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Evelyne Janz, 58 years old, is one of those people for whom sport is simply part of her life. When she started to feel stabbing pains during a ski and snowshoe tour in the Valais mountains, she knew that the arthrosis in her hip joint had reached a new degree of severity. She needed to do something in order to be able to continue enjoying sport in the future.
In the following article, she reveals how, thanks to her new hip joint, she was able to return to her previous high level of performance and take part in the glacier marathon "Patrouille des Glaciers" twice over the next four years.
I would describe myself as a sporty person who enjoys conquering the Swiss Alps during all four seasons. Being active and practising sport are part of my lifestyle. Without sport I feel as though something is missing.
It hit me really hard in 2012 when I was away for a few days on a ski and snowshoe tour with a group in the Valais mountains. At 3,030 metres above sea level my body almost forced me to leave the tour. Stabbing pains made every step a torture. I had known for a long time that I was suffering from arthrosis but somehow I didn't want to accept the truth. I had always been used to being active. My greatest fear was having to give up this freedom and my active lifestyle.
Just three weeks later, Dr. Jaques Vallotton of Clinique Bois-Cerf in Lausanne confirmed my suspicions and diagnosed arthrosis in my right hip joint. My cartilage was completely worn away, which was causing the non-stop stabbing pains. Even sleeping had become a painful experience. Treatment without surgery, such as cortisone injections, would have been no help to me. Dr. Jaques Vallotton advised me to undergo surgery to implant an artificial hip joint.
"The operation to insert the artificial hip joint went smoothly. We were able to access behind the hip by means of a minimally-invasive incision and implant the prosthesis directly in the bone without using cement," Dr. Valloton who performed the operation explained to me. I was able to stand up the very same day and there were no complications.
Just two days after the intervention I was able to put weight on the new joint. After five days I walked out of the hospital on crutches and did everything I could to make sure I returned to my former fitness level quickly. My goal was to climb the mountains again. Dr. Vallotton encouraged me: "The success of a replacement hip joint also depends upon the patient's fitness level." I took rehabilitation very seriously. The physiotherapy exercises were carried out in water and on land. What's more, I swam nearly every day in addition to walking my rounds. This helped me to build my muscles back up quickly. The following winter I was back on my skis. I was able to enjoy the ski tours and slopes again at a comfortable pace.
At first I was scared that I would no longer be able to practice sports as I had done before, which would have meant a drastic change in lifestyle for me. These initial fears were unfounded. Two years later I was once more able to enjoy sporting success: In 2014 and 2016, I ran the glacier marathon "Patrouille des Glaciers" from Arolla to Verbier without experiencing any pain. I now know that my life would have been completely different without this operation.