Time To Treat Arthritis

Joints play an essential role in the body’s movement and overall function. When the cartilage and bone of major joints begin to wear away, significant mobility challenges can occur. This wear and tear is known as arthritis, a condition that will affect 78 million American adults by 2040. Arthritis of the hip is an age-related condition that progressively gets worse. In some cases, a total hip replacement is necessary. Understanding how the surgery will decrease pain and improve mobility can help patients make the right treatment decision.

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What is a total hip replacement?

The hip is a ball and socket joint protected by smooth cartilage. When the cartilage and bone wear away, pain and stiffness can limit mobility. A total hip replacement removes the damaged cartilage and installs a metal, plastic, or ceramic prosthesis. In the past, total hip replacements required large open incisions and multiple hospital recovery days. Now, surgical centers can use minimally invasive techniques to reduce the chances of infection, speed up recovery, and leave fewer scars.

Expectations of the procedure

Total hip replacements happen with the patient under general anesthesia. With a minimally invasive approach, the orthopedic surgeon makes 1-2 incisions along the hip. A small tool called an arthroscope allows the surgeon to see the hip using a camera and light. Next, the surgeon will remove the diseased cartilage and damaged bone. The femur is then hollowed out to allow space for the new joint. The surgeon then installs the joint and uses a special cement to hold everything together.

New hip, more movement

With a minimally invasive approach and physical therapy (PT), most patients need just a few weeks to recover from surgery fully. Patients will experience improved mobility with the new hip over time, slowly finding simple tasks like climbing the stairs or bending over easier and less painful. As a result of the decreased pain, mobility naturally improves. The addition of PT can improve leg strength and flexibility.

Other treatment options

A total hip replacement is often the last resort for patients with arthritis. Some people respond well to physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or steroid injections. Regenerative medicine like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) can provide extended relief. Lifestyle changes, such as exercise, weight loss, anti-inflammatory diets, and quitting smoking, may also help.

Get hip to surgery

Minimally invasive hip replacement surgery is an effective option to treat arthritis. The new hip can last up to 20 years, significantly reducing chronic pain and stiffness. After a full recovery, patients should see a significant improvement in mobility. Hip pain and stiffness can feel overwhelming, but with the proper treatment, patients can feel fantastic and move more freely.