All You Need to Know About Hip Replacement

All You Need to Know About Hip Replacement

by Stephanie Meadows

The hip joint is one the largest joints of the body, and serves in movement as the thigh moves forward and backward. The hip joint also rotates when sitting and with changes of direction while walking. The hip is where the ball of the thigh bone (femur) joins the pelvis at a socket called the acetabulum. There is cartilage covering both the bone of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis in the hip joint. A joint lining tissue, called synovium, surrounds the hip joint. The synovial tissue produces fluid that lubricates the joint and provides nutrients to the cartilage of the joint. 

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, to the side, and can perform twisting motions. Full function of the hip is dependent on the coordination of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves.

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 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 prosthesis inserted into the femur bone and an artificial plastic (or ceramic) cup socket.

Benefits of total hip replacement

Relief from pain is the greatest benefit and the major reason for hip replacement surgery. The procedure offers other benefits, such as:

  • Improved movement, strength and coordination of the torso and leg.
  • The ability to walk, climb stairs and maintain an active lifestyle in greater comfort.

Tips on how to recover from hip replacement 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.

2. Manage your pain: After surgery, expect to be in 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 the right protocol, you will recover in no time, don’t give up!

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

If you think you may be a candidate for total hip replacement surgery, call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880 to request an appointment.