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Pain Takes a Hike Thanks to Adventurer’s New Hips

Charles Irion

By the time Paradise Valley resident Charles Irion hit his early 40s, he had the worn out hips of someone twice his age, yet the ongoing zest for life of someone half his age.

In fact, the adventurer, author and entrepreneur was lacing up his hiking boots at 60 years old to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro—Africa’s highest mountain.

What made this possible? Hip replacement surgery at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center’s Total Joint Center.

A former cross-country runner, motorcycle rider, hiker, skydiver, climber and all-around devotee to living life with gusto, Charles experienced severe hip degeneration early in life. Thinking he was far too young for hip replacement, he lived with the pain of his hip bones rubbing against each other due to the deterioration of their cushioning cartilage. For years, he limped and constantly shifted his weight to relieve the discomfort that frequently woke him at night.

At age 51, Charles had had enough. He began interviewing doctors and ultimately chose Scottsdale Healthcare board-certified orthopedic surgeon Stuart Kozinn, MD to replace one of his hips. Pleased with the results, he returned to Dr. Kozinn later to replace the other hip.

“I talked to a lot of my neighbors who are anesthesiologists, and everyone had a profound respect for Dr. Kozinn’s abilities and expertise. When I met with him, he matter-of-factly answered all of my questions and wasn’t pushy,” says Charles.

After living in pain for nearly two decades, Charles had lost a lot of his flexibility—something that physical therapy and rehabilitation through Scottsdale Healthcare’s Total Joint Center helped him regain.

“I’m now free of pain. Hip replacement has been a god-send,” Charles says.

Not surprisingly, he encourages others with hip degeneration not to put off the hip replacement surgery that can return their mobility and restore their enjoyment of life.

“Pain and the stress it causes can impact your quality of life and shorten your lifespan. If you spend years in pain, you don’t get that time back. There are multiple benefits to stepping up and doing something sooner rather than later,” Charles says.

After attempting to climb Mount Everest in 1987 before his hip replacement, Charles successfully tackled Mount Kilimanjaro in July of 2011. His first major climbing expedition with his new hips, the adventure was Charles’ way of celebrating his 60th birthday, as well as conducting research for the last book in his series of murder mysteries that take place on the world’s seven highest mountains.

It’s all thanks to Dr. Kozinn and hip replacement surgery at Scottsdale Healthcare.

“I could have gone anywhere. But the quality of care, the staff and the facilities were great at Scottsdale Healthcare. That’s why I went there?not just once, but twice,” Charles says.

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