Hip replacement surgeries return hiker’s joy of the outdoors

The driving force behind Jeanne Kuriyan is her active lifestyle and adventurous spirit.

“I have always been extremely active, with daily trips to the gym, coupled with a love of the outdoors,” said Kuriyan, 72, who lives in Corrales, NM with her husband, Jacob.

“My lifestyle involves a lot of hikes and walks, sometimes through the back woods of the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles (where I grew up) or up the La Luz trailhead in the nearby Sandia Mountains. My idea of a great adventure is to visit Canyonlands National Park in Utah or the Grand Canyon in Arizona and discover their natural wonders on foot – up close and personal.”

But when she started feeling pain in her quad muscles, she became concerned about her ability to not only hike but also to walk comfortably.

“I used to take walks on the Bosque after the gym closed, sometimes eight to nine miles a day,” recalled Kuriyan. “But when shorter one-mile walks became too strenuous, I would tell Jacob, ‘I have to turn around and go back, it’s too painful.’ That’s when I knew I had to seek medical help.”

Orthopedic advice

After months of consulting physical therapists to minimize the pain, Kuriyan visited an orthopedist to X-ray her hips. The orthopedist recognized that her hips had severe “bone-on-bone” osteoarthritis and recommended that both would have to be replaced.

“My hips were shot and the wheels were coming off the wagon,” joked Kuriyan.

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The diagnosis and impending surgeries terrified Kuriyan, as she had never had surgery or even stayed overnight in a hospital. “With all my hiking, I have been very lucky and have never broken a bone.”

This spurred her to conduct a lot of research on the best surgeon, locally and across the country, to perform her surgery. Fortunately, she had a friend – a retired physician – who once had the same condition and did the same research.

“He served as my guide through the process, helping me to select a physician with extensive experience, phenomenal skill and a deep empathy for his patients,” said Kuriyan. “His recommendation was the same surgeon who operated on him – Dr. Christopher Hanosh with Lovelace Medical Group.”

Kuriyan scheduled an office visit with Dr. Hanosh to discuss her condition and talk more about the surgery.

“I met with Dr. Hanosh who patiently answered my endless questions; from the most trivial to the most substantial,” said Kuriyan. “From that first meeting, Dr. Hanosh made me feel secure and confident that this was the right step to take.”

Hip replacement surgeries

Dr. Hanosh confirmed that Kuriyan had osteoarthritis in both hips, which would mean she would have to undergo two surgeries to replace her hip joints.

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows motion and gives the stability needed to bear body weight. The "ball" is the femoral head at the top of the femur (leg bone). The socket area (acetabulum) is inside the pelvis.

Dr. Hanosh replaced the damaged sections with new parts constructed of metal, ceramic and very hard plastic. The smoothness of these new parts will help reduce pain and improve Kuriyan’s mobility.

“My surgeries went superbly,” said Kuriyan. “I had some physical therapy at home after the first surgery but was feeling quite strong within a few weeks. The second surgery followed nine months later. After physical therapy and working with a personal trainer, before and after the surgeries, I feel great with no pain.”

Back on the trails

Now that she has recovered from the surgeries, Kuriyan and her husband are making travel plans.

“I am looking forward to a burst of lovely hikes, amazing adventures and new explorations this year,” she said. “We plan to go birdwatching, one of Jacob’s favorite pastimes, in southern Costa Rica where the colorful tropical birds are like the Toucan, tanagers and hummingbirds.”

“Recently I hiked with a friend at the Grand Canyon,” said Kuriyan. “I have also been hiking in the Colorado Rockies. The mountains bring such peace and serenity to my soul and I have Dr. Hanosh and staff to thank because they delivered that peace back to me.”

Kuriyan recommends Dr. Hanosh with high praise to anyone needing orthopedic surgery.

“From start to finish, Dr. Hanosh and staff were incredible,” stated Kuriyan. “I have referred him to a lot of patients, including some in my water aerobics class. He is a good listener and very empathetic. He is just superb in every way: in communication, skill and expertise and following up.”

“Thanks to Dr. Hanosh, I feel like I have my life back.”

If you are experiencing pain in your knees, hips or other areas, call Lovelace Medical Group Orthopedics at 505.727.4430. You can also read more and schedule an appointment on our Orthopedic Services web page.