Rudy’s hip problem was diagnosed in summer, 2002, as Avascular Necrosis (AVN). The name of the condition describes it–death of the bone (head of the femur) due to lack of circulation. Rudy skated with the deteriorating condition for over a year, completing the long 2002 Olympic Tour, the Elvis Tour in Canada in the Fall, the 2003 Champions On Ice (25th Anniversary) Winter Tour, and the abbreviated Summer Tour through early June. During the latter the hip became increasingly painful, excruciatingly so a short time after the Tour’s completion. (The head of the femur in the left hip was fractured and held together only by the hip socket.)
By this time, Rudy had accepted the fact that total hip replacement (THR) was his best option and that he needed to have both hips replaced. Laura had become aware of the ceramic on ceramic technique of total hip replacement that was FDA approved in February of 2003. Use of this product and technique has given hope to young and active people needing hip replacement. They now have the prospect of living lives requiring very little change in their regular activities. This includes athletes. These hip implants wear significantly better and longer, have a decreased chance of dislocation by permitting an optimal range of motion, and are less apt to be affected by osteolytic wear.
Fortunately, the Galindos were able to find a surgeon in Reno who was experienced with the ceramic on ceramic technique and who shared their optimism about Rudy’s ability to continue to skate with artificial hips. Dr. Eric Boyden first operated on Rudy’s left hip on September 19, 2003. Six weeks later, on October 30, he operated on the right hip. Rudy started physical therapy immediately after the first surgery, and was on the ice a few weeks later. He worked hours each day afterward on and off the ice to get into the condition that allowed him to be ready to skate in the 2004 Champions on Ice Tours that began April 3. He got back the triple jumps he was performing before AVN (flip, loop, toe, and salchow, as well as double axels), and can do his shotgun spin. He finished Tour 1 and Tour 2 without missing a performance and pain free. He had no ill effects from performing day in and day out. (In Tour 2, he did two programs, in addition to the introduction and long finale.)
Rudy started out 2005 with several skating in some Broadway on Ice shows in Florida and Georgia, will be doing Detroit’s Winter Blast and Bensenville, Illinois’ Dreams On Ice, also in conjunction with a Winter celebration, and will participate in the first annual First Annual Gala of Figure Skating In Harlem, a not-for-profit organization established in 1997 “to provide exciting new educational, cultural and athletic opportunities for girls in the Harlem community through the unique discipline and art of figure skating.” After that, he will do the 2005 Champions On Ice Tour. The hips are holding up very well!
Rudy hasn’t competed since the end of 2002 due to his hip problems and ensuing double total hip replacement surgery. Since his surgery and rehabilitation, he has become much at ease with his hip implants, works very hard at staying in shape and keeping up his skating skills, and would very much enjoy competing again should the opportunity arise. He has maintained the four triple jumps he regularly performed in competition as much as most of his flexibility.