You generally know if you need a hip replacement. You’re likely in a lot of pain when you walk. You may also have stiffness in your hip joint, especially when you wake up in the morning or after sitting for a long time.

Your hip joint includes a ball and socket that fit together. The ball is at the end of your femur (thigh bone.) The joint is normally cushioned by cartilage, which enables it to move smoothly. But if you need a hip replacement, the cartilage has worn away in this joint, making movement difficult.

You may also feel like it’s difficult to make routine movements like putting on your socks, and you may feel as if bone is rubbing on bone.

The solution is usually hip replacement surgery, which more than 300,000 people go through every year. Increasingly, younger people are having this surgery as well.

Our providers at LA Orthopaedic Specialists explain more about hip replacement and whether you’re a good candidate for the procedure.

Why you might need a hip replacement

The most common reason that you might need a hip replacement is arthritis. Also called osteoarthritis, this condition occurs when the cartilage in your hip joints has worn away.

It’s increasingly common among younger people, too. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of hip replacements in adults aged 45-54 increased by 205%.

Rheumatoid arthritis is another common reason for hip replacements, as is a condition called osteonecrosis, or a bone tumor. Osteonecrosis causes a loss of blood to the ball part of the hip joint, which may result in a fracture or dislocation.

What hip replacement surgery is like

Depending on your individual case, you may either receive a traditional hip replacement procedure, which involves an incision several inches long, or a minimally invasive procedure that only requires a couple of smaller incisions.

For the procedure, we use either general anesthesia or a local anesthetic called a spinal block that numbs you from the waist down.

During the procedure, which can take several hours, we remove diseased and damaged cartilage and bone while leaving healthy bone intact. Then, we put a prosthetic (artificial) socket in place, followed by a prosthetic of the round ball at the end of your femur.

After surgery, we take you to a recovery area for a few hours. You may be allowed to go home the same day or you may need to stay in the hospital for a few nights.

In the weeks following surgery, you begin physical therapy exercises to help you strengthen your thigh muscles and improve your range of motion.

Are you a good candidate for hip replacement?

We determine if you’re a good candidate for hip replacement after a consultation and exam. Generally, we try other alternatives before resorting to surgery, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Pain medication
  • Supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate
  • Assistive devices for walking, such as a cane or walker
  • Limiting activities that are too painful

If the above treatments don’t provide enough relief, we may consider hip replacement. But we ensure that you’re in good enough health for the procedure. Tell us about all the medications and supplements that you take.

If you have hip pain, especially if it affects your activities and your range of motion, contact us for a consultation at our downtown Los Angeles, California, office.

LA Office Culver City Office
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