Pilates exercises with fused hip

by Debra


I have had a surgical Arthrodesis of left hip(fusion) at the age of about 1 year, due to undiagnosed Osteomyelitis.

I therefore have no hip joint or socket. I have now just turned 52 and over the last 3 years my life has been turned upside down.

I collapsed at work without losing consciousness and the my doctor finally sent me to a neurologist who thought it might be epilepsy, which I had suspected wasn't.

Over that year I "collapsed" in total of 60 times.

It was during that time that my friend, who is an aromatherapist noticed bruising over my left iliac bone. I also noticed numbness over the left buttock, weakness of left leg, and then the pain set in.

I have disc degeneration of my lower spine and I am still undergoing various tests.

I am pretty sure my fused hip, over 51 years is the root cause of all this and am seeking a surgeon who might be able to unpick and reconstruct hip, but it is a risky and complex operation and all the orthopedic doctors I have seen will not do it.

I am slim, very aware of nutrition and correct posture, i.e. sitting and standing and have always tried to stand as straight as possible.

I am frustrated that I cannot walk from my hips or sit correctly even though I know the right way to do so.

Up until 3 years ago I have managed pretty well due to staying slim and active, i.e. love gardening, walks etc, but all of this is now becoming increasingly difficult.

I have been put on Tramadol and am not happy with the amount of painkillers I am having to take, I am also unable to work as I find sitting causes pain, as well as standing still, so am also having to look at what work I could do from home.

I also have scoliosis of the spine.

I am so determined to help myself and get fed up seeing and reading all the exercises and advice for back ache, since most of them I simply cannot do.

Have you ever encountered someone with fused hip and do you have any hip exercises to recommend?

Hope to hear from you, as I am really have a tough time, whilst trying to remain hopeful.

Kind regards, Debra


Hello Debra and very sorry to hear of your painful condition.

After reading some of the research on hip fusions its seems that most people start having knee, hip, and back pain about 26 years after the fusion.

You have made it well past! One thing to be happy about.

Now, you are feeling the effects of the arthritis and degeneration that has set in.

You have probably lost some strength in the muscles that support your hip, which is common in a fusion as there is lack of mobility.

Especially the abductors of your hip, which takes the leg out to the side.

I would recommend doing weight bearing exercises on that leg that do not cause you pain. Also, work on strengthening the muscles of the other leg and doing Pilates or core based exercises to help with back pain.

Swimming or walking in the pool might give you some relief.

I will attach some pages here for you to review.

Again, pick and choose those exercises that do not give you more pain. There may be only a few that you can do to start with. If you have a Pilates practitioner in your area I would recommend seeing one for an evaluation.

Exercises for Arthritis Hip Pain relief.

Pilates bridge for pelvic support.

Hip Joint Exercise for Support and Stability in the Hips.

Best Regards,
Jennifer Adolfs

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Oct 12, 2022
Posture problems NEW
by: Anonymous

Had my left hip fused at age 16, in 1969 due to a slipped epiphysis that would not regenerate. The Mayo Clinic ortho. Dr. Suggested a hip replacement but all other ortho. consultants highly recommended hip fusion. I was assured there would be very few physical restrictions. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I was an avid bike rider, and loved many sports as I was fairly competitive. The biggest regret I’ve had in my life was choosing a hip fusion. As I’ve gotten older I’ve had to deal with 3 damaged lower back discs. My posture is horrible and regular back pain. I struggled with bedwetting and some daytime wetting growing up and as that had only gotten somewhat better in my late teens. By my mid twenties the bedwetting returned to a nightly problem and daytimes things had gotten worse. The lower back disc problems only magnified the problem and for the last 30+ years I’ve been functionally incontinent. I’ve adjusted to living with this and being in diapers 24/7 isn’t as bad as one might expect. To me this condition is manageable. My urologist says I have a neurogenic bladder, that I was probably born with which goes a long way to understanding that condition. Surgery has been suggested however my history of going under the knife has been pretty poor and the suggested results are just a "maybe" solution, no thanks.
My biggest concern is my posture as to straighten up my back means swinging my left leg forward 10" or so. I’m really trying to find a solution for this. I have tried various back braces which only have a minor affect. I have a yoga ball that I will lay over backwards and can really feel that but produces few results. I used to have almost daily back pain issues but after dropping some 30 pounds 15+ years ago I am pretty slim now which has gone a long way to reduce back pain. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jan 24, 2021
Fused Hip NEW
by: Anonymous

I had a right hip fusion when I was 18yrs old and I am 50 now. Keeping my lower Back strong with back extensions has been essential to being active. I also do leg extensions and leg curls but find that I have to back off those every now and then. I was most active and strongest when I was swimming and highly recommend that. My goal is to get back to swimming once this pandemic is over. I do stretch my lower back by lying face down and pushing up with my hands and holding. I also do pelvic tilts just while standing with little or no weight on my fused leg. Core exercises and making sure your lower back is strong are the most important.

Jul 26, 2020
Fused hip also NEW
by: Sharon Fawcitt

I’ve had problems with right hip for last 35 years (since age28). Hip cannot be replaced -long story. Anyway - swimming has been life saving. Builds up the muscles which help to support surrounding joints, knees and lower back, shoulders etc all of which are impacted.
If I can’t go, then I suffer. I just do 30 minutes (20 x 50m) once a week. I’m sure more often would be even better.

And I have a wonderful osteopath who keeps me going too.

I also have my shoe raised - which helps.
Good luck.

Nov 28, 2018
Fused hip 22 years
by: Anonymous

Had my hip fused after i was hit by a car when i was 13 , most doctors i see cant believe my doctor fused my hip , but he was and still is a top surgeon .. anyone ice skate ? And riding a bike seems imposible , would love to here about modifications to bikes !!!

Jul 11, 2018
Hip fusion
by: Stephs

Hello I too want to share my experience with hip infusion I was 51 years old when I had shingles which caused me to have stiff person syndrome I fell and broke my hip and my back shattered my pelvis I sent have have been having a hard time with getting much range of motion from my hip but getting in the water has helped but I do know that using a physical therapist does not help what we need to use is a personal trainer because they have better technique of getting movement out of your legs I will be speaking with my specialist today about reversing the fusion for total hip replacement

Mar 20, 2018
Exercises left hip fused - 49 years ago
by: Anonymous

At 17 y/o my left hip was fused at Hospital for Special Surgery. I was blessed to have the very best surgeon perform my operations and the support of my family and friends.

Fortunately, I played lots of different sports before breaking my hip; so my balance and coordination was honed.

Over the years I played half court basketball and lots of doubles tennis and swam miles and miles. I became a life guard, Water Safety Instructor and an Adaptive Water Safety Instructor (physical and mentally challenged students). In my 20's I even travelled / hitchhiked Europe at least twice with a 60 - 70 lb backpack.

Swimming laps I often used a pair of my scuba diving rocket fins and a kicked board. I used a number of kicking styles to strenghten both my knees and legs. I would also kick using only my left leg.

For the past 2+ years I lead a water aerobics class.

About 2 weeks ago I got hit from behind on my left side. Took about 8+ days before I went from 2 to 1 to no crutches. Have about 2 more weeks with the physical therapist.

Afer reading everyone's comments, I definetly missed a major bullett.

The water aerobics is excellent exercise but I feel that swimming laps with my kick board and fins is needed.

Will also incorporate the various exercises from my physical therapist.

I have about a 1 3/4 inch lift on the left shoe. My Italian cobbler retired after 47 years of doing my shoes. Have yet to find someone close to his expertise. Gave someone 3 pairs of shoes and got back 3 different measurements!??!?

While at The Ohio State University, to get around campus I rode an old bicycle. I raised the seat and handlebars. A welder cut down the left shaft so that I could make a full rotation sitting down and off I went. Had a friend make a pedal that I hope I can attach to any bike without cutting the shaft. If so, I will ride a bike around the neighborhood this summer.

During the summer, I still mow my 1/2 - 3/4 acre lawn using a self propelled walk behind mower. Then there are raking leaves in the fall.

I also walk our dog everyday for about 30 minutes.

If I extend myself I will take a couple advil, heat up my rice sock and lie on the floor for awhile. Having always had a 'good' mattress has more than paid for itself over the last 49 years.

Sleeping with a pillow between my knees / thigh has always been a must for support.

More often not, I wear my left shoe around the house.

As I age, I need to continue to make sound decisions and not do something 'stupid'- realize any new limitations.

Thank you for letting me share.

Aug 02, 2016
Hip fusion
by: Bob Egan

I've had a left hip fusion for over 20 years now and have adjusted pretty well . I still get frustrated with my lack of mobility at times . I did find a bike (3g stepper ) that i can ride , which has helped . But there are so many activities that i miss ! I guess what in saying is Thank you for posting this ! I always felt so alone with my difficulties and felt not many people can identify. I am currently trying to get my skydiving certification, but my hip poses many obstacles ! I will try to improve my mobility through these exercises. Thank you all for sharing. I know now that im not alone !

Jul 01, 2015
by: Anonymous

I also have a fused hip, though mine is my right one. I have consulted with numerous doctors because my body rejected the fusion: basically causing continuing chronic knee and back pain ever since I had the fusion.

A lot of the troubles I have with exercises is that they are based on having mobility, which those of use with a fused hip do not have.

So for exercises, I concentrate on strengthening my other leg and stretching the muscles that are connected. Yes it hurts, but after a while of doing them it gets better.
For my hip that is fused I try to work on weight bearing exercises and do a lot of lower leg exercises.
I also do a lot of abdominal and back strengthening and stretching exercises: definitely use a yoga ball and yoga mat. It helps take some of the pressure off your "hip"

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