and so it is an experiment BUT I’ll tell you what…compared to the limitations I have now I’ll have a shot at it. Very few will admit that the loss of a lifestyle based on running and outdoor pursuits has on your mental health quite apart from the obvious physical changes. I can attest to that, it brings at best a blunt edge where there used to be sharp thinking….and at worst depression. Screw the vicious circle…I’d rather have a shot at running a marathon a year and daily outdoorsey stuff I expect with my family and friends than spend the next 20 years being coulda shoulda woulda 🙂 so thanks for the blog and I’ll post my progress if thats ok? Martin

  4. Hi Tom, I stumbled onto your website by accident, because every once and while I check the internet to see if there is any new information available on running after hip replacement. At this writing I am 65 years old and I have not done any running since 2006, and even then it was marginal. I remember the pain as far back as 2002 and tried to run through it, but it just kept getting worse. I decided to just walk and since have done that with some success with staying fit. But I, like others, have also noticed a bit of a weight gain and the sense that “I’m not as fit as I once was.” I blame it on getting older which I am sure has some impact, but I would like to be able to start running again. This past year the pain in my left hip became so intense, that I decided to have the surgery. I am from Michigan and decided to have my surgery at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Based on what I have been told I had one of the best surgeons in the state of Michigan perform my surgery. I had my operation on Friday May 3rd of 2013 at noon. By 4:30 that same afternoon they had me walking down the hallway. A few sessions of PT and I was discharged on Sunday afternoon. By Monday evening I was at Birchwood Mall in Port Huron using my walker. Except for pain associated with the surgery all of my hip pain was gone. When I went in for my followup visit 4 weeks later, my doctor told me I was doing extremely well. When I asked him if I could start running again, he said “I know you will want to try it sometime, but I don’t recommend it.” I have read different things on the internet that supports what my doctor has told me, but after reading the information on this website, I feel inspired to try and run again. I am not trying to run a marathon again ( I have run 4 of them with a best time of 3:02:20) but I would like to get back on the road again and maybe do a 5k every once in awhile. Is there any information that you could give me that would help me to maybe run a few days a week. I know that I’m not going to live forever, but I still have some reservations about wearing my hip out prematurely, as everything I have read indicates that a second surgery will be much more difficult. Exercise right now is limited to walking indoors. Running again would be fantastic, but I am scared to try it.

  5. I sent a much longer message on the “Contact the HipRunners” thread, but this sounds eerily similar to my situation. I was a football player all the way through College and have been an Army Officer (10 years Active Duty, 6 years National Guard) ever since. 2011 after running the Columbus, OH Half-Marathon, I had pain that never went away. I too cringe when people tell me I am limping, and my doctor has already reccommended replacing the joint at age 38. But he won’t do a resurfacing, he says he doens’t believe in it. He has told me to cut way back on the distance and frequency of my runs in order to preserve the hip and postpone THR as long as possible. Not sure how much longer I can go. I am currently deployed to the Middle East and am having a lot of issues with it. Scared though, that if I go through with the surgery it will end my career since I will not be able to run and complete my Physical Fitness test every year or not meet the medical standards for deployment anymore. Any info you have is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. BLUF: You can continue to serve and have hip replacement or knee replacement surgeries. Jon, I too am an Army officer. I’m a Title 10 Active Guard and Reserve (AGR)stationed at Fort Leavenworth, KS. I was worried about the same thing, getting discharged post hip replacement. My Army orthopedic doc said that it is not a disqualifyer, especially if your branch/MOS does not require it. I need both of my hips replaced, my first THR is on 4 Feb. I know of a couple of people with total knee replacements that are still serving.

  6. Hi, Tom
    Thank you for established Hip runner Web-site, Since, I joined this Web site, I have been busy with working , looking my family and do my own exercises, I only posted my report once. But, Christmas Holidays arrived , I started to read all members reports. I really enjoyed them and someone’s reports more educated me. also, hope, through my experience, helped , encouraged , exchanged some ideas. This web- site is great! There are so many THR operation held on all over the country every year. Unfortunately, Having THR operation is for older people. Not many young , active ones. In UK, there are about 60000 people having THR operation per year. General doctor does not recommend a patient to have this operation under 60, 65 except serious condition. Surgeon say Having THR is over use your hip generally. I am 55 , I do not know how long I will last be. But, I still enjoy my life and still achieve something. I must say running is very simple sport , anyone could do it, anywhere we go. We only need running shoes and running wear. But, Running has got something special make us feel good. Even, after such a big operation, still Runner want to go back to running again. ( heavy smoker can not stop smoking) Runner had to get through THR experience , emotion, feeling is more or less the same. All most all surgeon say ” NO MORE RUNNING, IT WILL WORN OUT YOUR COMPONENT QUICKLY” We must listen their advice, but, We do not know how quick worn out, if we run wisely, we might to use it 20 years. It is a risk , but, still my mind said, I want to run. Hope, This web site will be a good exchange information, education and encouragement. If we can approve 10, 15 years time, still we are fit to jog or run , surgeon’s opinion must start to change. Thank you , Tom ,opening this web site. Very Happy New Year 2014

  7. Hi All,
    Just found this site, at moment waiting for first appointment at othopidic clinic due to arthritic hip. this time last year was running 50mile per week, this year its a struggle to walk to the shop. like everyone else on here i love to run and the thought of not being able to is really quite deppressing.reading some of your blogs has given me some encouragement, so if you dont mind im going to keep you all informed on my journey!!!!!!

  8. My mom broke her hip on Saturday running a half marathon trail run. Because of her age and severity of the fall tomorrow she is getting her hip replaced. I found your blog and am so thankful for all of the stories and information. My mom has been working towards qualifying for her 5th Boston Marathon and instead is getting her hip replaced. She will run again.

  9. Good stuff here. 63 year old runner, looking at replacement in the next couple of weeks. Too much damage to repair, so we will replace. Have great Doctor’s here in Philly. Some say run, some say don’t. I’m thinking we’ll see how I feel and play it by ear. In the words of Hunter S. Thompson, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

  10. Great site, Tom! You’re still clearly a “half glass full” kind of a guy, which is likely what helped propel you to run such a fast half marathon last weekend! Hope to “run” into you again one day! Happy running my friend.

  11. I am looking for someone to help me switch from fast walking with a new (2008) right hip to running slowly.

    I want to go from a 15 min/mile pace to 10-12 min/mile pace.

  12. Thanks so much for your blog. I’m a recovering ultra runner with a 7 year old BHR in my right hip. After the 2007 procedure I went back to trail running and racing. Last year I torn my left hip in training and after 14 months my surgeon agreed to operate. Problem is he’s afraid of doing another metal to metal device due to ion release like most US surgeons. Looks like a THR is my only replacement so after dodging the bullet 7 years ago it looks like my running career may really be over. Its a shame because otherwise I’m in good shape for 57. Maybe its my ultra athlete background but giving up is not in my DNA. If there is a .01% chance I can still run moderately I’m going for it. I too feel the need to connect with others that don’t think I’m crazy.

    1. You’re not Crazy Brian, and there is MORE than a .01% chance you will run again. Keep reading and join the club if you’d like!

    2. Brian,
      Your running career will only be “really over” if you let it be. Many people have bounced back from hip replacement. You doctor will “advise” you, but ultimately it will be your choice and based on what you’ve said above, I have a feeling I know what that “choice” will be. 🙂

  13. At the end of last month, I fractured the neck of my right femur running the Vermont 50, and needed ORIF to repair. I turned 40 a week after (happy birthday!), and I have been worried about avascular necrosis, as it is still a possibility looming in the future. I am ecstatic to have found this web site! Gives me hope that even if I do need to get a THR because of avascular necrosis it is not a death sentence to my running career.

    I am chronicling my return to running on my website, http://www.squareonerunner.com, and if I get a THR I will certainly be joining hiprunner.com.

    Thank you again for giving me hope for the future, no matter what happens!

    Chad Williams

    1. Glad you found us Chad! Sorry to hear about the fracture. 🙁 I am glad you found us too! There IS life after THR! 🙂

  14. Great site! I’m a dinosaur when it comes to social media, so I’m still figuring out how to navigate this site. I’m 51, and just had a right side THR 7 weeks ago. I’ve been looking for a site like this so I can learn from others experience regarding THR and running. Looking forward to being a beginning runner again!

  15. My story is pretty much the same… 57 years young, long time runner among other sports, looking at THR in Jan. My surgeon seems to be very conservative about future outcomes and expectations, but I have never allowed others to set expectations for me. I have at least 3 friends who have had the procedure and bounced back to doing all of the activities they love including running, soccer, tennis, and biking. It seems to me that since the majoring of folks getting THR are either older or certainly less fit and active, the recommendations are skewed toward that population. And clearly the folks posting here are way outside of that demographic. I am looking forward to sharing thoughts and experiences with everyone here. Thanks so much for setting the site up!

  16. Hi I am registered some time ago when I learned of my upcoming surgery. I am 2 Wks post op of RTHR anterior approach. I am doing great. Walking with no cane. No pain meds doing exercises and missing my daily run : (. Need to start talking to people who understand. My name is registered on your site but I have forgotten passwords and usernames. Can you help me get back in? I have so many questions!! Thank you! Nancy

  17. Hi all…. this is my first post on the site and I am so glad I found it. I have my left THR six weeks from tomorrow, on April 4. Was hoping for a resurfacing but ball is too far gone for that. Avascular necrosis, and unfortunately was misdiagnosed early and not properly diagnosed until it was too late to fix it. I cried in the surgeon’s office when he told me that; I was so angry and sad. But despite all the Debbie Downers out there, thanks to you guys I know I can run again. Looking forward to getting this fixed and hopefully qualifying for Boston (which I just missed before the hip started to bother me more than a year ago). Again, so so so glad this site exists. Thank you Tom and everyone for giving me hope! I am spending the next six weeks getting strong, working on my core and upper body and strengthening my left leg (which I’ve been favoring) and plan to be sensible about my recovery and return to running. Patience and persistence….patience and persistence.

  18. I ran in high school, and took up jogging and marathons (15 of them) in my 40s. In my late 60s I was still running everyday, a minimum of 21 miles a week. I stopped running at the age of 70 because of hip pain. I replaced my left hip in May of 2015 and my right hip in December of 2015, both at the age of 79. I waited 4 months, and with the permission of my orthopedic surgeon I started brisk walking 2 or 3 miles a day. I intend to start modest jogging when I get some aerobic fitness back. My orthopedist said he is concerned about jogging wearing out my bionic hips in about 10 years. Really? If I last that long I will be 90 years old. No. I wouldn’t want to have surgery of any kind at the age of 90. But I don’t see that as likely since no one in my family ever reached 90.

    1. That’s thate spirit!
      I believe that you should do what makes you happy. Get back to running if that is the case!

  19. Do you have any Runners that had to have a revision THR after continuing to run after surgery.
    I had THR in January 2016. Before surgery I ran 30 to 35 miles a week, no problems. I had a biking accident in August 2015. The fall moved the ball and joint. The hip joint was in bad shape, severe arthric hip. My surgeon said it had been there for years. Probably a childhood injury. The bike crash moved everything. I would like to run again, I ‘m not interested in doing high mileage, just a few (2 or 3 miles) two to three times a week . My surgeon doesn’t want me to run. He did say that if I ran and had problems with THR he would take care of me. Can you tell me if there are THR out there that had THR failure after continuing run. If so, how many months, years, etc. before they had problems with THR and had to have it replaced thank you.

    1. Hi Linda, I don’t know of anyone on this site who has had a revision after a THR. I am going to put this one out to the group. Hopefully we will get a lot of responses. Keep checking back.
      Hip Brother tom.

  20. Hi, I’m new to this site, so pardon me if this isn’t the correct place for this post. I don’t have insight onTHR revision, but would like to share my story and get some feedback. I am a 57 year male, serious runner since about 2008. I was involved in the martial arts for over twenty years before that and ran some as part of my training. I ran my first half marathon in 2009 and my first marathon the following year. In 2012 I was diadnosed with kidney disease, origin unknown. No symptoms, only found out as a result of a routine physical I had while training for a marathon. I continue to deal with this today, however thie function has stabilized. I continue to deal with anemia and side effects from drug treatment, no diyalisis. In 2014 I joined a local fitness group in town. Mostly triathletes, great group very accepting of my limitations. Last yearI caved in to the influence and tried my first sprint triathlon. So this year after running, biking, swimming all winter I was ready to have a great running and tri season. At the end of May I was going withthegroup for a training ride, three week before my first tri of the year. I had already had a strong 10k and 5k, for me in the books. While coming to a stop on the ride I couldn’t get my shoe uncilpped and fell over. The result was a displaced fracture of my left hip. The original plan was to repair the fracture, doctors thought it would afford my best chance to return to running, a big priority! Because of an extremely low whit blood cell count surgery couldn’t be performed right away. By the time this count recovered, repair was no longer an option. THR was the only option. And as many of you have been told, running was not recommended following surgery, period. Devastating news. Surgery went well Anterior approach, ceramic/poly hip. After the spinal block they used wore off, the pain was pretty bad, my poor wife nearly had her fingers crushed, I was holding on pretty tight until nurses got the pain under control. Once that was past recovery has progressed pretty well home after three days, walker for about five days, cane after that for about a week. During that time started walking as much as I could tolerate and up and down stairs, we live in a two story house. No cane now for three weeks, up to about two and a half miles walking, finally back to swimming this week. Running is very important to me as it is for you. I don’t want to give it up! I learned about this site online, my wife is very good at that, also the leader of our fitness group found it, knows what running means to me. So best advice about how To go about getting back to running. Sorry for the long winded story but I thought the background was important. I appreciate any input

  21. I am also a “passionate runner” having begun my running career on the original Kenneth Cooper Aerobics program in the summer of 1968. The late Jim Fixx, author of THE COMPLETE BOOK OF RUNNING, inspired me to “follow in his footsteps” to run the distance around the equator, a goal I set out to accomplish on September 18, 1978, and accomplished on Saturday, December 7, 1996, “Pearl Harbor Day.” From that date in September of 1978 through Friday, 01 April 2016, I have run a total distance of33,296 miles of 53, 583.2528 K.
    On Friday, 15 April 2016. I went to Springfield, Illinois, for an overnight stay. I was to attend our Committee on Annual Conference Sessions Committee the next day at our Conference Center on Springfield’s Toronto Drive. However, that evening while taking a shower, I slipped, fell over the tub onto the hard tile and concrete floor, and broke my right hip. I had total hip replacement surgery at Springfield’s St. John Hospital on Sunday, 17 April 2016.
    I was making good progress in my recover until Monday evening 16 May 2016, when the hip went out of socket. I had to go to the emergency room at Herrin Hospital to have it put back in place again. Then just a couple weeks later it went out again while I was at the Orthopedic Institute of Southern Illinois doing my therapy. I then had to have a HIP REVISION SURGERY at Herrin Hospital on Wednesday, 15 June 2016. As of this time, which is Thursday, 11 August 2016, I am making good progress again, am back in therapy at OISI, and I HOPE TO IN TIME RETURN TO RUNNING. I would appreciate prayers that I can do just that. I am an evangelical, retired United Methodist pastor in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church. When I broke my right hip on 15 April 2016, I was in Springfield, Illinois, to attend one of our Conference Committee meetings the next day. If I can’t return to running sometime in the NOT TOO DISTANT future, it will “kill me.” Thanks, Tom, and other fellow runners for encouragement.

  22. I had my two month check up with my surgeon on Friday, 12 August 2016, well actually with his PA who is herself a runner. This was 8 weeks and two days after my HIP REVISION SURGERY which I explained in my above comment. I am DOING WELL. I go back for a four month check up in October. Next month I won’t have to observe the three hip precautions. I am PRAISING THE LORD for this GREAT HEALING at this time. I am still sleeping with the wedge between my legs at night. Yesterday I was able to return to both worship and Sunday School for the first time in 17 weeks since I first broke my right hip on 15 April 2016 and had my total hip replacement surgery on 17 April2016. I have outpatient therapy today, Wednesday, and Friday this week and next week. I am riding the stationary bike all those days as part of the therapy, and I plan to return to my local gym this week too. Even my PA “advised” me, or “cautioned” me not to plan to run again, and then she said, “But I’d probably do the same. Now I know that “I not yet ready to do the pommel horse in the Olympics,” but I do plan to return to running, even if I have to wait a full year to do so. Tom and other brother and sister runners here, how would you advise me to proceed? I now carry a HIP PATIENT–TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENT CARD in my wallet. It appear I have a ZIMMER BIOMET. I welcome all your advice, and I would love to have any of you as my Facebook friend too. Tom is already a Facebook friend. You can fid my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Asbury73.

  23. I have been bothered by right hip pain for the past 2 years. It has curtailed my running and even got difficult to swing my leg up and over my bike. I literally had to lay my bike down in order to get started. I was going to have surgery in the spring of 2016, however I developed a case of spinal stenosis which required surgery. I am now scheduled for THR on Dec 7, 2016. My Dr. did not rule out running again as he knows that it is important to me. Just proceed with caution was his reply. I had my pre-op meeting today with his assistant. Her husband had THR on Dec 1, 2015 and just completed the Ironman in KIona. She sent me this website which has now made my day. Even at 67, I now believe there will again be running in my future.

  24. Thanks for this blog guys.. I have AVN, both hips since 2013… Had a stem cell therapy for both legs and things were fine, obviously with limited activity ( i cant remember the last time i run). However, since two weeks back, the pain has started to catch me again.. and i am seriously thinking about THR for both hips.. Any advise from all or you will be most welcomed and appreciated..

    Thanks again

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