Rob's Story: Hip Replacement

Back to Hockey... After Hip Replacement

Rob Norton, 44, is unsure of the origin of his hip problems, although he suspects it may have been an old injury from hockey, which he has played since he was a kid. For the past half dozen years, his left hip had bothered him more and more. “When I’d walk I’d get a sharp shooting pain that went right through me,” says Norton. “I thought if I stretched and just did my regular workout, it would work itself out over time.”

He didn’t let the pain slow him down, even running a marathon as a 40th birthday present to himself. During a training run, he stepped into a pothole and felt an agonizing pain in his hip, but even that didn’t dissuade him from following through on his challenge. It did, however, finally prompt him to take action.

By the time he saw Joseph McCarthy, MD, at the Kaplan Joint Center, there was little left of the hip besides bone. “There was no cartilage, just bone on bone at that point,” says Norton, the director of sales for Granite Telecommunications and father of two hockey playing boys, ages 10 and 13. A hockey buddy had recommended Dr. McCarthy to Norton, telling him he had felt like a new man after the surgeon replaced his hip.

“Dr. McCarthy is a straight shooter. He told me what we needed to do and what I could expect for recovery. He and the rest of the staff have been dead-on correct about everything,” Norton says. Norton appreciates the emphasis the Joint Center puts on education and vividly remembers his pre-op meeting with nurse Nancy Hiltz, RN. “Often in orthopedics, the doctor shows you an X-ray but you don’t see what he is seeing,” explains Norton. “Nancy shows you the actual apparatus they’re going to put inside you and explains exactly what the surgeons will do. She talks about the post-op period and what to expect. It made the recovery a little less challenging because you know exactly what’s coming.”

After his May 2012 surgery, Norton did 10 sessions of physical therapy and was back to work in 2.5 weeks and back on the ice coaching youth hockey in three months, although he admits his recovery was especially quick. He works out with a trainer every day for stretching and strengthening and has returned to playing hockey in a men’s league and golfing, which he had played less and less as his hip worsened . “I would highly recommend this group because of their professionalism, thoroughness and skill set,” says Norton. “I’m back to doing things better than before surgery. I feel fantastic.”

To make an appointment or find out more about the Kaplan Joint Center at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, please call us at 855-KNEE-HIP (855-563-3447) or email us

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