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Mike Shintaku - Karate Instructor with Bilateral THR
ma November of 1994, I was scheduled to test for my 5th degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do Karate. Up until that time, I had been teaching karate 4 days a week and I was an active competitor. Early 1994 I had noticed pain in my left hip when I walked and it also began to affect my kicking height. Knowing that I had a test quickly approaching, I decided to have my orthopedic doctor take a look at it to see what I could do to "fix" it.
After taking some X-rays, I was told that I had osteoarthritis and very little cartilage left in my left hip. I asked what I could do about it and was told that I could get a hip replacement. I was also told that replaced hips usually last 10-15 years and you could only do that 3 times. A quick math calculation told me that I might just outlive those three operations. Right at that point and time I didn't feel that was a good option for me. So I decided to wait one cycle before deciding to have the operation.
I read about Glucosamine Sulfate after my doctor visit and began taking the recommended dosage which helped some. I still had some pain but my flexibility had really diminished to the point where I could no longer kick above my waist. The good news is that in spite of my diminished abilities, I passed my black belt test.

For the next 12 years, I put myself on a daily regimen of Glucosamine Sulfate, Condroitin Sulfate, and Methylsulfonyl Methane (MSM). I also tried massage therapy and acupuncture, but neither really helped. I also changed my diet and eliminated the nightshade vegetables from my diet. Potatoes are a nightshade vegetable and I love potatoes! I noticed that every time I did eat potatoes whether baked, fried, mashed, etc. the pain increased and sometimes almost immediately after eating potatoes.
But through the diet and my glucosamine regimen I was able to reduce my pain level significantly. I did have a noticeable limp, I couldn't walk or stand for very long, and if I was on my feet for any extended period of time, I really paid for it and had to supplement with ibuprofen.
During this period I still taught karate 4 days a week, officiated at tournaments, and even hosted a tournament for 6 years. One of the things I heard about glucosamine was that it "could" re-grow cartilage. So after taking it for 12 years, in May of 2006 I decided to see another orthopedic surgeon (my other had retired in the mean time). He told me that now my left hip was bone on bone and was starting to deteriorate and my right hip was getting close to being bone on bone. This shot the glucosamine theory down in huge flames. Right then and there we talked about doing the replacement surgery.
I scheduled and went in for surgery on my left hip on August 14th. A few weeks prior to my surgery a friend called me and related the horror story of his hip replacement. How I should expect a lot of pain, don't even think about getting out of bed for days, all the swelling, all the bruising, and walking... forget about for a while. Learn to use crutches! This made me feel REALLY good about my decision.
ma Mike on the cover in 1983.
My operation was on a Tuesday, Wednesday they walked me down the hall, Thursday I was shown how to go up and down stairs, get in and out of the car, and then released that same day. I used one crutch for one day on Friday, was experiencing no pain at all and began taking short walks in my neighborhood. At my two week follow up visit, I walked in carrying my cane that I kept handy just in case but really never used. After that visit I was allowed to drive and could have returned to work within 3 weeks, but since I had requested 4, who am I to change that.
I waited a year and scheduled surgery for my right hip went in for surgery on Tuesday, August 15th 2007. Does that date sound familiar? It was the exact same Tuesday when I had my left hip done. I told the doctor that this was an anniversary present to myself. But just like my left hip, I was released on Thursday and was back at work within 4 weeks. Since the operations, I had no pain and have gone back to karate training. I don't do the jump kicks anymore and just tell everyone that my doctor says I can jump as much and as high as I want... just don't land!
Because of my extended layoff from training, I had gained weight. On June 1st, 2009 another friend and I found that we both weighed 230 pounds and so we made a bet! The bet was to see who could get down to 200 pound of less by August 1st. We would meet again on August 1st to weigh ourselves at a local karate tournament that we were both planning on attending. After the official weigh in the loser of the bet had to buy dinner... and enter the tournament. Since I'm writing about this, you probably already know that I lost!
Well to make this long story a little shorter, I placed 1st in the 40 and over Forms division and also took the Forms Grand Championship from the young fellas. I also placed 1st in the Men's 40 and over Sparring division and then and to compete against the young lightweight and heavyweight winners. My first match was against the lightweight. Before the match I asked him how old he was. 19 was his reply. Holy Crap, I was 3 times his age! Regardless I won that match and went on to face the Heavyweight who was, I think around 25. Sometimes old age and trickery wins and sometimes it doesn't. This time it came very close with me losing the last point and he winning the match 5 to 4.
All in all my replacement surgeries helped me return to my life albeit with a few limitations, but worth being pain free and active again.
Submitted March 28,2010
Mike Shintaku
7th Dan Master Instructor
(425) 988-3047
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