Hip replacement allows patient to keep sailing

July 27, 2020 | By: Raleigh Orthopaedic Team

To say that Yvonne Short lives an active lifestyle is an understatement. She started sailing at age 50 and quickly starting on a crew with her sailing instructor, which introduced her to her love of competitive sailing. Four years later, she and her husband bought their own boat and race in events at Lake Norman Yacht Club, Peninsula Yacht Club, Lake Monroe Sailing Association, and the Rudder Club of Jacksonville.

Last year alone she had a very successful sailboat racing season. She and her husband are members of the Seven Lakes Sailing Club where they participate in club races and have won the Commodore’s Cup for the last 6 years consecutively. They also finished third in the Lake Norman Hospice Regatta in April 2019 and the following week won the 66th annual Mug Race. They were the first Portsmouth Offshore Fleet boat to finish the race, which the world’s longest river race, spanning a 38 mile distance up the St. John’s River from Memorial Bridge to Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville, FL.

Yvonne was experiencing symptoms which started limiting her ability to do competitive sailing. She felt she was too young to give up the activities she loves so she turned to Raleigh Orthopaedic total joint surgeon, Dr. Scott Eskildsen, for help.

“As a healthcare provider, I knew of the expertise of Raleigh Orthopaedic. I have seen Dr. Callaway in the past for injuries,” said Yvonne. “I was referred to Dr. Eskildsen due to my request being a hip injury and boy did I get lucky!”

Degenerative osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the hip or knee. The cartilage that cushions the bones of hip softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another causing hip pain and stiffness. It usually occurs in people over 50 years old, but can occur in younger people as well.

“I was devastated when the arthritis in my hip was complicated by a nasty tear of the labrum, resulting in the need for a hip replacement. Dr. Eskildsen can attest to how devastated I was and fearful I would never sail, let alone race, again,” said Yvonne.

Types of hip replacement surgery

While there are different types and approaches to hip replacements, Dr. Eskildsen chooses the approach based on the patient’s lifestyle. “Both Anterior and Posterior hip approaches are safe and effective for hip replacements.  I prefer to make the decision of approach based on the individual’s lifestyle and risk factors to choose the approach that is best for that particular patient.  One approach isn’t always the best for everyone,” said Dr. Eskildsen.

Dr. Eskildsen and Yvonne discussed the differences between posterior and anterior approaches and ultimately decided that the anterior approach would be much better for her goals of getting back to sailing. “That is one thing that makes Dr. Eskildsen stand out,” said Yvonne. “He decides based on the patient, not just what he would rather do.”

Total hip replacement surgery

Total hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased hip joints. The procedure involves removing the diseased portion of the hip joint. An artificial hip, known as a prosthesis, replaces it. There are four pieces in a new hip implant: a stem which fits into your thigh bone, a ball on the end of the stem, a shell that fits into your pelvis and a liner that snaps into the shell.

The total joint team at Raleigh Orthopaedic performs more than 2,000 total joint replacements annually.

“My experience with Raleigh Orthopaedic and Dr. Eskildsen has been nothing but positive. Staff is wonderful, very polite and helpful, especially with navigating the pre-op requirements,” said Yvonne. “Each step in the process was clearly explained. Dr. Eskildsen provided a clear explanation for what I was feeling, why I was experiencing pain and the procedures that would alleviate my discomfort.”

What is the recovery time for a hip replacement?

While every patient’s hip replacement recovery is different, Dr. Eskildsen has found that most patients are walking the day of surgery and are home by the following day.  Yvonne was walking with a walker within one hour of surgery. She only used a walker for 2 days and then was able to move around her home and was back to most of her daily activities. “I still have some discomfort at times but it is getting better,” said Yvonne.

4 months after surgery, Yvonne began sailing again, leisurely to work back up to competitive conditions. “Every time we sail now, it gets better. I am having improvement in my flexibility and my discomfort,” Yvonne said.

Life after total hip replacement surgery

It has now been seven months since Yvonne had her hip replaced. With her new hip, Yvonne is able to enjoy an active lifestyle. Walking is a great exercise after hip replacement surgery and she was able to begin walking soon after surgery. She has two golden retrievers that she and her husband walk two to three miles every day. She plans to get back to racing as soon as COVID-19 allows. “If it were not for the physicians and physical therapists at Raleigh Orthopaedic I would not be able to race sailboats. They gave me my life back,” said Yvonne.

Dr. Eskildsen advises patients to limit running and impact activities after a hip replacement no matter what surgical approach was done. Besides that, “we encourage patients to be as active as possible and enjoy their mobility,” said Eskildsen.

Many patients get back to activities such as walking for exercise, swimming, riding a bike, golfing and dancing three to six weeks after hip replacement surgery. Over 90 percent of total hip replacements function well for 15 years or more, even in young active patients, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


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