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Broken Hip. How long before I can ski?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Had an x-ray yesterday 7 weeks after the break and the doctor says no mountain biking or skiing for at least another 6 months.
I had 3 screws inserted from the top of femur into the ball of the hip.
I'm so fed as we have booked a chalet for ourselves and friends in January. There is no way I can go and just sit there watching them coming in after a day of 'on the piste/offpiste' and chatting all night about their adventures.

The worst outcome is that I may have to have a hip replacement in a couple of years, which I'm too young for really.

Anyone else have any advice for me please?

Possibly the best course of action is to wait and try and get some fitness together next year and have a last minute skiing trip.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mrs NBT, no advice, sorry (except maybe seek a second opinion) but my commiserations. About your present predicament and the prospect of a hip replacement.

I would just say that there is no real comparison between the injury-potential in mountain biking and that of gentle skiing on uncrowded pistes. Maybe you could be cleared for a little of the latter? With plenty of nice stops for hot chocolates and lunches?

Possibly the kind of armoured shorts worn by snowboarders would help to protect you from injury?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
6 months only takes you to February, so loads of skiing to be done from then onwards, see if you can move the booking to early March just after the French holidays finish and enjoy the longer days, potentially warmer but still with great snow that March often delivers.
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Mrs NBT, i wonder if your surgeon has ever been skiing?
I agree with pam w: "skiing" encompasses many degrees of activity from the equivalent of a gentle stroll right up to completely bonkers.
And the suggestion of some sort of hip protection seems very sensible
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Mrs NBT, No advice but I do have a friend who still skis competitively at 68 with two replacement hips.
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I have personal experience of rehabbing from a bad pelvic injury (not a broken hip like you), and my advice would be to go and see a decent (recommended if possible) sports physiotherapist to chat through things with even if physio hasn't been suggested by your surgeon/or you had a short course of it after the op. See what they have to say.

Surgeons are great at doing their thing with fixing broken bones, repairing ligaments etc but the advice and treatment of sports physios has been invaluable in my return to sport over the years. Good luck.
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I had a straightforward pelvic fracture (upper and lower pubic rami) and I was skiing later the same season. But a broken hip with ironmongery is a different kettle of fish.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks so much.
The very first surgeon I spoke to in A&E was a skier and was certain I would be able to ski in the new year. However the surgeon who performed the op and his colleague have said no. My physio is saying I should never mtbike again and leave it a year before skiing.

Crochet classes here I come Sad
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Mrs NBT, oh no, I really feel for you.
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Mrs NBT, ditto comment above from NickyJ
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Jonpim wrote:
Mrs NBT, i wonder if your surgeon has ever been skiing?
I agree with pam w: "skiing" encompasses many degrees of activity from the equivalent of a gentle stroll right up to completely bonkers.
And the suggestion of some sort of hip protection seems very sensible

Just like I moaned about on the other thread, if only doctors & surgeons, even therapist would confine themselves to the comment about bone density and strangth, or even potential type of trama to avoid, rather than trying to pretend they know how every patient skis or bikes!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
What they said. I think the NHS is used to dealing with the population. Most of them who are over 21 are not fit, are likely overweight and probably don't take regular exercise - well most of them at my local hospital physio department are in that class. Hence I think that the NHS approach can seem a little conservative: it's designed for those people.

If you asked a surgeon if it would be a good idea to ski at any age, they'd likely say "no".

I have not yet broken anything as serious as a hip, but my attitude has been that I will not accept any limits on what I can do from the odd break. To date that has worked 100%. The NHS will give you a pessimistic prognosis, and it takes effort and work to get sorted, but so long as you don't give up it can be sorted. How long it takes... that's a different story.

That said, most of my mates give up serious downhill mountain biking in their 40s, the injury rate is pretty high for that.
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Mrs NBT wrote:
Had an x-ray yesterday 7 weeks after the break and the doctor says no mountain biking or skiing for at least another 6 months.
I had 3 screws inserted from the top of femur into the ball of the hip.
I'm so fed as we have booked a chalet for ourselves and friends in January. There is no way I can go and just sit there watching them coming in after a day of 'on the piste/offpiste' and chatting all night about their adventures.

The worst outcome is that I may have to have a hip replacement in a couple of years, which I'm too young for really.

Anyone else have any advice for me please?

Possibly the best course of action is to wait and try and get some fitness together next year and have a last minute skiing trip.


Sounds like a sub capital fracture of the femur. Has the potential to go back to virtually normal or fail to heal and the bone soften.
The priority is to get it to heal and the rehab, then finally check the bone remains healthy.

There are too many variables in a fracture like this to give accurate advice without " knowing" the fracture. I would be very surprised if a surgeon ( even one who skiis) would be happy for you to be skiing new year or even next season. The risk if the fracture fails are fairly significant.

I would ask you surgeon but wait at least 3 months so he/ she can get any idea if it is healing as quickly as hoped for.

Jonathan Bell
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Jonathan Bell, Spoilsport! Sad

But if i was given sensible easy-to-understand advice like that, then i would follow it to the letter.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

most of my mates give up serious downhill mountain biking in their 40s, the injury rate is pretty high for that.

certainly is. I know a few not-serious mountain bikers, all of whom have come crashing off their bikes at some point, so far without major injury. But it must be one of the most hazardous sports going. After my pelvic fracture, when I was diagnosed with some bone thinning, I decided to stop snowboarding because of the big crashes one has (I did, at any rate). And if I had been a mountain biker I'd have stopped that, too. I got a badly swollen and painful knee in January after a long day off piste skiing in La Grave with lots of falls - none of them hurt much, but getting up, in very deep snow, was hard on the knee. Now just had meniscus tear trimmed (two days ago - sitting with knee covered in ice at this very moment) and have decided not to do off piste skiing - in the hope that this means I have a good few years of less punishing piste skiing left in me. It's difficult sometimes to know which decisions are sensible, as one grows older and collects injuries, and which are just "copping out".

I hope your progress is good, Mrs NBT - I get the impression you're a lot younger than I am, so I can understand your frustration.
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I have a friend who is a paramedic and gets called out with the local mountain rescue squad. He says the vast majority of call outs are to retrieve broken MTBers (or NTBers)
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Jonathan Bell, thanks for that. The break is indeed Neck of Femur, and we've got follow up appointments pencilled in for the next couple of years to check for AVN - the next one is due in early Jan, clashing with our already-booked trip to Les Manures. will see what the surgeons say at that appointment, hopefully we'll get a week in later in the season
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Mrs NBT, I recall reading about the initial accident but I've forgotten the details - how did it happen?
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Mrs NBT, I am so sorry to hear about your hip, I am sitting here with a broken ankle and I am certainly not going to moan about it anymore. I hope it heals well and soon.
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Jonathan Bell, Thanks for the info.
The worry is if the red blood capillarie die off around the ball and socket joint. If this is the case future x-rays will show that I will need a hip replacement.
Annoyingly is the fact I am an active person and try to look after myself, however in this case there is nothing I can do to help the situation.

pam w, I fell heavily on a very slippery playground surface chasing a friend's 3 year old down a hill, feet went up and I crashed down.
I now am going to have a dexa scan to check if I'm the type to have osteoporosis.

On another incident this numpty broke her humerus at the cuff (riding my nephew's micro stunt scooter down a hill, crashing at the bottom while trying to turn a corner with too much speed). I was told not to go skiing, however I did ignore this advice and went 5 months after the accident and was extremely careful. This time I really think it's different and I shouldn't ignore the advice Sad
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Swissie, Thanks.
I hope you mend soon.
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Quote:

I now am going to have a dexa scan to check if I'm the type to have osteoporosis.


I was wondering about that. I had a dexa scan too, following my fracture (the usual thing, following a relatively low trauma fracture in an older woman.......) and it showed that I don't have osteoporosis but I do have a sort of precursor, known as osteopenia. I tried some tablets prescribed by my GP but I had a bad reaction to them (first time I've ever had any side effects from any drug - I was not expecting that) so I stopped taking them. Prescribed Calcium and Vit. D tablets and high impact exercise - but that's not so good for the joints. So swimming, cycling - no use at all for the bones, though good for other things. Are you thin? Thin people are more likely to get osteoporosis.

I was lucky with a very simple fracture - yours sounds really nasty and needs looking after. Don't take any risks with it.
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Quote:

Are you thin? Thin people are more likely to get osteoporosis.

Yes and have lost half a stone (this is muscle since the accident). One of the first thing the doctor asked in A&E, was had I lost any weight recently. We had cycled the coast to coast and back in May, so this hadn't helped things.

Been told I can swim, this is hard as I'm still recovering from the humerus fracture as well as the hip. Also been told I can ride a static bike gently, not sure if they mean one of those huge things in a gym, or if I can ride my normal bike on a turbo trainer. Can anyone answer this?
Thanks.
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Mrs NBT, I have no experience of turbo trainers - I guess if you can absolutely guarantee that you won't fall off it would be OK, but using a good static bike might be better - the one in the gym I go to gives you all kinds of data about the way you are cycling, any asymmetry between legs, etc etc. which could be useful after injury.
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Mrs NBT, i used my bike on a turbo trainer under the advice of my physio - that was when i was still on crutches and couldn't drive to the gym
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Mrs NBT, I was wondering how your hip healed. On July 24th, I had a similar hip fracture (severed femoral neck, 3 screws implanted, but told there is a 60% chance I may still need a total hip replacement due to bone not healing and/or AVN as artery to the ball may have been severed), although I am probably older than you (I am 59). Did your bone heal? How long before you could walk without crutches? Were you able to ski the following winter and what has been your experience on skis since the break? I have already purchased my season pass for this winter, so this is an added emotional toll! Also, sounds like you are a cyclist. I normally commute by bike to work, so would be interested to hear how long before you were able to ride a bike on the road again. Would appreciate any insight. Thanks.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Karen555, I can't help with your question, but I can say - Even if it is under these circumstances, welcome to snowheads:)
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Karen555, as @jjams82 said, welcome to Snowheads. It's now been 4 years and physically, you cannot see anything has happened. However - sorry to have to tell you this - things did not go smoothly. Unfortunately the repair did not work as my wife suffered AVN and the bone died. This lead to a total hip replacement three years ago. We didn't ski together in 14/15 after the initial break, nor in 15/16 after the replacement. However we've been out since then - we went to a dry slope in autumn '16 and all went well, so we got two trips in 16/17 and another trip in 17/18 (would have been two but for illness). I'm about to book trips for this season too. Mrs NBT is also back on a bike, both road cycling (we go B&B touring on our tandem) and on the MTB, though psychologically she still does get off on trickier sections that she might have ridden before. It's getting better though. In terms of getting back on a bike, Mrs NBT was first out on the bike in the January after the break - her physio was very "anti" in that she believed life should be lead in an environment where all possible danger is eliminated, whereas we strongly believe that getting out and about in the countryside is far better for you - we hust had to balance the confidence and physical activity against Mrs NBT's recovery. I know from other threads that people with hip issues have been back on bikes within 3 months, it all depends on the person

Fingers crossed all goes well for you
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Interesting update, @nbt - sounds as if it was a long struggle. Ultimately successful, though! Just to add a positive story - my daughter's father in law broke the head of his femur falling off his bike. Had operation to pin it etc etc. Quite long recovery but it healed up fine and he has subsequently done a lot of serious cycling including some kind of mad macho "Masters" thing in Australia and one of the most difficult sections of the TdF earlier this summer. Bonkers. He was in his late 60s when the accident happened. Incidentally, he was not well treated by the commercial firm being paid to provide first aid support to the event in which he was injured. He was bundled into the back of a car in a lot of pain! But still, was fine in the end.
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@nbt, Many thanks for the response. So sorry to hear what a long road to recovery it has been! Glad to hear she is finally back doing the things she enjoys. You are helping me to manage my expectations, however. Just had an x-ray at 4 weeks and the bones are not aligned, so no physio yet and just waiting to see what happens.
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@pam w, Nice to hear about one that worked! It's frustrating to be sidelined, but I guess patience is key with any injury.
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@Karen555, Hello.
First of all can I just say that at 59 you are still considered young and you sound very fit. These things will stand you in good stead for recovering well. Yes it was a long slow process for me, as I couldn't get fitness back due to avn, then having to have the hip replacement and starting all over again.
I would get yourself a good physio ( when you are able and told to start) and start slowly. Sadly there are no shortcuts, patience and maybe a bit of pushing yourself (later on in the recovery period) will help. I used strava to find out how far I was walking each day. It wasn't long before I was onto 1 crutch and then a stick. Riding a bike took a while because you are not allowed to lift your leg past a certain height (it may become dislocated - this is after a hip replacement). I was back on a turbo as soon as they said I could and out on the mtbike when I could (I think it was 9 months after replacement).
I was so lucky because snowheads had recommended a surgeon in Birmingham, who deals with younger, more active patients. My replacement has been amazing and allowed me to eventually get back to all the activities that I love.
As nbt says, its mental health that is as important as physical. If I were unable to ski or ride a bike again, my life would be completely different and I feel I would be in a bad place.
Hopefully you will be back on the slopes for the 19/20 season.
Please feel free to ask any questions, also please keep us updated as to your progress. All the best for your recovery.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
ok so here is my opinion.....from personal experience.

a few years ago I had a complete neck of femur fracture (mtb accident) it happened at the start of July. I was operated on the next day and had a DHS put in, sounds similar to what you have, 3 big screws a metal plate and a threaded rod through the centre of the pelvic section of the femur. I was instructed to be non-load bearing on that leg for 12 weeks.

before and after the operation I was happy to accept that the NHS weren't not in a position to get me back to where I was physically, there job is to get you a basic quality of life back. i.e walking. So I spoke to my surgeon and said whats the best route to get back to being properly active. through a combination of advice from him and a physio provided by occupational health I started physio straight away with non loadbearing exercises to help relearn the nerves which had been damaged in the operation. I was allowed back on a stationary exercise bike after 8 weeks to help with the muscle loss in my left leg.

at around 12 weeks I was allowed off the crutches and onto a walking stick. at this point is was then onto small ankle weights.

at around 16 weeks I was allowed on a road bike again but keeping it gentle, all while increasing the weight training in the gym.

I invested in a set of POC vpd hib shorts, they are pricey but they are the best!

in the January I made the effort tight after new year to head to the snowdome and try my luck, the turn on my bad leg was a bit off but that fine I could work on that.

by the end of January I was in the Alps loving life, only on piste and with hip shorts on.

the next season after more training and recovery I was back to full fitness and hitting the bigger stuff.

My personal advice is PHYSIO PHYSIO PHYSIO, do not cheat it will come back to bite you and buy some POC shorts.
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