'Good Morning America' Co-Anchor Lara Spencer Speaks Out About Hip Replacement

Spencer, who was a competitive diver at Penn State and now plays tennis, was told by her doctor she needs a hip replacement.
7:28 | 08/11/16

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Transcript for 'Good Morning America' Co-Anchor Lara Spencer Speaks Out About Hip Replacement
bit easier and our dear, dear friend here,lara, you're going through your something in I'm having a little something. A few months ago I found out what I thought was a strained muscle was actually a symptom of something a lot more serious. So in a couple of days I will have to have my entire right hip replaced. It was a shock to hear and a decision that took me quite some time to accept. I love sports. I love being active. I love challenging myself. Up. Look at that Lara Spencer. At "Gma" I'm always willing to do whatever is needed for the show because I love it. I was a jock growing up from the time I was able to walk. If you're having a stressful day, there's always tennis. Go take it out on that little yellow ball. Chew on that, agassi. That to me is therapy and really helps me. I was starting to feel a little aches and pains. My shoulder started bothering me. Lara presented to our office with multiple diagnoses and started on her shoulder and elbow and continued to report that the hip was more of a problem for her. I kept thinking I had a muscle pull and I played on. This hurts. And I -- then I pulled my muscle again and I played on and it went on for probably too long. Definitely too long. Lara came in a time of great deal of pain. Her hip was starting to fail. There was a breakdown in the bearing surface between the cartilage and bone. She's almost bone on bone here. Made the most sense for her even with reduced demands playing less tennis, being less active to have a hip replacement. It was so upsetting. I was like, what. And he was like, there's not a lot we can do here for you. This is way down the road and it took me a long time. I was like, no, I'm 27. In my head I'm 27. So I really -- I waited for a long time before I did anything about it or told anybody because it sounds like it's an old person's problem and I just couldn't believe it. I think approximately 10% of all hip replacements on done on patients under 50 years old so that's a huge number of people in that age group we don't care about as much. How can we bet her to a point where she's as strong as possible going into the surgery. She is definitely attacking this like an athlete. She's been hard core at saying, I want to do everything I possibly can to be as fit going in. Now we're going to layer in upper extremity work. This is not easy. But I think it's really important to deal with whatever issue comes your way, just don't be afraid. If you don't talk about it, you can't fix it. So I'm happy if I can save one person from not having to go through the pain. Good job. Step down. This has happened because I played hard. Because I love it. I love moving and that's what I've come to see is that I will be back. Most certainly will be and Jen is going to join in on the conversation with us. We saw the emotion and you've been quite emotional about this, especially when you first got the diagnosis. How are you doing now? I'm terrified. I just said, oh, face it. I can talk the talk but walking the walk -- You're shaking. I'm terrified. I'm terrified. It's -- it was embarrassing to share and then I realized there's nothing to be embarrassed about. It is -- I have a genetic predisposition for this but if you're athletic and you move it's happening younger and younger. That number is shocking. I would imagine the fear she's feeling is the most natural reaction in the world. It's not only common, it's natural. It's appropriate and not just for a big operation like this, really, you've heard me say it before there's no such thing as minor surgery. The appropriate reaction for the vast majority of people having to go into the operating room is this, and I applaud you for being so open about it. I think more people need to hear emotions like this, like it's not like getting your nails done, you're going to sleep, getting sedation and getting part of your body taken out or repaired or fixed. Do yourself a favor. Do not Google this operation. I made that mistake. I agree with you, Dr. Spencer. What exactly happened to her hip? As she said she was born with it. This used to be call congenital dysplasia of the hip. Now it's rephrased as developmental dysplasia and if you think of the hip as a ball and socket joint, femur sits in that like a ball and socket Lara has a shallow cup so if the cup was like this -- if. I have a shallow cup. That cartilage -- see, you can laugh. Got to find the humor. As that cartilage gets worn around with Normal movement or athletic -- Just saying it is making it hurt. Bone on bone. Another way to think of it, driveway on your asphalt is like the cartilage in your joints. When you get those potholes in your driveway it's only a matter of time until you have to replace the whole thing. If you had this predisposition, anything you can do to ward it off. Well, it's ironic and that's a really loaded question, George, because as we were talking and, you know, the obvious answer is, well, if she wasn't an athlete maybe she could have gotten to her 60s or 70s without needing this joint replaced but no orthopedic surgeon, no physician, no one in the sports world would say don't be active. Now, if Lara earned her living seated and didn't participate in any sports, yes, she wouldn't have been feeling this in her 40s, but in some cases it's only a matter of time. It's a good thing she did not ignore the situation because that could have led to something even worse. Well, there's no ignoring it at this point. The pain is so chronic. I have such -- You tried to fight through it. I did and I, you know, I got cortisone shots and the doctor said you'll know and boy, do I know. I just want to say to anybody out there who suffers with chronic pain, I feel you. It is -- it is -- it takes over your life. It takes over -- affects you emotionally, mentally, physically, you cannot sleep. It's hard to think about. It's gnawing at you all the time. I wish I would have taken care of this sooner and spoken up but I was like, I can handle it. Did you have any pain in your back -- That's the thing and it will lead to problems -- it would have led to if I didn't do this they said I would have back problems and could lead to knee problems and starting to walk differently. And good news, the incision usually is about this big. You're going to be weight bearing and walking day of surgery. Three to six-month rehab but you are going to kill it. Yes. You've seen how amazing your body is. It's on Saturday morning, yeah, so I won't see you guys for a couple of weeks then I'll come running back. We'll be hearing from her during those two weeks. Thanks for sharing that. My pleasure. I hope it helps somebody else out there.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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