DAVE WATTS, MD
How do you know if it’s time for a hip replacement?
If you’re on the fence about hip surgery, you’re not alone. When it comes to hip pain, many older adults prefer to wait it out and try medication rather than instantly consulting with an orthopedic hip specialist about surgical options. However, many older adults feel trepidation about surgery for hip pain, getting total hip replacement can often be the best way to alleviate pain in the long run. Most Sioux Falls orthopedic surgeons will tell you that if you’re trying to get relief from hip injury or chronic pain, delaying surgery might provide the opposite effect. If you want to know whether or not hip replacement surgery is right for you, here are a few telltale signs.
Pain in the Groin Area
Even if your hip pain begins in a less central place, the worse the pain and deterioration gets, the more it will expand, eventually reaching the groin area. This can make it difficult to walk, sit, or even sleep without a lot of discomfort. The inflammation will cause stiffness in your joints, which will make it harder to perform everyday activities the longer it goes untreated. For this reason, hip replacement surgery is recommended sooner rather than later.
One of the worst symptoms of hip arthritis and joint pain is the sensation of bones grinding through cartilage. This exposes your nerves to a ton of pain and doesn’t give your bones the padding they need to function correctly without causing you to suffer. You’ll be able to tell if your joint cartilage has worn down through an X-ray. However, you’ll be able to feel the pain long before then. To protect your bones, speak to your doctor before the pain gets too intense.
Chronic pain isn’t just hard to deal with during the day. If you’ve been suffering from hip pain for a long time, you’ll already know what a struggle it is to get the pain to subside before bed. If it’s really bad, it will often wake you up in the middle of the night or prevent you from falling into a deep sleep in the first place. This isn’t just unpleasant and tiring. Pain that won’t go away can stop you from getting the amount of restorative sleep you need, impairing your mental health and well-being.
Inability to Resume Normal Activities
Even if your joint pain isn’t bad at first, there may come a time when performing day-to-day activities such as walking around, getting to work, and even doing basic exercises becomes too painful to endure. If you find you’re missing a ton of work, taking lots of sick days, and aren’t able to honor social or personal commitments that are important to you, you’ve reached a point where the pain is starting to take over your life. Even if you’re on medication that helps with the pain, it might not be protecting your joints from deteriorating further. At that point, it’s best to look into hip replacement surgery so you don’t have to keep pressing pause on your life.