paddling after hip replacement

My wife recently had her hip replaced. Her doctor strongly advised her not to kayak anymore. She’s having a hard time accepting this and is looking for any advice or alternatives. She’s been using a Pungo which is very stable and has a large cockpit, and I’d be there to help her in and out of the boat. We’re not quite sure why she shouldn’t paddle, unless it has to do with having her torso at less than a 90 degree angle, but we thought we could get around this by raising her seat slightly. Any advice would be appreciated.

John M.

I Don’t Get It

– Last Updated: Jan-17-05 6:48 PM EST –

I'd ask why and seek a second opinion. I broke a hip and had it surgically repaired. I was told by the surgeon that a replacement does less permanent damage and is easier to recover from than the repair I had.

The only thing I can come up with is that paddling does little or nothing to rehabilitate the hip. I was told a stationary bike or stairmaster were best for regaining strength.

I started paddling BECAUSE of the hip repair in 2000 and my GPS tells me I paddled well over 300 miles in 2004.

I’d question that too.
My next door neighbour had his hip replaced recently, and is buying a kayak to replace his rowing shell.

Second Opinion
Or at least get a better understanding of why he doctor said what he did. You may find out it doesn’t hold water, no pun intended. Maybe he thinks all kayakers do whitewater, for ex. It makes sense to stay out of the kayak while in the more intense stages of rehab, but after that…

I’ve had (not good) doctors tell me not to do something just because they didn’t understand the sport. After I got my illeostomy I asked about going back to riding - at the time I was showing and jumping (both badly but my horse was willing to cover my mistakes). My internist, an excellent doctor, said see how it goes - he’d never ridden a horse so he didn’t think he had a useful opinion. Another doctor who rode herself said yes. Three other doctors said I should figure on giving it up. They’d never been on or from what I could tell within ten feet of a horse.

So - before you go buying a different kayak, question the doc’s advice harder.


had a hip replacementand was paddling competitively in about 5 months. What other factors is the doctor concerned about? Maybe she should get a Canoe for a better sitting position and use a double blade?


When rowing in college, I once had some
hemmheroids (sp?). The doctor, who had been an oarsman himself, told me to give up rowing.

Needless to say, I didn’t. Physicians still often claim to know more than they really do.

But Magoo, your neighbor would certainly have been exceeding allowable flexion limits if he had kept on rowing!

Could it be …
…just the fact that getting in and out of the yak might be more difficult?

A orthepedic surgeon told me a year ago that if I had a knee replacement, I would not be getting into and out of the kayak the way I would now.

When I asked him to explain the difference, he just replied that I would see.

Needless to say I haven’t gotten the replacement.

It just might be some little quirk like that.

I hope it turns out that she is able to continue.

I used to tell everyone that I was going to be a marathoner until the day I died. Little did I know that my knee would tell me otherwise.



I broke my hip pretty badly…
…then took up paddling a year or so afterward. I see no connection whatsoever other than that sitting for hours can make it a bit stiff. Then again, it makes my whole lower body a bit stiff! :wink:

Perhaps her doctor thinks of whitewater when someone mentions paddling. This is a common misconception. He could also be an old school idiot who thinks that once you’ve had a major injury, you should just sit on the couch and get fat. I’m really glad I had an orthopod who believed that exercising as aggressively as you can without pain is the best therapy. I’ve had no problems with my hip since, other than an occasional ache.

paddling after hip replacement
I’ve had both hips replaced and have no problems paddling.

Don’t get it either
I’ve got a pin in my left hip and mild scoliosis to boot and -while I’m not doing olympic gymnastic moves-I’ve paddled these past five seasons with little problem. I’d get a second opinion. I think far too many of these docs have no idea what kayaking is much less what muscles or body parts are used.