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Art of Aging: How to know when it's time for arthritis hip replacement surgery

Main Line Health February 21, 2022 General Wellness

The hip is one of the most vulnerable places for arthritis. Consider the weight the hips must bear throughout your lifetime and now imagine the gradual wear on the “cushion” of the ball-and-socket of the hip joint. That cushion is what’s called synovial fluid, a gel-like substance that protects the joints from rubbing together. Over time, the aging process causes a loss of synovial fluid, to the point where bone rubs on bone, producing tremendous pain for people.

Other factors that contribute to hip arthritis:

  • Weight gain and weight loss
  • Trauma/injury to the hip
  • Genetic predisposition / hip arthritis in the family

And plain old aging, cause a loss of synovial fluid, to the point where bone rubs on bone, producing tremendous pain for people.

Wondering if arthritis hip replacement surgery is for you? Register for an upcoming hip and knee pain seminar.

But experts like Blair Ashley, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon and joint replacement specialist at Main Line Health, agree that if arthritis hip replacement surgery is on the horizon for you, it is generally a surgery that you can recover from quickly and completely, and will allow you to get back to doing things you love more easily.

Watch 6abc Art of Aging video about arthritis hip replacement surgery featuring Dr. Ashley:

Arthritis hip pain often mistaken for knee, groin, leg pain

People with arthritis hip pain may notice pain in other areas, including the buttocks, groin, leg, knee, even the ankle. This is because pain from hip arthritis “transfers” via the nerves to surrounding areas. What starts out as hip pain may end up feeling like knee pain and all-around joint pain that is debilitating and affects your quality of life as well as desire to get out and do things.

Five weeks after arthritis hip replacement surgery she walks with confidence

Patient Linda Hayes walks into Ashley’s office five weeks after arthritis hip replacement surgery. Hayes had previously been so hobbled by pain she could barely walk or get up and down the steps.

Ashley says it’s time for hip replacement surgery when the bad days outweigh the good.

Related: A joint replacement specialist on how to deal with joint pain

She uses an anterior approach to hip replacement surgery, moving muscles out of the way, rather than a posterior approach. This is a less invasive and less painful way to perform hip replacement surgery. Patients are usually on their feet walking the same day of surgery. Patients may use a walker for a week or two then transition to a cane for a few weeks after that. Then they can get back to activities they love to do.

For Linda Hayes that includes yoga and jogging. Other types of physical activities to support strengthening the muscles in that area include low-impact aerobic activity such as walking and swimming.

Wondering if it’s time for arthritis hip replacement surgery?

Join us for an upcoming hip and knee pain seminar. Our orthopaedic specialists will also discuss effective nonsurgical treatments for joint pain as well as the latest innovative joint replacement procedures being performed at Main Line Health hospitals.

Register for an upcoming hip and knee pain seminar

Main Line Health serves patients at hospitals and health centers throughout the western suburbs of Philadelphia. To schedule an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.