Jake Johnson was an avid tennis player before pain from a degenerative hip joint took him off the courts. When his doctor said that he needed total hip replacement surgery, he thought his tennis playing days were over. But were they?

In the past, most surgeons recommended against playing tennis after a hip replacement. Today, artificial hip construction has been improved to withstand more stress. Hip replacement is also being performed on younger people with less joint damage. Changes such as these have caused doctors to rethink some of their advice about playing tennis after a hip replacement.

After your surgery, be aware that your physician is not going to give you the go-ahead to play competitive tennis. Even singles social tennis is strongly discouraged, but it may be possible for you to play a set or two of social doubles on a regular basis.

The greatest risks to playing tennis with an artificial hip include causing excessive wear on the new joint surface, dislocating or fracturing the hip, and possibly loosening the joint. These risks must be evaluated on an individual basis.

If and when you can return to the courts depends on

• the degree to which the hip joint had degenerated before surgery

• your overall bone health

• whether you received a cemented or uncemented replacement joint

• your dedication and response to an appropriate rehabilitation program

Before you return to tennis, golf or any other sport, we can develop a progressive, realistic and manageable physical therapy program that will strengthen appropriate muscles and help minimize risk. Gradually, you hopefully will experience a successful recovery for your hip and reach the point where you may be able to get back on the court for a friendly set of social doubles.