Over his eight-year career as a rodeo clown, Robert Dutruch took a lot of hard hits.
After retiring, Dutruch’s left hip constantly reminded him of the regular contact he made with bulls in the arena.
“I was literally dragging my left leg almost behind me,” says Dutruch, now a 59-year-old medical salesman and photographer in Covington.
A degenerative hip condition had caused so much damage doctors told him his only option was a hip replacement. But Dutruch put off the surgery until the pain was unbearable.
“You get tired of getting up in the morning and hurting so bad,” he says.
The number of Americans requiring joint replacement surgery grows every year.
Between 1993 and 2009, the number of total knee replacements more than tripled, while total hip replacements doubled, according to a study published last month in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
Joint replacement surgeries are expected to continue increasing steadily over the next two decades, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons predicts. One study links the rise in artificial joints to obesity, while some doctors point to the active lifestyles of the Baby Boom generation.