Can Hip Replacement Be Avoided?

Can Hip Replacement Be Avoided?

The American Joint Replacement Registry (AJRR), which contains information about 1.2 million patients, was published in May 2020. The AJRR reports that 602,582 total hip procedures were performed between 2012 and 2018. In fact, hip replacements represented more than 80% of procedures in the report. 

If you need hip replacement, our highly skilled providers at Orthocenter are here to help. However, we know that most people prefer to wait as long as possible before having this surgery, and that many wonder if they can’t avoid it altogether. We would love nothing more than for you to keep your natural hip joints, and live a healthy, active life! 

Let’s look at the ways you can keep your hip joints healthy, as well as alternatives to replacement. 

Why so many hip procedures? 

The main reason for hip replacement is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative condition that causes the cartilage in your joints to degrade. Without the cartilage there to cushion the joint, your bones rub against each other painfully. 

Other conditions can lead to the need for hip replacement as well. Rheumatoid arthritis and trauma can adversely affect your hip joints. Genetics can play a role too. 

Depending on why you may eventually need a hip replacement and how advanced your condition is, you may be able to slow the degenerative process enough that you don’t need hip replacement surgery. 

Consider the pressure on your hips

Being overweight can have a big impact on your hip joint function. For every 10 pounds of extra weight you have above your waist, your hips endure an extra 75-100 pounds of pressure, so losing just a few pounds can make a big difference in the health of your hip joints. 

Of course, it’s far easier to say “lose some weight” than it is to actually shed the pounds. If you’re interested in losing weight, talk to our staff. We may be able to suggest resources that will help. 

Build strength and flexibility 

To better support your hip joints, work on strengthening the muscles that surround them. Having strong abdominals, gluteal, and back muscles — a strong core — provides support and protection for your joints.

In addition to strengthening, you should work on increasing muscle flexibility as well. Stretching after you exercise while your muscles are warm is a good way to effectively improve your flexibility. 

If you’re not sure where to start with building strength and flexibility, you may want to consider a few visits with a physical therapist. They can help understand how to target specific areas, and what’s safe for you to do. 

See a specialist sooner, not later

If you have consistent pain, schedule an appointment and find out why. With degenerative hip conditions, an earlier diagnosis and treatment can usually help preserve function. 

If your hips hurt when you walk, climb stairs, or do specific exercises, find out why and what you can do about it. 

Consider other treatments

Even if you have osteoarthritis in your hip joint, you may not need hip replacement surgery. Our experts may suggest other treatment options. For example, injections are a better approach for some people. Injections can lessen inflammation and pain, or lubricate your joint so it functions better. 

Arthroscopy may also be an alternative to hip replacement. If the damaged cartilage in your joint is rubbing and causing pain, we may be able to use minimally invasive surgical techniques to remove it. 

In the end, the right treatment for you, whether it’s lifestyle adjustments or a total hip replacement, depends on many individual factors. The best way to decide how to proceed is to discuss your situation with a specialist and ask questions about their recommendations. 

Want to know more about keeping your hips healthy? Schedule an appointment at one of our locations today and talk to an expert. 

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