When Is It Time to Get Hip Replacement Surgery? (podcast)

What you need to know before having hip replacement surgery

Image of an X-ray of a hip joint.

What you need to know before having hip replacement surgery

You’re a runner. You exercise on a regular basis. But now you’re starting to experience hip pain. There are many causes of hip pain. Among them is hip dysplasia, which occurs when there’s a defect in the hip joint.

Hip pain is also caused by osteoarthritis, which develops over time as cartilage in the joint wears out. Doctors initially treat these conditions with anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy. But when those aren’t enough, a hip replacement may be necessary. However, hip replacements aren’t as invasive as they used to be. Incisions are smaller, the recovery time is quicker and implants last longer.

In this episode of San Diego Health, host Susan Taylor and guests Christine Burke, a personal trainer who is an avid runner, and Scripps orthopedic surgeon Rina Jain, MD, discuss how Burke’s diagnosis of hip dysplasia led to a hip replacement.

Burke, 47, initially attributed her hip pain to overuse from a lot of running. She tried non-invasive treatments first, but when she couldn’t comfortably walk around Disneyland, she knew something more had to be done. After a hip replacement, she’s back on her feet. She continues to hike and do half-marathons, although it’s more walking than running. She’s also planning to return to Disneyland pain-free.

Listen to the episode on treatment for chronic hip pain

Listen to the episode on treatment for chronic hip pain

2:27 What causes hip pain? What is hip dysplacia?

Hip pain may be caused by wear and tear of cartilage surrounding the hip joints, which causes bone rubbing on bone.

Hip dysplacia is a deformity of the hip joint that may lead to premature wear and tear of the joint, causing osteoarthritis to happen.

3:55 What is osteoarthritis? How is it treated?

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that lines each joint has worn out and results in bone rubbing on bone.

People with this condition may often treat it with anti-inflammatory medications such as Tylenol, physical therapy. If that does not work, joint replacement surgery is an option.

4:21 How has hip replacement surgery changed over past 20 years?

Improvements to hip surgery have been dramatic. Incisions are smaller. There is less blood loss or need for blood transfusion. Pain management has improved with physical therapy. Patients are staying in hospital for shorter periods.

7:02 How long will my new hip last?

Typically new hip joints are lasting 15 to 20 years but some can last up to 30 years.

9:36 What should I do if I have hip pain? How long should I wait?

If you are experiencing severe joint pain, make an appointment right away to see your doctor. There are many causes of hip pain. A physician can run tests and diagnose your condition.

If the pain is not severe and you suspect that it is due to too much activity, take an anti-inflammatory medication and see if it gets better.

12:31 What about osteoarthritis in older adults?

For older adults, if they've not found any relief with medications or using a walker or physical therapy, hip replacement surgery is an option to help improve their quality of life.

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