Common Risk Factors for Hip Replacement

hip replacement surgery

As the age passes by, the body starts expressing the effects of natural aging process in the form of deformities. When your joints start aching and do not support movement, you know that you are not just getting older, but there’s a need to take some actions which will help you to continue doing things that you love and enjoy life. A bad hip joint may be obstructing your way. Modern science has blessed humanity with advanced surgeries like total hip replacement to help you get over the pain and limiting movement. In reality, these replacement surgeries are not just related to the elderly, they are equally beneficial for people of all ages with a worn hip joint.

Hip Replacement

Hip is one such joint in the human body that if it is affected by arthritis, it leaves the person in constant suffering and pain, especially if the case involves osteoarthritis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four women and one in five men are exposed to lifetime risk of hip arthritis, which may require a hip replacement surgery for relief.

What are the risk factors that trigger a bad hip?

There can be several reasons which can contribute to a bad hip. Here are some of the risk factors highlighted by orthopedic specialists which are known to trigger a bad hip.

Developing Osteoarthritis in Hip: 

Arthritis is one of the most common causes for hip pain. This inflammation of joints is known to be worse when you wake up and gradually settles down as you start becoming active during the day. Further it begins to worsen with time.

Developing Osteoarthritis in Hip

Hip is supposed to be the most vulnerable joint in the body to develop arthritis, and osteoarthritis in particular. The risk of developing hip osteoarthritis prevails more in women than men. Yet as we grow older, the hips are getting weary and fatigued while carrying the most of our body weight daily. This imposes great pressure on the cartilage present in the joint area. As the cartilage degrades with excess weight and aging, the person gets the risk of having a constant complaint of pain in the hip region.

Excessive Body Weight and higher Body Mass Index (BMI):

BMI

BMI is a measure of body fat which is calculated from your weight in relation to your height. Higher BMI can be associated with an increased risk with the success of hip replacement surgery. Your body weight is largely supported by your limbs and hence excess weight adds to the strain that your hip joints are exposed to. This further adds to the risk of developing osteoarthritis. The outcome of this can be as severe as stopping your hip movement to the extent that the person starts avoiding your daily routine activities.

Family History of Arthritis:

Almost 50 percent of hip arthritis cases may be found related to inherited genetics. This can be either in the form of a family member with identified osteoarthritis problem or in the form of having genes for poor bone health, thereby causing the condition of arthritis.

A Hip Trauma in the Past:

In case you had faced a severe hip injury in the past, it might trigger your hip pain with aging. This may further increase your risk for osteoarthritis as well.

Amount of Physical Activity as Part of Daily Routine: 

Physical Activity

Walking, running, exercising, doing household chores and so on, are some types of the physical activities. Physical activity adds excessive strain on your hips. Thus there is higher chance of having the need for hip replacement. This excess strain also causes wear and tear in the hip joints thus resulting in constant ongoing pain. This exposes your hip joints to higher risk of injury and thereby the need for undergoing a hip replacement surgery later.

Benefits of Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery has been proven to offer great relief in pain and considerable mobility in patients who are suffering from osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis of the hip region. More than 90% of patients get relief from pain and the increased mobility for around 10 years and many of them would have it functioning even for 20 years.

Still, whenever you get a hip pain which doesn’t go away after your basic treatments like some exercises, local application of some gel or ointment for pain relief, it is highly recommended that you visit an orthopedic specialist for a consultation and explore the options suggested by the expert. However, no pain should be ignored and timely actions are a great help in keeping your body fit and active.

Recovery Time After Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Usually done in old age, hip replacement surgery is quite a major operation and hence takes sufficient care, time and exercise to recover fully from it. Although most patients have similar questions around the recovery process and the time it takes to recover fully, there can be no definite answer to these questions as each person’s case varies significantly.

Yet, the fact is that one should be mentally prepared for taking due care for around 3 to 6 months for returning to their normal daily routine. Broadly, the recovery can be divided into two segments:

Short-term recovery involves the patient to start walking with minimal or no aids and being shifted from major pain relievers to simple medications. This type of post-op recovery takes around 10 to 12 weeks. It includes getting out of the hospital bed, starting to walk with the help of a walker on day 1 or day 2, and getting stabilized in the movement. Further, if things are favorable, the patient is typically discharged on day 3. By this time, the patient is able to have a sound sleep overnight without taking pills. Even after the discharge, the patient is typically on the walking aids but the pain subsides gradually. Once the person is off the walking aids and is able to walk sufficiently without the pain or resting in between, the patient is exhibiting good signs of a favorable short term recovery.

Long-term recovery involves the complete healing of the hip area including the surgical wounds and the internal tissues. With this type of recovery, the patient returns to the normal life activities without any external support or extra medications. It is at this point of time, that the patient is advised to resume work and other activities as routine. Another sign of total recovery is when the patient starts to feel normal again and there is no pinch of pain left in that area. In the language of orthopedic surgeons, the long-term recovery is marked by that physical condition in which the patient is beyond their arthritic pain and dysfunction which existed before the time of operation.

Other factors at play in recovery

Positive attitude, the nurses say, is most important in influencing the recovery of any post-op case. It gives them sufficient motivation to diligently work for their recovery despite bearing some amount of pain.

Information and understanding about the hip replacement surgery and the do’s and don’ts also help the patient in recovering faster.

Early activity is another significant healer which speeds up healing and recovery. Some patients take the initiative to initiate their walk right on the day get the surgery done.

Exercises and physical therapy are of utmost significance when it comes to the post-op recovery. The best way is to start under therapist’s guidance on day two after the surgery and continue with it for almost two or more months.

Strong support system from the medical staff also speeds up the recovery process.

Determination and positive attitude are keys to speedy recovery after THR.

How to Prepare for Hip Replacement Surgery

Medical science is coming up with solutions and techniques which are helping in increasing the average lifespan and also improving the quality of old age. Hip Replacement Surgery is one such activity which is used when the hip joint is either worn out or sufficiently damaged to the extent that it starts to drastically reduce the mobility and gives the sensation of pain even while the person is resting.

hip relacement

The Cause

There are no defined rules for suggesting a hip replacement. However the most common reasons which lead to a hip replacement surgery as a treatment are:

  • Hip or Groin Pain: When a person gets soreness during or after the exercise or if the pain interferes with one’s daily routine, it is a clear indication of hip arthritis.
  • Stiffness: Stiffness in the hip shows up in the form of difficulty in wearing the shoes or socks. Generally the problem is seen more in one foot than the other.
  • Reducing movements: When one starts avoiding movements which make their overall mobility as less than what is essential, it is a sign of severe effect of hip arthritis.
  • One Leg Test: If your ability to stand on your problem leg is less than even a minute and this stands true even with the support of a side table or table top, then indeed the hip is badly damaged.

Preparations for Hip Replacement Surgery

When you have any of the above symptoms, you can consult an orthopedic surgeon for advice on hip replacement surgery. Caused by osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis, this is amongst the most common surgical procedures done by orthopedic surgeons. Once the decision for getting your hip replaced has been made, you can take following steps towards preparing yourself for the surgery rather than being on the auto-pilot mode till the surgery day.

Know the procedure. Before hospitalization, you should gather related information like the type of joints to choose from, the recovery period etc.

Jot your questions. It is quite natural to have doubts and questions about the surgery. Jot down all of these questions and doubts and make sure to address them point by point with your doc in next appointment.

Get trained with physical therapy. Since the reduced mobility would have affected your muscles as well, you can approach your physical therapist pre-op wherein most people do this only post-op. This will help be stronger with the muscles to help support the movements and gear up with faster recovery.

Lose weight. In case of obesity, it is a great way to decrease the chances of post-surgical complications. It also reduces recovery time since the overall load that needs to be borne by the newly placed joint is lesser.

Ergonomic Sitting. Proper seating is necessary so as to start with necessary movement with care and comfort. A firm chair with arms and a high seat to sit is most suitable place to sit with comfort after surgery.  In case of staircase, the side railing is indeed helpful.