A hip replacement is one of the most common types of surgery for over-50s in the UK. The National Joint Registry report the number of hip replacements to be on a year-on- year rise, and set to increase by 40% over the next 30 years. While the procedure is most commonly associated with older patients between the ages of 60 and 80, the procedure can be for anyone with a worn hip joint.
With more than 50,500 procedures carried out in 2017 throughout England and Wales, hip joint replacement has become one of the most successful innovations in modern medicine, improving the quality of life and overall happiness for patients who undergo the procedure.
Knowing if you need a hip replacement is not definitive and some conditions may manifest with symptoms whereby a hip replacement may be considered. If you suffer from any of the symptoms below, consult your local GP to discuss your treatment options.
When a hip replacement is needed and what to look out for
Hip replacement surgery is usually necessary when the hip joint is worn or damaged to the extent that your quality of life is dramatically hindered. This will usually result in a lack of mobility and pain, even while resting or applying weight to one side of your body.
Indications that you may need a hip replacement are as follows:
Daily Hip and/or Groin Pain
The most common condition associated with a hip replacement is osteoporosis - a condition that slowly weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. Osteoporosis develops over many years and in many cases is diagnosed after falls, resulting in bone fractures.
If you have pain during your normal day-to-day activities such as walking, resting or even sleeping, this could be a sign of osteoporosis or arthritis in the hip. Back pain, stooped posture and gradual weight loss can all be symptoms of osteoporosis, giving grounds for a hip replacement.
Stiffness in your Hip
Stiffness in your hip is a telling sign that damage to the joint has occurred. If you have difficulty doing everyday tasks such as getting out of bed or putting your shoes on, especially if one foot is more difficult than the other, seek help from a specialist or visit your local GP.
Hip stiffness limiting your mobility in walking, managing stairs and getting in and out of chairs can greatly limit your ability to perform day-to-day tasks. Some people relying on a walking stick to combat this. Others regularly take painkillers or other medication to deal with the pain but there are more permanent procedures available.
Limited Walking Distance
If you suffer from recurring pain or a feeling like grating in the hip joint while walking, which prevents you from walking normal distances, it may be a more pressing issue that is likely to worsen the more you use it to apply pressure. In such cases, consult a specialist and find the root of the problem.
Check Yourself with The One Leg Test
In some instances, a hip replacement is not always the best course of action and, depending on your lifestyle, may dramatically change your life. However, in cases where replacements are vital, quality of life is dramatically improved.
The one leg test is a very good way to test your strength on each side of your body. If you have trouble standing on your problem leg for longer than a minute, you might have a badly damaged hip. If you need to, make sure to use the support of a door frame or sturdy table to maintain your balance. If you have trouble, consult your GP.
A modern artificial hip joint is designed to last for at least 15 years. Most people experience a significant reduction in pain, improvement in their range of movement and overall quality of life. At Benenden Hospital, we pride ourselves on our quality of service and on ensuring that each and every patient leaves us feeling happy. If you have any questions regarding hip replacement surgery and the options available, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our specialist team members for more information.
Published on 16 September 2019