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Can I do martial arts after hip replacement surgery?

Q) I’m 57, not overweight and don’t smoke. I need a total hip replacement and have been told it’s my choice when to have it.

Can I ask what your opinion is on people having a replacement hip then continuing to do martial arts, specifically karate? Any kicks I do are to a maximum of waist height. I've put off the surgery for the last three years as I have been advised not to train ever again afterwards. Although, apparently it’s OK to play tennis and badminton, which I would have thought involve significantly greater impact than karate. I'd be interested in your opinion.
Ruth (Spring 2018)

A) The main risk of doing karate or other martial arts that involve kicking after a hip replacement would be dislocation of the joint, rather than the impact. It’s the twisting movements involved in martial arts kicks that are different from racquet sports.

That said, it seems like quite a sweeping statement to be advised to never train again. You're clearly someone who will demand a high level of function from any joint replacement, so it might help to see an orthopaedic surgeon with expertise in surgical management of hip osteoarthritis in sportspeople. They'd be able to advise you on the specifics of treatment and rehabilitation, and on what the full range of options are available to you, not just a total hip replacement.

It’s worth doing some research online about your local surgeons and their areas of expertise. Your GP should then be able to refer you.

This answer was provided by Dr Tom Margham for the Spring 2018 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

Send your questions for Dr Tom Margham to

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