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Hip Replacement Surgery: An Overview

Pain Management

Hip pain that stems from arthritis usually starts gradually — stiffness when you wake up or a twinge as you climb the stairs. As arthritis breaks down more cartilage, the pain can worsen. 

Treatment for arthritic joint pain typically includes anti-inflammatory medications, injections or physical therapy. But if these conservative treatments are no longer working and pain is affecting your quality of life, it might be time to consider a hip replacement. 

How the hip works 

The ball-and-socket joint of your hip allows you to walk, squat or turn. A layer of cartilage protects both the ball and the socket and helps the joint move smoothly. 

What causes the pain 

As the hip’s protective layer wears away, the ball grinds in its socket. Walking and standing up from a seated position can become painful. 

What you can expect after hip replacement 

Hip replacement surgery could ease your pain and get you back to the activities you enjoy. After recovering, you can expect to walk, bicycle and swim comfortably. Your doctor may advise you to avoid high-impact activities, such as basketball, jogging and tennis. 

What not to do after hip replacement surgery

  • Don’t bend at the waist more than 90 degrees 
  • Don’t lift your knees up past your hips 
  • Don’t cross your legs at your knees 
  • Don’t lean forward while sitting 

A better approach to surgery 

While traditional hip replacement cuts through major muscle groups, the anterior-based, muscle-sparing approach is easier on the body. A surgeon makes a small incision at the front of the hip to remove damaged cartilage and place a new artificial joint. Because the incision is small, recovery is faster and pain is often reduced. Also, weigh the benefit of an anterior hip replacement if your doctor thinks it is applicable for your surgery.