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Fast Forward: 69-Year-Old Runner Remains Formidable After Major Hip Surgery | Local News

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Frank Gioia has loved running since he was a teenager.

He ran track and cross-country at Batavia High School and qualified for state cross-country championships 51 years ago.

In his early 30s, he finished sixth out of 1,153 runners at the 1984 Skylon International Marathon.

And he was the Buffalo News Runner of the Year four years ago between the ages of 65 and 69.

Still, his biggest feat to date came in March after major hip surgery when he and three of his running buddies competed at the USA Track & Field Masters Indoor Championships in the age-group 4 x 800-meter relay. It could have been when we broke the record. .

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Frank Gioia runs despite major hip replacement

69-year-old Frank Gioia from Batavia wants to keep running in competitive races after having a revision hip surgery in September 2020 that put him out of more than a year.


Ming Connors/Buffalo News


“I love running and I love competition,” said Gioia, 69. He was a former railroad welder foreman who feared his running days were over when his left hip began to plague him in early 2020.

Instead, he joined the ranks of former tennis player Andy Roddick and basketball great Isiah Thomas, returning to high performance after reconstructive hip surgery.

His surgeon, Dr. K. Keeley Boyle, told Geoia last month after crossing the finish line at the Buffalo Ronald McDonald McDonald House 5K.

“I will never run like I used to,” replied the veteran runner.







Frank Gioia runs despite major hip replacement

Dr. K. Keely Boyle, the orthopedic surgeon who performed resurfacing surgery on Frank Gioia’s left hip, visited him during the Ronald McDonald House 5K in Buffalo. Buffalo Boyle, a clinical assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at his Jacobs University School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said:


Minn Connors / Buffalo News


Joia, who had traveled a lot on her CSX Transportation job for the better part of the 1990s, has spent decades working out several times a week to stay mentally and physically sharp. I’ve been running

That changed in Spring 2020, when I would occasionally experience a dull pain in my left hip joint after running a distance.

By midsummer, it had become more persistent, taking a few days off between runs to make me feel better.

“I got to the point where I had to quit,” he said. “I tried to do it as best I could. I don’t think it helped.”

Joia learned about hip resurfacing from a family friend. He had surgery on his September 10, 2020 in Buffalo.

Boyle recommended it during an office visit after X-rays showed wear and the arthritis had torn the cartilage between the bones in Joia’s pelvis and upper limbs.

“He’s very stoic, but you can tell this really bothered him,” said Boyle, who specializes in hip and knee replacement surgery at UBMD Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.

A graduate of the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Boyle completed his orthopedic residency at the University of Buffalo. She spent a year as a principal investigator at New York City’s Special Surgery Hospital, the best orthopedic hospital in the country, before she returned to New York City to perform Joia’s surgery a few months later.

About 90% of the hip surgeries she performs are replacements, where the ball and socket of the hip joint are removed and replaced with artificial joints made of titanium, ceramic, and plastic that allow for smooth, painless joint movement. Separated by a liner.

Less than 10% of patients are suitable for hip resurfacing. Boyle describes it as “replacement surgery,” in which the injury is excised from the top of the femoral femur, which makes up the ball of the hip joint.

“The ball is reshaped in the operating room with special instruments. A metal cap is then placed over the ball and a metal socket is placed in the pelvis to hold the natural bone on the ball side. To do.”

Although metal-on-metal hip replacement surgery is currently rarely performed in the United States, the FDA has approved one such resurfacing system.

“This is a cast cobalt-chrome femoral head with a cast cobalt-chrome socket attached,” says Boyle. “Also, the geometry of the implants creates a very thin layer of fluid between the two implants so they glide smoothly over each other. , allowing the natural restoration of normal hip biomechanics.”







Frank Gioia runs despite major hip replacement

Frank Gioia ties his shoes and prepares to stretch before the Ronald McDonald House 5K Run in Buffalo on July 27.


Ming Connors/Buffalo News


According to Boyle, the socket side needs to be exchanged in a slightly more horizontal plane than the hip replacement mounting method, which can add about 30 minutes to the hour-plus surgery time of a typical hip replacement. I can do it.

X-rays and other information help the resurfacing surgeon adjust the angle, which varies slightly from patient to patient.

Boyle said three out of four patients go home on the same day for both surgeries.

“The whole experience there was phenomenal,” he said.







Frank Gioia, Skylon International Marathon

69-year-old Frank Gioia from Batavia finished sixth in the 1984 Skylon International Marathon (now the Niagara Falls Marathon). This year’s event will take place in Southern Ontario on his October 23rd.


Photo credit: Frank Gioia


Both have about a 2% failure rate, but for most people it stacks up for something compared to resurfacing. To ensure a lasting level of success, you must be male and in excellent physical condition.

“This includes people like Frank who run marathons and sprints and want to run until they’re in their 80s,” Boyle said. athletes, snowboarders, skiers, hockey goalkeepers, ballet dancers and equestrians.

“Unfortunately, you can’t do that to a woman. Being a female surgeon, it’s really hard to tell someone that,” Boyle said. I don’t know exactly why, I think it’s because they have smaller bones.”

Boyle and other orthopedic experts encourage active hip replacement patients to continue low-impact activities such as tennis, pickleball, cycling, walking, golf, water aerobics, and swimming.

They generally discourage men and women who get replacements from running more than 10 miles at a time because they fear the plastic replacement liners will wear out faster.

“I don’t tend to restrict them[too much],” Boyle said. We need to know that there is an increased risk of needing it.”

According to Boyle, resurfacing of the knee joint is not recommended because of the different biomechanics.







Frank Gioia runs despite major hip replacement

On the rolling hills at the end of the Ronald McDonald House 5K, Batavia’s Frank Gioia, 69, slowed down, but he still flashed some of his closing kicks as he approached the finish line.


Minn Connors / Buffalo News


Aches and pains in the joints and pain in the groin may indicate a hip labrum tear or arthritis. There are measures other than replacement and resurfacing that can be addressed if detected early.

Both prefab and rehab are similar when surgery is required. Focusing on stretching, core exercises, and strengthening the hip flexors, abductors, and adductors near the hip is of utmost importance.

Gioia started physical therapy the day after her resurfacing surgery.

He didn’t take painkillers and “never complained,” said his wife of 50 years, Patti Gioia.

“He said on day one that his goal was not just to get back into running, but to break the American record for the indoor 4 x 800 meters relay for his age group,” said UBMD’s director of physical therapy, Peter Tonsolin. You let me know.” Amherst and Depew Ortho sites.

Joia focused for months on stretching the iliotibial band (IT) band, a strand of tissue that runs along the outside of the hip, thigh, and knee. He did sit-ups and side planks. He used the treadmill and elliptical at the Genesee Family Area YMCA in Batavia, the city where he still lives.

“As time went on and he started seeing himself turn the corner, he started getting more excited about his recovery and the end result,” Boyle said.







Frank Gioia runs despite major hip replacement

Frank Gioia got this tattoo after setting the American record for the 4 x 800 meters relay in the 65-69 age group at the USA Track and Field Masters Indoor Championships in New York City earlier this year.


Minn Connors / Buffalo News


Gioia started running long distances a year after surgery and tried 5Ks a few times.

He ran the first leg of the USA Masters Championship 4 x 800 relay race last St. Patrick’s Day weekend and set the pace for a 12:30.38 finish.

Gioia spoke about herself and her Genesee Valley Harriers teammates Joe Cimino, Tim and Bill McMullen. Almost four months before the race he trained twice a week in Rochester on an indoor track, continued to train and continued to progress. ”

The Ronald McDonald House 5K in Buffalo shows that the years have taken some toll, if not the surgery.

“My hip has healed well,” he said before the race. “100%. I’m just trying not to overdo it.”

He stuck to a tried-and-true strategy. Come out a little slower, push hard after the first mile of him and kick it close in high gear.

But he’s nearly four years older than when he won the Runner of the Year award for his peers in 2018. He has spent most of his last two years in injury and recovery.

“I used to have a nice kick at the end of a long race,” he said. ”

Gioia completes race 82nd Overall, out of 762 runners registered. He was fourth in his age group with a time of 23:41.

The final stretch was a gentle uphill.

“I was just trying to stay there,” he said after the race. “I need to work harder on my legs. I still push. I’m doing the workouts I used to do, but just slower.”

According to his wife, his reaction after the race is the same no matter where he finishes. Because for Joia, running is a journey.

“I feel lucky,” he said. “I love the atmosphere of the race. You meet a lot of really nice people.”

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