Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pity the runners

I pity anyone who has hip dysplasia and runs. I am not a runner myself - I never liked to run, and never was any good at it, and now with chronic hip issues I will probably never run another step in my life. But I know that runners are just as committed to running as skaters are to skating. It becomes more than a form of exercise, but a way of life. Similar to skaters, runners also socialize with other runners and find it to be great stress relief and escape from the daily grind. So it would be very painful emotionally to give up running.

Skating can be high impact if one does freestyle. The constant jump landings put pressure on the hip joint as well as the knees, ankles and back. I skated freestyle as a kid (heaven knows how I was able to do so with these wonky hips), but now I ice dance. While ice dancing is athletically rigorous in ways that aren't apparent to the casual observer, it has a much lower impact on the hips than freestyle skating or running. So, while I have been told ice dancing is a no-no for me, I justify it as part of my existence because I consider it "low impact" and it hurts me less than walking.

If I were a runner I would not have that option. Recently several posters on the Hipwomen Yahoo Group have talked about how difficult it is to give up running. I can absolutely relate. I am afraid that for those gals, giving up running will be permanent, even after successful surgery. It's just too risky to put an already compromised hip back into a high impact environment. I know that some of them do run again post PAO, but it's rare.

I am prepared to retire from ice dancing post PAO if I'm unable to get my strength, balance, and/or range of motion back. Some or all of these outcomes are possible. I am hopeful that with enough hard work in the gym and a good physical therapist I'll be able to get back on the ice post PAO. I have given it a lot of thought ... what will I do to replace skating if that occurs? What other activity that I could possibly do post PAO combines movement and music and speed and grace and working with a partner? Or even a subset of the above? I don't have an answer yet.

My heart goes out to the poor runners, who almost certainly must find something else to replace their activity of choice. There is nothing I can say, other than that I feel their pain, with every step I take.


Marina said...

I hate running, but sadly I also hate swimming which is supposed to be the best thing for our hips.

Happy New year!

HipSk8 said...

I can't stand swimming but luckily there is a facility with a pool very close to my house. I'm saving the aquatherapy until after surgery unless it gets to the point where I can't do anything else!

Kris, in New England said...

I start aquatherapy tomorrow, to get me ready for my hip replacement surgery. I love swimming, so I'm hoping to, ahem, enjoy the therapy sessions.

Have you ever thought of coaching? I know it's probably a naive suggestion for you...

HipSk8 said...

K - Not naive, just not possible. First, I like what I do professionally in the corporate world, and honestly couldn't match the $$ if I were a coach. But mostly not possible because I judge figure skating, and judges can't be coaches -- it's considered a conflict of interest.

Enjoy your aquatherapy; if you like to swim you should enjoy it. Be careful not to overdo it at first or you'll be sore, and the point is to do it regularly!