The hip joint is one of the largest joints found within the human body. It is a ball and socket joint which is primarily responsible for supporting the upper body when you make movements such as bending, stretching, jogging, walking and standing up.
The hips are heavily relied upon, which can lead to wear and tear of the joint resulting in pain and stiffness. There are also several conditions, which affect the hip and may eventually cause severe pain and a loss of flexibility and movement in the joint, resulting in the need for hip replacement surgery.
Conditions that may require hip replacement surgery include:
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in the hip joint to become worn, which prevents free movement creating pain and discomfort. Osteoarthritis causes the bones in the joint to rub together, which is painful. It is sometimes known as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis and it affects around 1 million people within the UK alone.
Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Inflammation in and around the joint, pain, which tends to be worse during movement.
- Difficulty carrying out everyday actions and movements.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful condition, which restricts movements in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause mild, moderate and severe symptoms which tend to affect people in different ways at different times. Often, symptoms flare up occasionally, which makes it a difficult condition to manage.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. This means it causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue, mistaking it as a harmful threat.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:
- Pain and stiffness in the joints
- Generally feeling unwell
Rheumatoid arthritis affects more than half a million people in the UK and it is most common among those aged between 40 and 70 years old.
3. Hip Fracture
If you recently suffered from an accident or injury that has damaged your hip joint as a result of a proximal femoral fracture (a fracture in the femur or thigh bone), you may be advised to have surgery to replace the joint.
Symptoms of a hip fracture include:
- Restricted movement in the joint
- Pain around the affected bone and the hip joint
- Difficulty moving the leg upwards
- Being unable to bear weight on the affected leg and the leg appearing to turn outwards (this may make it look shorter).
A hip fracture is a serious injury and you should seek urgent medical attention and ring for the emergency services.
4. Septic Arthritis
Septic arthritis occurs when the joint becomes infected. The infection can be caused by many different forms of bacteria, but the most common form is Staphylococcus aureus.
Symptoms of septic arthritis include:
- Pain in and around the joint
- Redness of the skin over the joint
- Generally feeling unwell
- Many people also experience a fever (high temperature).
Osteonecrosis is a condition, which causes the bone tissue to die as a result of reduced blood supply to the bone. Osteonecrosis is most common in the hip and shoulder joints, but it can also affect other joints.
In the early stages, osteonecrosis does not display any symptoms.
However, as the bone becomes increasingly damaged, symptoms tend to appear and they include:
- Pain in the joint (at rest and during motion)
- Restricted movement, limping
- Pain in the groin.
Hip replacement is a serious form of surgery, which should be researched by the sufferer (or carer) thoroughly before going ahead with it. The average life expectancy of the actual replacements are around 10 years, which is why this surgery is for those aged 70 and over.
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