Health Watch: Running After Joint Replacement

CHICAGO, Ill. (KFSN) -- Do you have achy knees or a bad hip and everything you tried doesn't relieve the pain? Then it may be time for a joint replacement. There are over one million total hip and knee replacements done in the U.S. every year and that number is expected to rise to four million by 2030. Now one type of replacement surgery at Rush University Medical Center is getting patients recovering quicker and back to their normal activities faster without any limitations.

Sixty-three-year-old Dana Potts didn't start running competitively until his late 50's.

"When I got older, I just ran 5ks and 10ks," explained Potts.

His short-distance running abilities landed him at state finals where he won gold, but his constant training landed him in need of a hip replacement.

"I was shocked because I've never been operated on, I've never broke anything, never had any issues health wise really in my life, so this was really traumatic for me," Potts continued.

Every doctor he went to said he could not run competitively again after surgery. That is until he met doctor Richard Berger, MD, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush Joint Replacement Physician, where Dr. Berger offered Dana the anterior muscle preserving approach for his hip replacement.

"What traditional surgery is, is we cut the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, expose the joint, and then replace it," said Dr. Berger.

But with the anterior muscle preserving approach ...

"We actually go in between the muscles, ligaments, and tendons so they're not cut. We get the same exposure to the joint and simply slip the pieces in," Dr. Berger continued.

Patients have less pain and the recovery is faster.

"The large majority of my patients actually go home within an hour or two of the surgery," stated Dr. Berger.

Six months after Dana's replacement, he was competing and striking gold with his new hip.

"Actually won the gold medal. Three gold medals," smiled Potts.

And leaving his competition in the dust.

Joint replacements typically last 15 to 20 years. Dr. Berger says with his approach, joints are expected to last 20 to 25 years or even longer. He has performed more than ten thousand outpatient joint replacement surgeries.
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