It is certainly true that not everyone with hip joint pain needs a total hip replacement, but when your quality of life grows increasingly diminished due to hip joint pain, it may be advisable to consider your options for hip replacement surgery. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide when you’ve had enough pain and are ready to seek out a medical solution. Many people will endure the pain for months and even years before speaking with their physician. In this article we will discuss the various plausible causes for a hip replacement and its alternatives.
Dr. Ian C. Clarke, medical researcher and founder of Peterson Tribology Laboratory for joint replacement at Loma Linda University, writes, with regard to hip pain “When you can’t do the quality things in life that you need to be doing you know you need a hip replacement.” The doctor goes on to qualify this statement by saying “painful twinges” due to excessive activity, such as too much running or lots of dancing, does not necessarily mean you need a hip replacement.
On the other hand, if you are unable to accomplish normal, daily activities such as dressing in the morning, taking a shower, walking, and getting into bed, then your quality of life is being impacted. If you cannot conduct your business due to pain in your hip joint, or if you cannot comply with your job description, then you probably should consider hip replacement surgery. Another case may be if you need medication to sleep at night because your pain is so severe, then you might want to look into hip replacement surgery.
Remember that hip pain can radiate from anywhere in or around the hip joint. In some cases, you may not be able to feel the pain directly over the hip; you may feel it in your thigh. Pain in the hip can also sometimes suggest problems with the back. By identifying the specific type of pain which is impacting your life, you have a better chance of arriving at a medical solution.
Your surgeon will help you to decide if hip replacement surgery is necessary. From a clinical standpoint, a surgeon will consider total hip surgery for a patient when alternative methods such as changes in activities, mild painkillers, and physiotherapy have been exhausted. Depending on the age of the patient and the damage to the tissue, the surgeon may suggest arthroscopy or a partial hip replacement before a total hip.
Through the use of radiographic technology such as X-rays, CT, MRI, and ultrasound testing, a surgeon will be able to see how much joint cartilage has been lost and therefore how justified a total hip surgery is in each patient scenario. When all other alternative therapies have either failed or wouldn’t work in the first place, and when radiographic tests show a loss of cartilage that make up the “joint space”, then a surgeon may recommend a total hip replacement.
BoneSmart.org is a National Public-Awareness Campaign for Candidates of Hip Replacement Surgery and Knee Replacement Surgery. The BoneSmart® National Consumer Awareness Campaign’s mission is to raise patient awareness of the options available to persons diagnosed as a hip replacement or knee replacement candidates by providing an Internet portal for awareness of the latest advances in joint replacement materials, their longevity and suitability for various applications. With this information the potential patient may be better informed when discussing options with his or her surgeon.
By Jeremy Reither
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