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Hip Replacement – About Hip Replacement

What You Need to Know About Hip Replacement Surgery

You may want to consider hip replacement as an option to manage your hip pain or damaged hip joint when all other treatment approaches fail.

Severe hip pain can limit your ability to move and do your work or recreational activities. It could keep you up at night and can make even the easiest tasks such as putting on your socks or walking difficult. Sometimes, you may worry about falls that you do not want to stand or walk.

Hip replacement can help you walk again and perform some or most activities that you’ve enjoyed when your hip was at its best. Read on the following articles to know more about your hip joint, the causes of hip pain and everything about hip replacement.

Hip Joint Basics

Your hip joint is one of the most movable and largest joints in your body. It is also one of your body’s major weight-bearing joints. Your hip joint is composed of two main parts: the upper end of your thigh bone (femur) called the femoral head and your pelvis, also called pelvic bone.

Hip Pain

Any condition that damages your hip can cause significant pain. Hip pain can affect your ability to walk, perform your daily activities and your overall quality of life. The most common cause of hip joint damage is osteoarthritis. However, other conditions can also damage your hip joint.

What Is Hip Replacement?

New Hip Joint - Prosthesis
Hip replacement is a type of surgical procedure performed by an orthopedic surgeon to replace your damaged hip joint with man-made parts. The man-made hip joint parts are called the prosthesis.

Your doctor may recommend hip replacement when conservative treatment approaches such as physical therapy, use of walking aids and medications do not alleviate your pain or your hip joint is extensively damaged.

Is Hip Replacement Right for You?

Hip replacement is not a wonder cure for all people who have hip pain. Sometimes, conservative treatment options may be all that is needed for you to be able to walk and be active again. But, if you have severe hip damage or your hip pain causes you significant limitation in your ability to do even the simplest tasks, then, you might want to consider talking to your doctor about whether hip replacement is right for you.

Preparing for Your Hip Replacement

Preparing for your hip replacement does not only involve being prepared for the day of surgery, but also, getting prepared when you get home after your procedure. For example, you may want to arrange for someone to help you around the house during the first few weeks when you get home after your surgery. You could also arrange, in advance, for someone to take you to the hospital and home after your hip replacement surgery.

Physical Therapy Before Your Hip Replacement

Physical therapy can help prepare your body for hip replacement. Surgery can affect your muscle strength and your ability to move. Your physical therapist can help you strengthen your muscles and become physically fit before your hip replacement. Performing exercises before your surgery can make your recovery easier and shorter.

Hip Replacement Procedure

Before your hip replacement surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will discuss with you the basics on how the procedure is going to be done.

Generally, your surgeon will make an incision over your hip joint. He or she will remove the damaged cartilage and bones and leaves the healthy parts of your joint intact. Your orthopedic doctor will then replace the damaged parts with artificial ones.

Here is a step-by-step process on how hip replacement is performed to give you a general idea on the procedure.

Hip Replacement Precautions

You have undergone hip replacement. You have a new hip joint. You can now perform all the activities that you’ve enjoyed in the past, right? Not likely! This is a wrong notion for people who have undergone hip replacement.

Although you have a new functional joint, the artificial joint is not like the real one. There are certain movements that you should avoid to prevent dislocating your new hip joint such as crossing your legs or bending your hips beyond 90o.

Physical Therapy After Hip Replacement – Hip Replacement Recovery

Physical therapy can help you recover faster from your hip replacement surgery. Your physical therapist will teach you exercises that you can perform as early as during your first day after surgery. By exercising your new hip joint, you encourage more blood flow to your surgery area, thus, encouraging faster healing.

In addition, your therapist will discuss with you about precautions that you should observe when moving your new hip joint to avoid dislocating it.

Suggested Readings

Hip Replacement / Hip Arthroplasty. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hipreplacement.html. Accessed on February 3, 2011

Questions and Answers About Hip Replacement. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). Available at http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Hip_Replacement/default.asp. Accessed on February 3, 2011

Total Hip Replacement. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Available at http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00377. Accessed on February 3, 2011

Image Credit: Courtesy of the NIAMS