An ailing hip can make doing the things you love uncomfortable or even impossible. If you’re struggling with hip pain or stiffness that prevents you from performing your normal, everyday activities, you may find that hip replacement surgery could have a profound impact on your life — relieving your painful symptoms and increasing your mobility and ability to function. However, for some, conservative treatments are completely sufficient.
How Do You Know If You Need a Hip Replacement?
How do you know the right option for you? Let’s take a look at eight signs that will help you decide if you need hip replacement surgery.
1. You Have Chronic and Significant Pain
Damage to your hip joint can cause chronic and significant pain, not just in your hip, but anywhere between your hip and knee. If you experience any of the following, you should talk to an orthopedic specialist immediately:
- You regularly take painkillers to deal with the pain
- Your pain keeps you awake at night despite the use of pain medications
- Your pain makes it difficult to walk or bend over
- Your pain isn’t relieved by rest during the day or night
- Conservative treatments have not helped your pain
- You compensate for your pain with a limp
- You rely on a walking aid to relieve your hip pain
Severe pain is one of the main reasons patients seek a hip replacement, but it isn’t the only symptom that could indicate your need for hip replacement surgery.
2. Your Hip Disability Makes Completing Routine Tasks Difficult
The most important factor you should keep in mind when you’re deciding if you should have hip replacement surgery is how much your injured hip is affecting your life. Even if you can manage the pain, significant disability of the hip joint can make even the most routine tasks difficult or impossible, such as:
- Putting on your shoes or socks
- Walking normal distances
- Standing on one leg, even with assistance for balance
3. Hip Stiffness Limits Your Normal Range of Motion in the Joint
Stiffness is another indication that your hip may be severely injured and in need of hip replacement surgery. If you find that you’re experiencing joint stiffness that makes walking or bending your hip joint difficult, or if you can’t lift your leg, speak with an orthopedic specialist as soon as possible.
4. Conservative Treatments Do Not Adequately Relieve Hip Pain
Many people with conditions affecting the hip joint, such as arthritis, do not need hip replacement surgery immediately. Your doctor will probably attempt conservative treatment options initially, including:
- Physical therapy: Strengthens and stabilizes muscles surrounding the hip joint and can also preserve the hip’s range of motion
- Steroid injections: Reduces swelling and blocks pain sensations
- Anti-inflammatory medications: Reduces inflammation in the hip joint, which can relieve pain
These treatments do not cure hip conditions. However, they can improve function and make hip pain more tolerable. Unfortunately, there may reach a point when these conservative measures become less effective and fail to provide relief. When that happens, your doctor may suggest hip replacement surgery.
5. Tests Reveal Advanced Arthritis or Significant Joint Damage
Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint. Cartilage and synovial fluid reduce the friction caused where the socket in the pelvic bone and the ball of the femoral head move together. Significant joint damage caused by arthritis or other joint conditions can create inflammation, causing the cartilage to wear away. Without cartilage, there’s no cushion between the bones rubbing together, and they begin to wear down. Advanced cases of joint damage may make surgery necessary.
6. Joint Pain Is Wearing You Down Emotionally and Mentally
The physical ramifications of hip joint pain are obvious, as it affects your ability to move and perform actions. However, chronic joint pain can also take a toll on a patient’s emotional and mental well-being. Even if you can tolerate your level of hip pain, after dealing with this symptom over the course of months or even years, you may find yourself exhibiting the signs of a mental health condition. In fact, chronic pain has been linked to both depression and anxiety.
7. You’ve Noticed Side Effects From Hip Pain Medications
NSAIDs and other types of pain medication your doctor prescribes are relatively safe when used for a short amount of time. However, side effects can develop with prolonged use, including:
- Stomach irritation
- Increased risk of stroke, blood clots and heart attack
- And more
8. Less Complicated Surgical Procedures Are Unlikely to Help
A few other surgical procedures offer an alternative to hip replacement surgery. However, many of them are seldom performed now that hip replacement has developed a high success rate among most patients.
Find out If You’re a Candidate for Hip Replacement at OrthoBethesda
If you struggle with severe hip pain or disability, you may be a candidate for hip replacement surgery. To find out if that’s an appropriate treatment option for you, contact the team at OrthoBethesda. Our highly skilled orthopedic specialists serve the community in and around Bethesda, MD, with compassionate care and can help you decide on the best treatment option for your hip pain. Call us today at (301) 530-1010.