5 signs you may need a hip replacement

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Hip pain can be excruciating and have a huge impact on the quality of your life and wellbeing.


The following signs may mean you need a hip replacement:


You have severe pain in your hip joint

Your pain is normally localised between your hip and knee. You may feel aching in your hip joint, pain during or after exercise, and even pain when resting. Your pain may increase in humid weather. You may feel a "grating" of your hip joint. It may be that you rely on a walking stick, regularly take painkillers, or compensate for the pain with a limp.


You have stiffness in your hip joint

Ongoing difficulty putting on your shoes or socks may indicate stiffness in your hip, especially if you have a more difficult foot than the other. Your hip may stiffen up from sitting in a car or cinema.


Your mobility is greatly reduced

Your hip pain can reduce the amount of physical activity you do. Even everyday tasks, such as shopping, getting dressed, driving, or getting out of the bath, may become difficult and eventually impossible. You may find that you are not able to walk the normal distances you were previously.


Non-surgical options no longer help

Nonsurgical treatments such as medication, physiotherapy, and the use walking aids no longer help alleviate the pain.


Your quality of life is reduced

Your hip pain is so severe that it interferes with your quality of life. It can make it difficult to sleep, to work, to enjoy hobbies and activities, or to have a normal social life, leaving you feeling depressed due to the pain and your inability to do things.


What do these signs indicate?

These signs indicate that your hip joint is worn or damaged and that you may benefit from hip replacement surgery.

Most often, this level of hip joint damage is caused by osteoarthritis and this is the most common reason for a hip replacement. These signs could also be assigned to other conditions including: rheumatoid arthritis, a hip fracture, septic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and bone growth disorders, which may also be treated with hip replacement surgery.


How do I get a diagnosis for hip replacement surgery?

Your GP will refer you to a hip specialist if you have the above signs and they think you may need a hip replacement. You can also book a private appointment with an orthopaedic hip surgeon for rapid assessment and treatment for your hip pain and related mobility problems.

Your hip specialist may request an x-ray or MRI scan to determine the condition of your hip and to see if a hip replacement or other non-surgical treatment options are recommended.

Your hip surgeon will talk through the benefits and disadvantages of having or delaying hip replacement surgery. This discussion will take into consideration your age, if you’re well enough to cope with major surgery and rehabilitation post-operatively, your lifestyle and the amount of activity you would have normally done.


What is hip replacement surgery?

A hip replacement is major surgery and so your doctor will generally try other measures first such as painkillers, physiotherapy and/or walking aids, or steroid injections into your hip joint.

Hip replacement surgery involves removing your damaged hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic or ceramic. This surgery typically takes around 60 to 90 minutes to complete and is performed under general anaesthetic or an epidural.


Why have a hip replacement?

The aim of a hip replacement is to free you from the pain, improve your mobility and to give you a better quality of life.

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