Your hips support your body while you sit, stand and walk. So unsurprisingly, hip problems can have a big impact on your quality of life, making everyday activities difficult or even impossible.
Hip pain is caused by disease or damage to the joint and its surrounding tissues. Some hip problems resolve themselves with minimal intervention, while others require more proactive treatment.
If you’ve tried treatments such as medication and physiotherapy, but they’ve done little to help your symptoms, your doctor can refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon such as Mr Nirav Shah.
A hip replacement is a major operation and requires careful consideration. Mr Shah will carry out a thorough examination to make sure it’s the best option for you.
In the right circumstances, a hip replacement can provide a new lease of life and dramatically
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms that you may need a hip replacement:
1. Your symptoms aren’t improving
If conservative treatments such as physiotherapy and painkillers don’t improve your symptoms, you should explore other options with your doctor. They may recommend a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon for a consultation. If you are paying for your treatment or you have private health insurance, you can refer yourself to your preferred surgeon directly – you don’t need a letter from your doctor.
2. Your medication causes side effects
Some patients can’t tolerate the recommended medications for their condition because of the side effects, which can be worse than their initial complaint. Sometimes, strong painkillers aren’t suitable because of an existing health condition, for example stomach ulcers. If there are no alternative medications available, depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may want to consider hip surgery.
3. Your condition is impacting your daily life
You might find that early treatments improve your condition to some degree, but a certain amount of pain and stiffness persists. If this continues to impact your day-to-day life, for example you struggle to dress yourself and climb the stairs, a hip replacement may offer a more noticeable improvement. Many patients return to an active lifestyle following hip surgery, including pastimes such as swimming, cycling and golf.
4. You’re in significant pain
Hip pain can be localised around your hip joint, or sometimes referred and felt elsewhere in the body, for example in your knees. Chronic pain can have a big knock-on effect on both your physical and mental health. If you’re experiencing significant pain that keeps you awake at night that isn’t relieved by rest or medication, you should discuss other treatments, including joint replacement, with your doctor.
5. Less invasive surgery isn’t an option
Mr Shah will only recommend a hip replacement after considering all the alternatives. Treatments such as arthroscopy (keyhole surgery) are less invasive, but they’re only worthwhile if they offer a good chance of improvement. Sometimes the joint has been damaged and deteriorated to such a point that a total replacement is your best option for a successful outcome.
It’s not unusual for patients to put off a hip replacement until ‘they really need it’, but by seeing a specialist promptly, you can review all your options and make the best choice for you.
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