Everything You Need to Know About Total Hip Replacement Surgery

The hip joint, a ball-and-socket joint that connects your thigh bone (femur) to your pelvic bone, is one of the most important joints in your entire body. Without it, you can’t run, climb, walk, or even support your weight. And when it starts to give you trouble, it’s important to see an orthopedic specialist right away.

About Hip Pain

Hip pain can occur from the tops of the buttocks to the upper thighs. Its location can help your doctor determine the underlying issue and best cause of treatment, so be as specific as possible. If the pain tends to come and go, keep a journal so you can see patterns such as time of day, rest, or other triggers.

If the pain is in your groin area or inside your hips, it’s likely an issue with the joint. It can be caused by arthritis, injury, a pinched nerve, or other, more serious issues like infections or cancer. Pain on the outside of the hips and buttocks is more likely muscle, tendon or other musculoskeletal issues, and some cases, pain in the hip area can actually be due to disease or injury in your lower back or other parts of your body.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Hip Pain

As with any other injury, the course of treatment for hip pain begins with an evaluation by an experience orthopedic surgeon and, most often, conservative treatment first. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or, if you’re overweight, diet changes and exercise in order to take some of the weight off your lower body.

Alternatively, your doctor may suggest vitamins, supplements like glucosamine, cortisone injections, or even massage to help alleviate pain. But, if traditional or natural methods don’t do the trick, you may need to undergo an arthroscopy.

Minimally-Invasive Hip Surgery

At Alexander Orthopaedics, one of our specialties is hip arthroscopy — an outpatient procedure that involves small incisions and a camera to make internal repairs. It’s mainly used to fix a hip impingement, a condition that limits range of motion and can cause arthritis, and removal of loose cartilage that often results from injury. Patients who have undergone arthroscopy have reported quicker recovery time and good improvement in hip function after this procedure.

Total Hip Arthroplasty (Total Hip Replacement Surgery)

Around 400,000 Americans receive a new hip each year. The medical term is arthroplasty, and while it is considerably more invasive than arthroscopy, it still can be done in most cases with only a small incision. During total hip replacement, the damaged parts of the joint are removed and replaced with metal or plastic prosthesis. Post-surgery, patients must undergo physical therapy and are restricted from walking unassisted or driving for a few weeks, but once recovery is complete they often experience a complete return to normal function.

Am I a Candidate For Total Hip Replacement?

The decision to perform a total hip replacement is based on pain level, quality of life, and — unless the patient has suffered an acute injury — ineffectiveness of previous treatment options. Although most patients range in age from 50 to 80, it’s not the deciding factor. If your hip pain is severely limiting your daily activities, keeping you up at night, or doesn’t respond to anti-inflammatories, see your doctor.

Don’t let a sore hip keep you from enjoying life. Alexander Orthopaedics is the only practice in the Tampa Bay area that specializes in outpatient total joint replacement surgery, which means you’ll be back on your feet quicker. Schedule an appointment today and get started on the path back to a pain-free life.