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New Hip Replacement Alternative

By Christopher Caile

A new orthopedic innovation now offers an alternative to traditional hip replacement.

Hip replacement surgery is serious stuff. It’s expensive, but it can eliminate a lot of pain in aging, arthritic hips or where cartilage is replaced by bone on bone. When the damage is severe it is even difficult to stand on a damaged hip, much less stand on it while executing a kick. For some the pain even makes sleeping difficult.

But there is a negative side to hip replacement too, especially for those in karate, taekwondo or kung fu. Artificial hips have limited mobility which restricts certain types of high kicks and certain stances.

A good friend of mine had both hips replaced. One doctor said he had to give up karate, so he changed doctors. He is now back in karate, but he keeps his kicks low.

Now, however, there is an alternative. It’s called the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System developed by Dr. Derek McMinn, a surgeon in Birmingham, England and just approved for the US by the Food and Drug Administration.

Like total hip replacement, resurfacing also requires a similar surgical incision if 5-6 inches. Recovery takes six to eight more weeks of therapy and exercise to return to normal activity. Resuming martial arts training will take longer and is probably measured in months, not weeks.

The surgery is not suitable for those who have an allergic reaction to the implant materials, or who have hip deformities, loss of bone density or cysts on their femur. But the procedure is a good choice for those who are young and active, who are often not classified as good candidates for total hip replacement due to the potential need for a repeat of the replacement.

Hip Resurfacing the hip joint, rather than replacing it, involves shaping, then capping a small surface within the hip joint. The implant made of cobalt chrome holds out the promise of being longer lasting than total hip replacements. And since the resurfacing implant is smaller than the femur head used in total hip replacement, the extra benefit is that it offers greater hip stability which increases the range of motion while also reducing the risk of dislocation – something martial artists are concerned about.

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About the Author:

Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of He has been a student of the martial arts for over 43 years. He first started in judo. Then he added karate as a student of Phil Koeppel in 1959. Caile introduced karate to Finland in 1960 and then hitch-hiked eastward. In Japan (1961) he studied under Mas Oyama and later in the US became a Kyokushinkai Branch Chief. In 1976 he followed Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura when he formed Seido karate and is now a 6th degree black belt in that organization's honbu dojo. Other experience includes aikido, diato-ryu aikijujutsu, kenjutsu, kobudo, Shinto Muso-ryu jodo, kobudo, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts including Praying mantis, Pak Mei (White Eyebrow) and shuai chiao. He is also a student of Zen. A long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong, he is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President of the DS International Chi Medicine Association. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from American University in Washington D.C. and has traveled extensively through South and Southeast Asia. He frequently returns to Japan and Okinawa to continue his studies in the martial arts, their history and tradition. In his professional life he has been a businessman, newspaper journalist, inventor and entrepreneur.

To find more articles of interest, search on one of these keywords:

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System, Hip Replacement Alternative, Dr. Derek McMinn, arthritus of the hip, Hip replacement surgery

Read more articles by Christopher Caile

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