Hip Replacement and How to Recover

Hip Replacement and How to Recover

by Stephanie Meadows

Most hip replacements in middle-aged patients are due to degenerative arthritis caused by wear-and-tear. The number of hip replacements performed in the United States has increased substantially, and the procedure has become more common in younger people, new government statistics show. The growing number of cases of arthritis is a major factor in the increase of hip replacement surgeries performed. 

Hip replacement, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the diseased parts of the hip joint are removed and replaced with new, artificial parts. These artificial parts are called the prosthesis. The goals of hip replacement surgery include increasing mobility, improving the function of the hip joint, and relieving pain.

What causes hip pain?

The human hip is a ball and socket joint. It is the most flexible and free-moving joint in the body, and can move backwards and forwards, side to side, and can perform twisting motions. Full function of the hip is dependent on the coordination of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. The hips take plenty of impact and friction along a lifetime of use, from sitting to standing, running and jumping, to even sleeping.

Hip pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

·         An injury that does not heal properly.

·         A chronic illness.

·         Normal wear and tear from years of constant use.

·         Severe arthritic conditions, especially osteoarthritis.

·         Injuries as a result of trauma, such as a hip fracture or dislocation caused by a fall.

What is total hip replacement surgery?  

The Total hip replacement (or hip arthroplasty) technique that has become widespread in recent years in response to the need for improving hip joints that have been damaged by injury or arthritis. This is a surgical procedure whereby the diseased cartilage and bone of the hip joint is surgically replaced with artificial materials. The normal hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The socket is a "cup-shaped" component of the pelvis called the acetabulum. The ball is the head of the thighbone (femur). Total hip joint replacement involves surgical removal of the diseased ball and socket and replacing them with a metal (or ceramic) ball and stem inserted into the femur bone and an artificial plastic (or ceramic) cup socket.

Tips on how to recover from hip surgery:

A hip replacement can be daunting and involves some serious recovery. If you follow doctor’s orders, you can be sure to get back to what you love doing relatively quickly, and avoid some of the common mistakes people make.

1. Walk: Walking is vital to keep gaining mobility and avoid pain from constantly sitting. Avoid lifting your knees above 90 degrees, and wear proper fitting sneakers.

2. Manage your pain: After surgery, you can expect to be in some pain. However, using pain medication where necessary is important, as fighting through the pain only slows your healing process. If pain levels are down, the healing process is faster. But it can sometimes take six to 24 weeks to reduce pain levels. 

3. Don’t get discouraged: The recovery process might feel like forever. Getting discouraged is not the answer. If you follow all the right protocol, you will recover in no time, so don’t give up!

4. Do physical therapy:  The area of this surgery is deep, and the hip is a complex structure. It’s important that your hip is examined assessed and to plan the optimum recovery. Good therapists will give you pain management strategies, an exercise program, address your biomechanics, range, strength and core.

Total hip replacement surgery is a vital surgery for improved movement and overall quality of life for those with severe hip dysfunction. To explore all your options for surgery and an optimum recovery process, call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880 to request an appointment.