Gas station without pumps

2019 June 30

Hip osteoarthritis is a pain in the butt

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 13:44
Tags: , , ,

As many of you know I stopped running in April after getting a diagnosis of hip osteoarthritis.  This week I went to see a physical therapist to see what I could do

  • to prevent further deterioration of the hip joint and
  • to learn to run without doing further damage.

The half-hour appointment cost me $503, which counts toward my insurance deductible, but no fraction of which is otherwise covered.  I was prescribed five stretching exercises to do daily to prevent further deterioration, but not given even a hint about whether I could run without doing further damage.  I’ll do the stretching exercises, but I’m considering not bothering with the followup appointments (one of which is already scheduled)—the price seems a bit too high for the small amount of information gained.

If I were on the UC Care health plan, rather than the UC Health Savings Plan, some of the physical therapy would probably be covered, but that plan would cost me an extra $337 a month (an extra $1101 a month while on leave without pay), so I’m still better off with the low-price plan that lets me save money in an HSA account.

So far, the best advice on running with hip osteoarthritis seems to be from

If you have been diagnosed with mild to moderate hip OA, Apex Clinic recommends the following tips to help prolong your running life:

1) Reduce your land based running frequency to two or three times weekly and reduce the distance.

2) Substitute road running with running on a softer surface such as grass, bark, sand or treadmill where possible. The higher shock absorption of these surfaces is kinder to joints.

3) Change your running style to a forefoot to midfoot strike, to reduce the load coming upwards to the hip and reduce your stride length to reduce load.

4) Change to a maximally shock absorbing shoe and consider a shock absorbing insole. Whether shock absorbing insoles are effective or not is debatable, but we hear from runners that they appear to help.

(They have eight points to their recommendations—go to their site for the whole story.)

The big questions are

  • whether I can change my running style to a shorter stride and a forefoot strike and
  • whether that is enough to avoid further damage.

I suppose I can practice changing running style on a treadmill at OPERS, since I want to learn how to run on treadmill anyway—the only treadmill running I’ve done is a few minutes for my stress electrocardiogram test last December, and I felt unsteady on the treadmill, even when I had not gotten up to full speed.  I’d like to get more familiar with treadmill running so that the next stress electrocardiogram I get will be one where I can put out full effort without worrying so much about balance.


  1. Treadmill is a good option. Toadal has ones with video that some people find enjoyable (I surprisingly do). Treadmills are good for learning form, being able to stop exactly when you want to, and generally gentler on body. The UCSC track is pretty good. It used to be softer… Some people like sand running. I don’t, but it does reduce hip impact, I’d think, about as much as would be possible.

    Comment by whatisron — 2019 June 30 @ 19:38 | Reply

  2. I had to give up running a few years ago due to Achilles tendinitis brought on by too many long walks with 80 lbs on my back while in the Marines. I am more built for speed than being a human mule. My endurance exercising now is mountain biking. A lot easier on the joints. Of course there is the little detail of crashing which I did yesterday. Went over the bars on a fast downhill and landed on my head. No major injuries. Stiff neck and some bruises. But boy was it fun up to that moment.

    Comment by gflint — 2019 July 1 @ 09:26 | Reply

    • I rely on bicycling for most of my exercise, but I ride a recumbent on the road and am not excited by high-speed mountain biking. I’ve done a little trail riding on the recumbent (see ), but I doubt that off-road riding would ever add significantly to my exercise.

      I am looking for something to get me on my bike on a more-or-less daily basis now that I have 6 months of no commuting (classes start again for me 2020 Jan 6). Whatever it is, it needs to be something that does not require much willpower—I need to have the exercise taken care of as a byproduct of something else more motivating.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2019 July 1 @ 09:38 | Reply

      • Well, using the treadmills at campus would include a good bike ride up to East Field House too!

        Comment by whatisron — 2019 July 1 @ 13:09 | Reply

        • That is part of my thinking on this. I just signed up for a month of use of the OPERS equipment. It is cheaper than any of the commercial fitness centers, I believe (getting prices for fitness centers is a lot of work).

          Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2019 July 1 @ 13:19 | Reply

  3. I am not a big pavement rider. Just always thought it as boring except when a car turns in front of you or a mirror goes by to close. I have had fun on pavement but it is always when I go on a group ride. Not a racing group, just a bunch of people cruising the local roads. Riding with them actually motivated me to do more pavement than I normally would consider. Mellow but 20 – 30 miles at mellow is still a good workout.

    Comment by gflint — 2019 July 2 @ 13:02 | Reply

    • I’m not big on group rides. I’ve only been on a few, and there is nearly always someone who chatters incessantly, which irritates me. I’m not into high-speed riding, so racing groups are out. I can see doing a long tour again after I retire, perhaps even sooner. For me bicycling is transportation, not recreation (or in the words of the slogan I put on a big sign on my trailer decades ago when I was abicycle activist: “Not Sport, Transport!”

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2019 July 2 @ 15:01 | Reply

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