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Hip replacement, also known as hip arthroplasty, is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States, with approximately 332,000 total hip replacements performed in 2010 alone as a way to correct a variety of types of hip pain. Patients experiencing hip pain have numerous non-surgical options, but depending on the type of damage and efficacy of treatments like physical therapy and medication, a hip resurfacing or replacement may be necessary. Your doctor or an orthopedic specialist can help you determine the best course of action to manage hip pain.
Hip Pain and Damaged Joints
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that connects the leg to the rest of the body. The ball-shaped top of the femur, known as the femoral head, fits into the “socket” of the pelvis, known as the acetabulum. The ball and socket that make up the joint are separated by a spongy cartilage and synovial fluid that serve to lubricate the joint. All of these components, properly functioning, are important to normal day-to-day activities. However, because of the strain placed on the hip joint over a lifetime, hip pain is a common occurrence, particularly in the elderly.
|Common Causes of Hip Pain|
|Osteoarthritis||Usually occurs in people over 50, as the cartilage in the hip wears away from a lifetime of use. Without a cushion of cartilage, friction between the bones of the hip causes pain.|
|Rheumatoid Arthritis||An autoimmune disease wherein the synovial membrane (a thin membrane that secretes the “lubrication” between the femoral head and acetabulum) is inflamed, which can cause cartilage damage.|
|Post-Traumatic Arthritis||Caused by cartilage damage due to a serious hip injury, such as a fracture.|
|Avascular Necrosis||Certain hip injuries and diseases can limit the flow of blood to the femoral head, causing the surface of the bone to collapse.|
|Childhood Hip Disease||Even when treated successfully, hip problems in children can cause the hips to heal irregularly or develop improperly, leading to pain later in life.|
Hip bone deterioration, arthritis, inflammation that may be caused by previous injury, damage, and overall wear and tear of the joint can all lead to pain and rough surfaces within the joint. Damage usually occurs at the junction of the femoral head (ball) and acetabulum (socket).
Hip pain can cause a difficulty or in some cases an inability to walk. Surgery to replace the damaged joint may be required, but alternative approaches exist that can be taken to help with the pain and joint stiffness. Discuss with your doctor different options that may help to reduce the pain and decide on what options and course of therapy is right for you.
Hip fractures cost more than $11 billion each year (approximately $37,000 per patient).
Osteoporosis and Hip Replacement
Osteoporosis refers to a progressive loss of bone density, resulting in weaker bones that are more apt to break or fracture at even mild trauma. Aging, heredity, diet and lifestyle are all factors in severe osteoporosis, as are certain medications and medical conditions. Osteoporosis is a often a factor in hip fractures, which frequently lead to hip replacement surgery.
- One out of every two women and one in four men over 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime. The most serious osteoporotic fractures are hip fractures.
- The majority of those who experience hip fractures will require assistance in their day-to-day lives. Twenty percent of seniors who suffer a hip fracture die within a year.
- Due to an aging population and a lack of focus on bone health in the past, the number of hip fractures in the United States could double or triple by the year 2020.
- Nearly 75% of all hip fractures occur in women.
- Osteoporosis accounts for more time spent in the hospital than diseases like diabetes, heart attack and breast cancer among women over 45.
- Hip fractures cost more than $11 billion each year (approximately $37,000 per patient).
Osteoporosis can make hip replacement surgery more difficult in cases when the bone has deteriorated so much that it can’t support the weight of the implant. It can also contribute to implant failure. Hip replacements that utilize a cementless femoral stem have a higher incidence of periprosthetic fracture in patients with osteoporosis, and total hip arthroplasty after a hip fracture may make dislocation more common.