Health Beat

Health Beat: Running after joint replacement

CHICAGO - Dana Potts didn't start running competitively until his late 50s.

"When I got older, I just ran 5Ks and 10Ks," said Potts, now 63.

His short-distance running abilities landed him at state finals, where he won gold, but his constant training landed him in need of a hip replacement.

"I was shocked, because I've never been operated on," Potts said. "I've never broke anything, never had any issues health-wise really in my life, so this was really traumatic for me."

Every doctor he went to said he could not run competitively again after surgery, that is until he met Dr. Richard Berger, a joint replacement physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, where Berger offered Potts the anterior muscle preserving approach for his hip replacement.

"What traditional surgery is, is we cut the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, expose the joint, and then replace it," Berger explained.

But with the anterior muscle preserving approach...

"We actually go in between the muscles, ligaments, and tendons so they're not cut," Berger continued. "We get the same exposure to the joint and simply slip the pieces in."

Patients have less pain, and the recovery is faster.

"The large majority of my patients actually go home within an hour or two of the surgery," Berger said.

Six months after Potts' replacement, he was competing and striking gold with his new hip.

"Actually won the gold medal. Three gold medals," smiled Potts.

And leaving his competition in the dust.

Joint replacements typically last 15 to 20 years. Berger said with his approach, joints are expected to last 20 to 25 years or even longer. He has performed more than 10,000 outpatient joint replacement surgeries.

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