I’m a German Shepherd.

I added a new category called Human Equipment because it’s now playing into the fate of our trip.

A year ago Briana, Julie and I hiked Mt. Whitney. We did it in a day and while it wasn’t easy, none of us came away exceptionally stressed from a physical standpoint. About a week after that hike I had some minor hip pain. I figured all I needed to do was rest and recover, but the pain wouldn’t go away. Being self (and marginally) employed and having an enormous medical deductible, I put off seeing a doctor, who would most likely order xrays and MRIs that showed nothing. I would end up paying a bunch of money just to be told to rest and take NSAIDs. Fuggedaboutit.

Over the course of the past year, the pain never really went away but at least there were days when the hip actually felt normal. I thought it was just soft tissue damage and with a little help of a yoga routine and deep tissue massage, it would eventually go away. Besides, I could still ride.

Recently, my hip kept jamming up on a mild hike. It felt uncomfortable and I had to keep stopping and shaking my leg loose. Huh…the ante appeared to have been upped: The ball and socket were officially announcing their candidacy for President of the Shittiest Body Parts. Just like those ’02 DRZs, I was far from shiny and new, and would require additional troubleshooting.

I finally saw an orthopedic surgeon. Upon viewing my xray the doctor said, “You have hip dysplasia.” To which I said, “Wow, I’m a German Shepherd!” Sadly, the joke was lost on her*. Nothing worse than a wasted joke. Except, maybe, fucked up hips:

In addition to the hip dysplasia the doctor mentioned osteoarthritis, which means I’m not only a German Shepherd, but a senior citizen. I’m ok with being a dog, but slouching towards being an AARP card holder excites me not at all. Old isn’t the problem; decrepit is.

The doctor told me to make an appointment with the hip resurfacing specialist at UCSD. If I have to go down this path, the question will be if I try to get it done ASAP so I can rehab by mid September for the trip (if that’s even possible), do the surgery after the trip (another planned non-riding trip makes this complicated), or postpone the trip until next year. I’m just not going to know until I see the doc (if you’re an orthopedic surgeon, feel free to chime in on what you see above).


* If the joke is also lost on you, google “hip dysplasia” and take particular note of the images. Hint: People don’t have tails.

  1. I have a little of what you have but in both hips. I have long periods with no symptoms when I keep up my muscle therapy, leg exercises amounting to Bruce Lee Taekwondo kicks, muscles we rarely strengthen that rap the hip and help hold the hip in place. Message is OK but not much use without strengthening those band of muscled we hardly ever use around the hips when we get older making only minimal repetitive moves they atrophy unlike children that gazzelle, martial artist or ballet dancers that exercise those support muscles. While you do not need to take up either ballet nor Taekwondo, these exercises even done on a non-schedule impromptu basis will benefit greatly. I now do just a few reps every couple hours of front, back, side leg lifts during my normal “indoor” activities and it has helped me tremendously with strength, low/no pain, and control. I highly recommend to try this in conjunction with stretching as it could make the difference between surgery and manageability. Surgery should be an absolute last option as doctors are mostly speculating on how the designer put you together. Ill also pray for you Zina

  2. Hip osteoarthritis and dysplasia in Chinese

    Article Abstract:

    Chinese from Hong Kong appear to experience hip bone arthritis less than do British. Researchers reviewed the pelvic x-rays of 999 Chinese in Hong Kong, and found that the Hong Kong had half the incidence of hip bone arthritis (5.4%) of British (11%). Chinese and British had similar rates of abnormal tissue development in the hip joint, 14.8% vs. 12.9%. Both groups were 60 to 75 years old. This finding may disprove a theory that the prevalence of abnormal hip joint tissue growth varies around the world. Chinese may experience less hip bone arthritis than do British because Chinese are not as prone to obesity, and because the squatting position common in Asia may protect the hip from developing arthritis.

    **So there is hope and perhaps squatting position is one move that should be included in your yoga routine. George ;^D

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