A hip replacement is generally considered when hip pain has reached a point where it is severely affecting a person’s mobility and ability to perform daily tasks. Your doctor will likely prescribe other, more conservative measures first.
People who have hip replacement surgery usually have one or more of the following conditions that are not responding to non-surgical treatment.
Osteoarthritis. This is the most common cause of hip joint deterioration and may be referred to as degenerative joint disease or age-related arthritis. As we age, the wear and tear on our joints builds up, and the cartilage cushioning the joint breaks down. This results in inflammation and pain in the joint, making it hard to walk or bend.
Inflammatory arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the joints. Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis that can happen in people who have psoriasis.
Injury. Trauma to the hip joint such as from a car accident or sports injury can necessitate a hip replacement.
Deformity of the hip joint. Some people are born with a congenital malformation of the hip joint. Sometimes a childhood disease or developmental problem with the hip will cause long-term damage.
Osteonecrosis. Osteonecrosis, also called avascular necrosis, occurs when the blood supply to the femoral head (the “ball” portion of the ball and socket) is disrupted. Without adequate blood supply, the bone tissue dies off. The cartilage is affected as well, causing a painful breakdown of the entire hip joint.
Through diagnostic imaging, your doctor can track the progression of arthritis in your hip or the damage to your hip caused by other conditions. This, combined with your pain level and mobility issues, will help determine when and if it is time to consider hip replacement.