Local gym coach avoids early retirement thanks to hip procedure

Today, Eddie Carlton is able to keep up with the students in his gym class.

"One of the kids says, 'Coach, how can you catch us this year? You couldn't do that last year,'" Carlton explained.

It all started years ago when Carlton was a young athlete. In high school he played football and was on the wrestling team. He continued with football through college and after graduating, he moved to Texas to begin his teaching career. He got married and had three boys who would grow up to be athletic too.

"So all those years of me training individually, and all those years training the boys until college years, it started taking a little wear and tear on my body," Carlton said.

He started experiencing aches and joint pain in the lower half of his body around five years ago. Over time, it intensified.

"It got to the point I couldn't even walk sometimes. I even had to use a cane occasionally," Carlton told ABC13.

Not the quality of life he was expecting at only 58 years old.

Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital and UTHealth Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Eddie Huang said, "What we're discovering is with the increased activity that younger people are having, they're developing a premature earlier onset of arthritis, sometimes in their 40s and 50s."

Carlton was surprised to learn he needed surgery on both hips. Dr. Huang says there are many facets that need to come together to ensure proper recovery.

"Having them go to joint classes so they know the level of expectation. And I think that, combined so it's the whole physical therapy combined with the nursing coordinated team effort, as opposed to just being the surgeon is really what helps a lot of these patients bounce back very quickly," Dr. Huang explained.

Two weeks after his second hip surgery, Carlton was eager to get back to work and was cleared by the doctor.

"It put me back to where I want to be physically. I get out there and I'm myself again," Carlton said. "It allows me to engage with the students the way I want to. I can chase them, I can run."

Carlton says he's got a new lease on life. As far as retirement, that will have to wait.

If you are interested in learning more about this procedure or to find out if you are a candidate for joint replacement, visit jointpain.memorialhermann.org.