Hip Replacement Surgery – what is it?
People with chronic Hip Pain commonly worry about whether or not they require a Hip replacement. This week I will discuss the chronic Hip symptoms that require a surgical Hip replacement together with a general overview of what a Patient can expect from the surgery. Patients that are potential candidates for Hip Replacement surgery or to use the appropriate medical term “Total Hip Arthroplasty” can suffer from chronic a) Osteoarthritis, b) inflammatory Rheumatoid Arthritis or c) bone disease of the Hip joint. The most common condition that leads to Hip replacement surgery is Osteoarthritis of the Hip Joint which causes pain into the front and side region of the thigh while also referring pain into the groin and knee area when walking. Overtime these symptoms become progressively worse with long durations of stiffness and a noticeable Limp developing.
This is deterioration is brought about by the underlying cartilage padding of the Hip joint being partially or completely worn away leaving a painful situation of 2 bones wearing against each other. A Hip Replacement involves replacing the head of the Femur or thigh bone with a metal ball and a stem while the socket of the Hip Joint is replaced with a metal or plastic cup. The new Hip then comprises of the metal ball interlocking within the new Plastic or metal socket hence recreating the original ball and socket joint that is the Hip Joint.
The aim of the new Hip replacement is to relieve pain and stiffness whilst restoring full Hip movement and painfree walking. In addition, the surgical aim of reducing the leg length difference that has developed between both legs is not always successfully achieved post surgery. Hip replacements have a lifespan of 15-20 years. On discharge from hospital, the patient will be able walk with assistance of walking aid or a crutch. Depending on the patient’s age and health they could possibly return to driving between 3-6 weeks post surgery.
Example of Hip Replacement
For the first 6 weeks after surgery Patients should avoid the following activities:
Avoid Sitting in Low chairs. You should sit in high chairs to ensure that your hips are in a higher position than your knees. Depending on the height of the Patient a raised toilet seat is often recommended.
Avoid crouching forward in the chair. Keep your spine tall against the backrest of the chair when sitting.
When moving from a seated to a standing position, avoid leaning forward.
Avoid turning your leg inwards or outwards
Avoid crossing the legs & twisting & turning the spine when sitting down
Next week I will discuss Hip Replacement surgery further.
Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles.
Contact Number: 0504 26672
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