Jogging & Returning to Impact Sports by Cory Foulk

Studies show that men who jog at least once a week have roughly 5% denser bones than men who don't jog but are otherwise active.

This could be a chicken or the egg thing; whether the men who naturally take to jogging have denser bones to start, or if the jogging itself causes density changes. What is important here is that a runner will have a different presentation than a non-runner when undergoing a surgical correction like a BHR.

If you have never played football, then taking up football at the age of fifty might not be a good idea. Running is the same. I have been running for more than thirty years at the marathon distance and beyond, and during that time I have seen hundreds and hundreds of weekend warriors come and go, putting bodies that were never designed for running through their paces until the bodies broke. Knee injuries, foot injuries, plantar fascitis, IT syndrome, on and on - all possible signals that your body was not designed to run. I have never suffered an injury from running [beyond an occasional blister]; if I did I doubt I would continue it. Each person has a different genetic package they bring to the table.

In high school, I was almost six foot, and I weighed in at 124. I was a very good swimmer [I became an open water lifeguard in college}, but I could never compete at short distances in the pool with guys who were 6'-2", 190 pounds. I had no chance at football, where the guys were running 6'-1" to 6'-7" and from 200 to 260 pounds. Yet I could run all day long, mile after mile, never had any trouble breathing despite the altitude [I lived in Colorado] or anything else. Today I am six feet tall and I weigh a lot more - about 158 pounds - and I am still running, still swimming. But I am not the same body type as many, so I cannot advocate for them as runners.

I never once thought that the football players should stop playing football because they were continually injured. I know many of them today who can barely get around because of their football days. I just never played football because my body was the wrong body for that.

When I hear of a runner who is continually injured, I don't think, man, they need to get new shoes. I think, man, they need another sport. I don't believe running is reserved for lean people or tall people or short people or anything else, but I do believe that there are bio-mechanics that work and ones that don't. My father hates to jog, always has - yet he's a great basketball player. I could never play basketball well - I can't jump. Each body is different.

For me as a BHR patient, I think that it is important to act in support of each individuals efforts, and not fall prey to lumping everybody into a one size fits all program. Not everybody enjoys running; that doesn't make running bad. Not everybody enjoys gardening either - or horseback riding, or long walks or surfing or whatever. None of those are bad if you have the right body and frame of mind and they 'turn you on'. There is no data to conclude you will suffer more - or less - femoral neck fractures running than walking - or driving, or riding a horse or anything else. In one of the most highly blogged cases, the guy rose from his seat too fast in the airport and fractured the femoral neck. I never once thought that this meant I was to remain seated for the rest of my life to eliminate that risk.

I believe that because of my higher bone density from running, I was able to load my relined hip sooner than might be prudent for someone who hasn't that level of bone density. I also came back very quickly from surgery - but remember I finished the Ultraman World Championships in first place in my division three weeks to the day before I went under the knife. This means I brought a significant level of fitness to the recovery process - more fitness than anyone else in the world in my age group, actually, as defined by the World Championships. With this fitness there is a body awareness that non-athletes might not have, a sensitivity to what feels 'right' and what doesn't - what you can get away with and what you should stop. There is a diet component that might not be reflected in what most people eat, a sleeping pattern, - a lot of different elements that modify the way my body or another's might react and recover.

I love that I have my life back. I love that so many people I have met either in person or virtually have gotten theirs back, too. I remember how sad it was when I flew to Colorado to ride a horse for what I thought was the last time; when I competed in a few triathlons for the sole purpose of saying goodbye to the sport I had grown up with. I remember hating to go to the movie theater because it just was not possible to sit in those seats with joint disease. I used to hate to go to the office because I had to sit in a chair and it hurt. I was getting to where I hated - everything.

Life isn't like that now, for me. I hear astonishing motivational stories all the time these days, and I hear of lives turned around by a simple technology in the hands of some very skilled surgeons. I see guys like Rick Rubio and they just blow my mind with what they are doing, never looking back. Unreal. But the Rick's and Dru's are no more impressive than the gal who can take her grandkids to the supermarket again, or the guy who can go back to work when he was heading toward total disability. Cool on all of us.

Cory Foulk
RBHR Bose 21 Dec 05