Our hips play a critical (and often under-appreciated) role in our ability to move and engage with the world. In fact, our hip joints are involved in so many daily activities that many of us don’t realize just how much we use them! That’s why severe hip pain isn’t just an inconvenience — it may be completely debilitating.

Hip replacement can be a solution that provides long-term relief from pain, restoration of mobility and improvement in quality of life. If you are considering this procedure, here are eight signs that hip replacement surgery may be the right choice for you.

Chronic Pain in Your Hip or Groin

Anyone can experience pain in a joint occasionally, but it is not normal to have recurrent or chronic pain that can’t be alleviated with simple measures. If your pain is severely limiting your activity and affecting your quality of life, it may be time to consider surgery to restore function to your hip.

Talk to an orthopedic specialist if you:

  • Have trouble walking or bending over without pain
  • Compensate for your damaged hip with a limp
  • Cannot relieve your pain by resting
  • Frequently take medications to cope with the pain
  • Struggle to sleep at night despite using pain medications
  • Have side effects from regularly taking painkillers
  • Rely on a walking aid to reduce your hip pain
  • Have not had success with conservative treatments

Changes You Can See, Hear or Feel

Like many other injuries, damage to the hip can cause visible redness and swelling. The area may feel tender to the touch.

You might hear grinding, grating, clicking, creaking, cracking or popping sounds when you move your hip. These sounds are called crepitus, which can be caused by air bubbles popping inside your joint, your bones rubbing against each other, or a tendon or ligament snapping over the bony surfaces of your joint.

You may have a feeling of instability in your hip joint that makes it difficult to do everyday tasks, such as standing or walking. Even if there is no pain associated with it, instability is a serious sign of an issue in the joint.

Limited Range of Motion

A hip injury or condition can decrease your range of motion and make it painful to bend your hip. Difficulty putting shoes and socks on is a common sign of stiffness in the hip, especially if one foot is more challenging than the other. Other signs of hip joint stiffness include difficulty bending over, climbing stairs, and actively sitting down or standing up.

Try standing solely on your problem leg for as long as you can. If you can’t go longer than a minute, even with support from a door frame or piece of furniture for balance, you might have a problem with your hip that could be addressed with surgery. Test both legs for comparison.

Routine Tasks Are Difficult

With severe hip pain, even the most basic task can become difficult or impossible. Common complaints include no longer being able to run errands, walk the dog, work in the yard, exercise, participate in sports or prepare a meal. These limitations can be especially frustrating if you have a demanding job or are used to a high activity level.

If your ability to go about your day comfortably is compromised, hip replacement surgery may help you regain function and activity levels. Our team will work with you to find the solution that gets you back to the things that matter most as quickly as possible.

Your Mental Health Is Affected

The physical impact of a damaged hip joint is obvious, but it is only one part of the puzzle. Chronic joint pain can also take a toll on your mental and emotional well-being.

Studies show that chronic pain is linked to depression, with more severe pain being associated with greater severity of depression. The reverse can also occur — depression can manifest as physical pain, triggering a vicious cycle that traps both mind and body in a state of unrest.

A positive outlook is an important part of long-term pain management. If you feel your mental health is affected by your symptoms, we encourage you to speak to your orthopedic physician and a mental health professional.

Alternative Treatments Haven’t Worked

Before recommending hip replacement surgery, your doctor may suggest trying nonsurgical approaches, such as:

  • Medications to control joint pain and inflammation
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Applying ice and heat packs
  • Losing weight to reduce stress on the joint
  • Changing your exercise routine
  • Limiting or stopping activities that trigger the pain
  • Using a walking device
  • Physical therapy

Surgery may be considered if conservative measures do not relieve your pain or if they lose their effectiveness.

Tests Reveal Significant Damage

Some causes of hip pain, including age-related wear and tear or conditions like arthritis, can eventually cause major damage to your joint. The more severe the damage, the harder it is to relieve the pain with nonsurgical treatments.

A doctor may recommend total hip replacement when the cartilage located where the pelvic bone socket and the femoral head meet wears away. Without this cartilage, there is no cushion between the bones, and they begin to rub against each other and damage the joint.

The most important step in finding out whether hip replacement is an option for you is consulting an orthopedic surgeon. Your surgeon will perform an examination and order tests to determine the extent of your hip damage.

Talk to the Experts at OIO to Explore Hip Replacement Options

If hip pain or mobility issues are diminishing your quality of life, we can help. The Orthopaedic Insitute of Ohio team performs hundreds of partial and total hip replacement surgeries each year. Today’s hip replacement procedures involve more durable equipment and less-invasive techniques, both of which have led to shorter recoveries and better outcomes.

Contact the Orthopaedic Insitute of Ohio today to schedule a consultation at a location near you. We look forward to meeting with you and working toward a solution that restores your active life.