13 March 2018
Mr Rakesh Kucheria, Consultant Orthopaedic & Specialist Hip & Knee Surgeon at Spire Thames Valley Hospital explains about osteoarthritis of the hip, the symptoms and the possible solution of a hip replacement.
What is osteoarthritis of the hip?
Osteoarthritis of the hip is one of the most common causes of pain in hips. Although it affects both the young and the old, it mainly affects people over the age of 40, predominantly those who have been active all their lives. In the elderly, it comes on more slowly but can deteriorate very quickly.
What are the typical symptoms of osteoarthritis?
Patients who have osteoarthritis of the hip usually show the following symptoms:
- Pain in the groin
- Pain on load bearing activities such as walking
- Pain in joints which become stiff after time
- Early morning stiffness which usually gets better after time.
However, if you need surgical treatment or a hip replacement then you are likely to:
- Have pain – predominantly in the groin, thigh and knee needing regular pain relief
- Be unable to walk more than a quarter of a mile
- Have difficulty in putting your shoes or socks on
- Have difficulty getting out of the car
- Wake up with pain during the night and need painkillers to get back to sleep.
What are hip replacements?
About 70,000 people in the UK have hip replacement surgery every year. It involves the worn and arthritic parts of the hip being removed and replaced with an artificial joint. As Mr Kucheria explains “The operation usually takes between an hour and an hour and a half. I will make a cut on the side of your hip and remove the damaged ball and socket. I will replace these with an artificial ball and socket made of metal, plastic, ceramic, or a combination of these materials. An acrylic cement or special coatings on the hip replacement bond it directly to the bone.” Mr Kucheria confirms that “the results of a hip replacement are excellent, and patients usually wake up after the operation without pain and a high percentage of my patients do very well”. All operations carry a small risk of complications and these will be discussed with you prior to surgery.
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home after three to five days and you will need to use crutches or walking sticks for a few weeks. Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities following hip replacement surgery as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, please ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice. Most people do make a good recovery, have less pain and can enjoy a new lease of life.
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