As the baby boomer population continues to get older we are seeing a rise in the number of total hip replacements. The hip is one of the largest joints in the body and is built for weight-bearing. This joint is considered a ball and socket joint which allows for more mobility than other joints.
What leads to a THR? The usual culprit for a THR is a result of moderate to severe arthritis. There are three different types of arthritis that can affect you. They are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis. All of the three types result in a degeneration or loss of cartilage in the hip-joint. This results in excessive rubbing of the joint onto itself which can cause intense pain and poor function of the hip-joint.
Depending on the amount of cartilage degeneration before a THR you can experience the following symptoms
- A sensation of clicking or popping in the hip-joint
- Moderate to severe pain on the outside (lateral) part of the hip or groin
- Loss of motion to the hip/stiffness
- Weakness noticed to the affected leg when trying to walk
The surgery – When performing a THR your surgeon will either resurface the hip or the joint will be completely removed and replaced. Depending on your needs they will do the following in surgery: they will replace the ball of the hip with a metal or ceramic material, or they will replace the socket of the joint with ceramic or metal material. Your surgeon may also decide to use plastic for the socket.
Physical Therapy after surgery – Depending on the severity of your condition you may have inpatient physical therapy in the hospital or at home physical therapy before transitioning to outpatient physical therapy. Physical therapy will help you regain strength, flexibility and mobility within the joint. There is usually a good outcome with physical therapy to help you return to your everyday activities. A patient can expect 3-4 months of outpatient physical therapy following this procedure.