Hip

Hips are very similar to other joints when it comes to the reasons for pain, loss of mobility, and the seeking out of medical help: the loss of cushioning tissue between the bones of the joint.

Hip problems

Osteoarthritis

Almost everyone develops some form of osteoarthritis as we age (though it’s diagnosed for some younger people as well). By the time we reach 50 years or older, the cushioning material (cartilage) can be quite worn or eroded. Without that cushion, bones rub against each other, which can be very painful and cause stiffness.

Rheumatoid arthritis

This autoimmune disease is not caused by wear and tear over the years. With rheumatoid arthritis material, called the synovial membrane, surrounding the joint becomes inflamed and thickened. In time, this causes loss of cartilage along with pain and stiffness.

Post-traumatic arthritis

This can follow a serious hip injury or fracture. In turn, that can cause a condition called osteonecrosis. The result is the same – pain and stiffness caused by the loss of cartilage.

Osteonecrosis

Also known as avascular necrosis, aseptic necrosis, and ischemic necrosis, this disease results from the temporary or permanent loss of blood supply to the bones. It can collapse the joint. There are many causes of osteonecrosis – and one thing the clinicians at The Joint Program will look for in diagnosing your hip pain and determining the best treatment.

Failed previous hip replacement surgery

Generally, failed hip replacements are due to the length of time an implant has been in the joint. Revision replacement surgery, using the very latest implants and techniques may be a good idea to consider.

When should you see a doctor?

We think of hip replacement as a surgery for older people – and seniors who are prone to falling. It's true that many patients who undergo hip replacement surgery are 60 to 80 years of age, but you can experience hip pain at any age. Your regular doctor and your orthopaedist will evaluate you based on criteria other than age: the extent of your pain, the disability you are experiencing, and your general health status. Here are a few examples of situations that might point towards hip replacement as the best alternative.

  • You have tried anti-inflammatory drugs or glucosamine sulfate but have not found relief.
  • Your hip pain is starting to get in the way of your everyday activities such as walking or bending.
  • Your hip pain does not come and go – it hurts whether you are sitting or moving – it can even interrupt your sleep.
  • You find that the stiffness makes it hard to move or lift your leg – making even small tasks, such as tying your shoes, difficult or impossible.
  • Your hip medications give you unpleasant side effects.
  • Physical therapy has not helped as much as you hoped.
  • You are not happy relying on a cane or walker – or maybe these don't even help in your situation.

Hip replacement surgery

Everyone's hip is different – which means the condition of your hip is unique to you. Your patient experience will begin at The Joint Center at the OICM, where your condition will be evaluated. Your surgeon will determine the best techniques and materials for your hip replacement. When you come to The Joint Program, we will make sure to explain everything about your procedure and give you a chance to ask questions. As we often say, patients who are well informed and involved in their own care generally recover faster.

In any joint replacement, the surgeon inserts some sort of material to take the place of the worn or missing bone or tissue. Depending upon your hip, your surgeon will select the proper design and shape of your artificial hip joint. No matter the material, you will have a new joint, consisting of two components (remember, the hip falls into the ball-and-socket type of joint):

The ball component will be made of smooth, strong metal or a ceramic material. The socket needs to be a durable cup, or holder, and can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic.

There are other procedures and techniques being developed and/or used – again to resolve the hip problem of each particular patient. These include different coatings of the ball-and-socket implants – and minimally invasive total hip replacement. Please feel free to speak with your surgeon about the procedure you will undergo. And please know that you can have the utmost confidence in the skills and experience of the surgeons doing hip replacements at The Joint Program at the OICM. You'll find more information, including illustrations, photos, and articles in our Patient Library.

The OICM has an outstanding record of positive outcomes and patient satisfaction with total hip replacements – primary and revision.