Did you know this version of Internet Explorer is out of date?

To get the latest experience from our website, please upgrade your browser.

Have a drug or medical device concern?

call 844-387-2243

Take Hip Precautions During the Cold of December

Terri Ackerman

Last updated: November 8, 2016 8:28 pm

On This Page

For many across the nation, December is a cold winter month, and with winter comes snow and ice. Walking on ice can be treacherous, and, for some, falls can be serious. 1

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “many cold-weather injuries result from falls on ice-covered sidewalks, steps, driveways, and porches.” The agency advises everyone to keep all walking surfaces as free from ice as possible. Rock salt, sand, and chemical de-icing products can help eliminate the possibility of falling. 2

Feeling the Cold of Winter in Your Joints

Some people say they know cold weather is coming by the pain they feel in their joints. Although research has been unable to prove cold weather causes joint pain, as the surrounding temperature changes, the pressure in a person’s joints possibly also changes. 3

If winter leaves you feeling achy, aim to keep warm by:

  • Wearing several layers of clothes
  • Preheating your car
  • Keeping your living space warm

You may also find it helpful to use an electric blanket, drink warm beverages, and throw your clothes in the dryer before getting dressed. Exercise may also help warm joints and keep them from feeling stiff. 4

Special Hip Precautions for Those with Osteoarthritis

For people with osteoarthritis, extra hip precautions during cold winter months may ease the pain. Although you may feel tempted to keep your legs up, you may experience less pain if you keep moving. 5

Swimming, biking and walking are all low- or no-impact activities that can ease hip discomfort. Whatever activities you choose, moderation, rather than excess, is key. 6

Osteoarthritis and the Risk of Falling

Falls can be serious for anyone, but for some, including those with osteoarthritis, the risk of complications following a fall may be even greater. Researchers are looking into the ways osteoarthritis may increase a person’s risk of falling, as well as the seriousness of injuries that occur after a fall. 7

Pain and stiffness as well as “decreased function, muscle weakness and impaired balance” may not only increase a person’s risk of falling but also increase the likelihood of more serious falls and more severe fractures. Those with osteoarthritis may benefit from exercise with an educational component so that they can learn how to reduce their risk of falling. 8

Osteoarthritis and Total Hip Replacement Surgery

For some people with osteoarthritis, medication, exercise and lifestyle changes do not eliminate the pain or restore function to their hip joint. In these instances, total hip replacement surgery may seem a viable option. 9

Complications during and following surgery are always possible. 10

Possible Complications Following Total Hip Replacement Surgery

In addition to dislocation, individuals who have undergone hip replacement surgery may experience pain associated with inflammation. Other complications include

  • Infections
  • Blood clots
  • Fractures
  • Loosening 11

These and other complications might require revision surgery.  Sometimes, such revision surgery shows that the fractures or lessening were caused by defects in the device or components implanted in your body.

EMPERION Modular Hip System Complications

Emperion Modular Hip system has been linked with fracture resulting from corrosion, fretting and metal debris at the implant’s junctions.

Stryker Hip Replacement Side Effects

Stryker hip replacement side effects for both the Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stems may include metallosis and dislocation, which may lead to early device failure. There has been a recall of components of Stryker’s Rejuvenate and ABG II modular-neck hip stems.

Wright Hip Replacement Complications

MicroPort Orthopedic’s PROFEMUR modular neck device, originally manufactured by Wright Medical Group, has been associated with a higher than expected rate of fractures. Fracture and revision complications, according to the FDA, “could lead to neurovascular damage, hematoma, hemorrhage, and even death.” The FDA has classified a MicroPort Orthopedic recall as a Class 1 recall for this PROFEMUR modular neck device.

Zimmer ProxiLock Hip Prosthesis Complications

Some research indicates that Zimmer’s ProxiLock Hip Prosthesis stem may lead to an increased risk of femur fracture necessitating revision surgery.

FDA Issues Warning About Artificial Hip Implants

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), all artificial hip implants carry risks. In addition to the complications associated with hip implants in general, however, there are additional risks for metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants, including the fact that tiny metal particles can be released into the body. 12

The FDA states that:

  • In MoM hip implants, the metal ball and the metal cup slide against each other during walking or running.
  • Metal can also be released from other parts of the implant where two implant components connect.
  • Metal release will cause some tiny metal particles to wear off of the device into the space around the implant.
  • Wear and corrosion at the connection between the metal ball and taper of the stem may also occur.
  • Some of the metal ions (e.g. cobalt and chromium) from the metal implant or from the metal particles will enter the bloodstream. 13

The FDA points out that “[o]rthopaedic surgeons take several precautions before and during hip replacement surgery to try to optimize the way in which the ball and socket rub against each other so that fewer wear particles are produced. However, there is no way to fully avoid the production of some metal particles.” 14

The FDA explains that “[d]ifferent people will react to these metal particles in different ways. At this time, it is not possible to predict who will experience a reaction, what type of reaction they might have, when the reaction will occur, or how severe the reaction will be.” 15

“Over time, the metal particles around some implants can cause damage to bone and/or tissue surrounding the implant and joint,” the FDA adds. 16

  1. http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/duringstorm/outdoorsafety.asp 

  2. http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/duringstorm/outdoorsafety.asp 

  3. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2009/january/feature1.htm  

  4. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2009/january/feature1.htm 

  5. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/wherereca-it-hurts/hip-pain/causes/why-your-hips-hurt.php 

  6. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/where-it-hurts/hip-pain/causes/why-your-hips-hurt.php 

  7. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/joint-protection/osteoarthritis-and-falls.php 

  8. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/pain-management/joint-protection/osteoarthritis-and-falls.php  

  9. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Hip_Replacement/#8 

  10. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Hip_Replacement/#8 

  11. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Hip_Replacement/#8; http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hip-replacement-surgery/basics/risks/prc-20019151 

  12. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/MetalonMetalHipImplants/ucm241604.htm 

  13. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/MetalonMetalHipImplants/ucm241604.htm  

  14. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/MetalonMetalHipImplants/ucm241604.htm 

  15. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/MetalonMetalHipImplants/ucm241604.htm 

  16. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/ImplantsandProsthetics/MetalonMetalHipImplants/ucm241604.htm