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Wondering whether you can still ride your motorcycle with a hip replacement? Then you’ve found the right place!
I’m going to reveal all the good, the bad, and the ugly bits about riding with a prosthetic hip.
Hint: you will be able to get back on your bike. We’ll talk about how.
- Can I Ride a Motorcycle With a Hip Replacement?
- Does It Matter Which Hip Was Replaced When You Ride a Motorcycle?
- Will Riding a Motorcycle With a Hip Replacement Be Comfortable?
- Getting Back On Your Motorcycle
- How to Look After Your New Hip (So You Can Get Back On Your Bike)
- Should You Have a Motorcycle Passenger After a Hip Replacement?
- The Best Type of Motorcycle Seat For a Hip Replacement — Tallboy, Sundown, Saddleman?
- The Pros and Cons of Riding a Motorcycle With a Hip Replacement
- Is Riding a Motorcycle With a Hip Replacement For Me?
Can I Ride a Motorcycle With a Hip Replacement?
In short, yes. However, it’s not quite as simple as that. Everyone’s situation is different, so there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all answer and will largely depend on doctor’s orders and how you feel physically.
With a bit of physical therapy, grit, and determination, you’ll be back on the open road flying around in no time. While I can’t give you advice for your specific circumstance (I’m no doctor), I’m going to give you general tips, tricks and reports that have helped others get back where they belong.
Does It Matter Which Hip Was Replaced When You Ride a Motorcycle?
Yes it can matter which of your hips was replaced. Some riders that have had their right hip replaced reported that didn’t they didn’t have too many issues, for reasons I discuss below. Other riders that had a left hip placed reported that they had to wait longer to ride.
This was to ensure that they had built up sufficient strength from physical therapy and other therapeutics. built up more.
Of course there’s a ton of different reasons why the right hip isn’t as much of a problem as a left hip replacement and the answer is fairly simple.
Anyone who’s been riding a motorcycle for any length of time knows that your left left leg (or left side of your body) will be doing most of the work.
Simple. The kickstand is on the left side of the motorcycle and the motorcycle leans to the left. This means that your left leg and hip will be working harder than your right.
- You stand on your left leg to swing the right leg over the seat.
- You use your left to push the motorcycle upright off of the kickstand.
Once you have the bike upright it’s more of a shared load on the body.
Will Riding a Motorcycle With a Hip Replacement Be Comfortable?
If you were to jump the gun and start riding your motorcycle too quickly, the chances of the journey being less than enjoyable are pretty high. Especially if you plan on riding for long stretches of an hour or more.
However, some people will find riding uncomfortable for several weeks following the surgery.
I’d suggest (and so would your doctor) that you don’t jump onto your bike until at least 6 weeks have passed. After this time, your risk of dislocation is significantly lower.
You might take a total of 9 weeks post hip replacement surgery to ride “properly” again. I’ll be honest though — it will most likely still be mildly uncomfortable. But, the worst of it will be over in no time.
Left hip replacement? Be extra careful – Remember your left leg/hip is the one you stand on to swing your leg over the motorcycle and the leg that pushes the bike vertical off of the kickstand.
Getting Back On Your Motorcycle
Here’s how you can go from no riding to riding as comfortably as possible with your hip replacement.
#1 Keep Up With PT
I’m going to go over this in the next section so I’ll keep it brief.
Whatever your physical therapist tells you to do, do it. Even when nobody is nagging you to perform ankle pumps, still go ahead and do it anyway. From what I’ve heard, people contribute most of their riding success post-surgery to this!
#2 Stationary Balancing
At the 6-week mark, start to practice mounting, sitting, and dismounting your bike. A lot of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best happened here. You might find that your saddle isn’t right from your hip so…
#3 Modify Your Seat
Switch up your seat to a sundowner for Harley riders. For Goldwing riders you can look at the saddlemen road sofa. A third option no matter what you ride is to take the seat in and have the foam replaced.
I talk about the pros and cons of each later on.
#4 Short Rides
After all that, you can finally start going on rides and the rest will be history!
Remember to listen to your doctors orders and your body.
How to Look After Your New Hip (So You Can Get Back On Your Bike)
Doing a load of physical therapy and sticking to the insanely long list of things to avoid post-op isn’t my idea of a good time either.
But, performing the exercises (even when no one is looking) will ensure you can start touring again as soon as possible.
You’ll be given a list of the dos and don’ts by your doctor, but here’s a summary of all that medical speak:
- Don’t bend your hip at a right angle.
- Don’t twist your hips or do anything that requires a swiveling motion.
- Try not to lay on the side of your hip replacement.
- Avoid applying pressure to your hip on the days after your surgery.
- Don’t sit on low chairs or toilet seats. You’ll be able to purchase a high, modified seat from your healthcare provider.
- Avoid high-impact sports for the foreseeable.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crosses as the promotes dislocation.
The specific exercises you’re asked to do will depend on your situation and the physical therapist. Regardless, make sure you do them every day (sometimes multiple times a day) to ensure you recover quickly.
Should You Have a Motorcycle Passenger After a Hip Replacement?
For those of you who tour with your wife, girlfriend, friend, or child, having a motorcycle passenger is a must.
Ideally, you should ask your doctor about this. However, I’d say go for it if you’re strong enough. Remember that a passenger is an extra weight which you’ll need to compensate for.
I’d get a few solo post-replacement rides out of the way before you tackle the passenger side of things.
The Best Type of Motorcycle Seat For a Hip Replacement — Tallboy, Sundown, Saddleman?
Again, another convoluted answer as there are advantages and disadvantages to both saddles. The
Sundowner seat (for Harleys) give you the feel of more legroom, which can be nice following a hip replacement. It will give you an armchair-esque comfort level.
They also tend to have extra padding to aid comfort in the buttocks and hips by reducing pressure build-up.
On the flip side, sundown saddles are wider and your butt ends up sitting lower than your legs. As mentioned earlier, it’s best to keep your hips aligned, rather than straddling anything too wide. However, as your recovery progresses, you might not be too worried about this.
Tallboy seats are just that — taller. You will be sitting higher and further from the front of the bike than with the aforementioned sundown. This keeps your hips more aligned, promoting healthy recovery.
However, they have significantly less padding so more pressure will be applied to your prosthetic.
The Saddleman Road Sofa is a good option for those that ride a Honda Goldwing that features a split cushion saddle with lumbar support and optional backrest. The seat has gel instead of foam for both the driver and passenger.
Don’t want to replace your seat? You can also look into getting a motorcycle seat pad as a less expensive alternative.
The Pros and Cons of Riding a Motorcycle With a Hip Replacement
I’m sure this is the part you were dreading when considering “can I ride a motorcycle with a hip replacement”. The risks versus the rewards.
In my opinion, the rewards largely outweigh the risks but have a look below to see for yourself.
- You will be able to do what you do best. There’s nothing worse than being told you aren’t allowed to carry on your passion (especially after you’ve been in the game for years!).
- You still get to spend time with the people you’ve been touring with.
- Depending on your situation and the length of time since your operation, there is an increased risk of dislocation.
- You might feel weaker than you did pre-surgery. If this is the case, you might want to hold off on motorcycle riding until the physical therapy exercises truly do their job.
- It might be painful. At the very least, it will likely feel different from prior experiences.
- You may need to spend money on a new saddle.
- You might have to install a cane rack so you can function when you need to refuel. Although, you could purchase a retractable cane that can fit in the trunk.
While the list of cons is longer than the pros, nothing outweighs the “still being able to satisfy your passion”. They don’t mean that you can’t ride, it just means that you may need to wait longer and purchase additional items to make you more comfortable.
Is Riding a Motorcycle With a Hip Replacement For Me?
At the end of the day, answering the infamous “can I ride a motorcycle with a hip replacement” question is convoluted. It comes down to how you feel with your new hip and your doctor’s recommendations. As a reminder, have a plan to be able to lift your motorcycle up off of the ground in case you drop it.
With that being said, modifying your motorcycle’s seat and sticking to your physical therapy plan are great ways to make sure you can comfortably get back in the saddle. It might take longer than you’d prefer, but it’ll pay off in the long run.
After all, prosthetic hip or not, I’m sure you can’t imagine a life without touring.