Hip Joint Replacement

Arthritis—osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis—is the most common cause of chronic hip pain and stiffness. It can make everyday activities like walking, getting in and out of a car, or putting on shoes extremely challenging. When conservative treatment (i.e., physical therapy, activity modification, medication, and the use of assistive devices) fails to relieve pain and stiffness, a hip joint replacement may be necessary. While there are risks inherent with all invasive surgeries, hip replacements are extremely safe and effective procedures for reducing (often eliminating) joint pain. A hip joint replacement surgery involves removing the parts of the joints that are arthritic and replacing the hip’s natural ball-and-socket with an artificial one. Today, most hip replacements last more than a decade, and most people with a hip replacement are able to walk unassisted and experience little to no pain. Immediately following surgery, physical therapy will begin—often the day of or day after surgery. Patients are encouraged to walk and place as much weight on the leg as is comfortable as well as perform specific exercises to improve balance, strength, and flexibility. Physical therapy will continue after discharge from the hospital, with exercises focused on getting around safely and preventing hip complications.