Is it “Hip” to Get Surgery?

Brian Baker

Could it be that one day, those competing at Wimbledon will be divided into two groups, one for those who have had hip surgery, and one for those who haven’t? It’s doubtful, but the list of those going under the knife to alleviate hip pain is growing. The good news is that as technology has improved, having hip surgery no longer means your career is over.

Nashville native Brian Baker is a perfect example. He’s a veteran of three hip surgeries, yet he’s gearing up for Wimbledon. His surgeon, Dr. Thomas Byrd here in Nashville, had some interesting comments about the hip joint.

Doctors have since discovered that many issues stem from a deeper structural problem in the joint itself — a condition sometimes exacerbated and accelerated by the repetitive wear-and-tear of world-class athletics.

“The hip has been the weak link in the system,” said Thomas Byrd, a leading orthopedic surgeon who pioneered the technique for performing arthroscopic surgery on the hip. Nashville-based Byrd has operated on dozens of athletes, including Baker, Norman and Kuerten.

“It’s been a kind of black box, a mystery,” he adds when compared to knees, shoulders and backs.

I think it’s interest that Dr. Byrd considers the hip joint the “weak link.” I’ve always considered it to be one of the strongest, if not the strongest, joints in the body. It’s surrounded by huge musculature yet maintains an incredible range of motion. We at Egoscue think of it as the “second brain” of the body–it provides support and stabilization for the upper-half while being the locomotor for the lower-half. It’s also home to the iliopsoas (a.k.a. the hip flexor), the only muscle in the body that connects to the upper body, the middle body and the lower body because of the lumbar spine, pelvic, and femur attachments.

I’m curious why Dr. Byrd calls it a “black box, a mystery.” If we focus on the body as a whole, I believe a lot of the mystery behind the body dissipates. If we remember that the foot bone is connected to the leg bone as we work our way up the body, there really is no mystery. We can easily see that the not only is the foot bone connected to the leg bone, but the foot bone is actually connected to the neck bone. The body is a unit. One joint position will impact the other. No more mystery.

As for Nashvillian Brian Baker, I’m excited to see how he performs at Wimbledon! Here’s hoping he brings the trophy back to the Music City. And, Brian, if you want to get the answer to why you’ve needed three surgeries, I’d recommend checking out Egoscue when you get back in town. In the mean time, download 4 Free E-cises to jumpstart your road to recovery.

QUESTION: Who are you pulling for at Wimbledon this year?