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Posted on in Orthopedics

Hip Joint Replacement: Getting You Back to Normal

Total Joint Replacement is one of the safest and most reliable treatments in medicine.

Our hip joints are incredibly designed to serve us well.  However, wear and tear, disease or injury can lead to medical treatment and even surgery.


“The hip is essentially a ball-and-joint with cartilage cushioning the joint,” says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael Sutton of McLeod Orthopedics Dillon. "When the cartilage breaks down, the bones rub against each other.  Growths (called spurs) can then form around the joint, causing pain and stiffness.”

All of the following issues can lead to hip joint replacement surgery:

  • Osteoarthritis, age-relatedwear and tear, is one cause.
  • Autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation, damaging the cartilage. 
  • A serious hip injury or fracture can lead to hip pain and stiffness.
  • A dislocation or fracture can reduce the blood supply to the joint, causing the surface of the bone to collapse.
  • Some infants and children have hip problems that may cause arthritic inflammation later in life. 


It’s time to see your physician when:

  • Hip pain affects your walking and bending. 
  • Hip pain doesn’t stop when you’re resting, even at night. 
  • You can’t move or lift your leg due to stiffness. 
  • You cannot experience relief from anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen.


A simple medical exam and some X-rays can usually tell the doctor how serious your problem is.  In some cases other tests, such as an MRI, is needed.

If your personal physician refers you to an orthopedic surgeon, they may suggest some non-surgical treatments including:

  • Prescription pain medication.
  • Physical therapy/exercises.
  • Walking aids.

If those interventions do not improve movement or reduce pain, the next step is hip joint replacement.


Your surgery will take several hours.  The surgeon will replace the femur (leg) ball with a metal component.  A cup shaped implant is placed in the hip. Both pieces are cemented in.

You’ll stay in the hospital 2 or 3 days. Hospital staff will get you out of bed and moving as soon as the first day after surgery. Some people need a short stay in a rehabilitation center before going home.


At home, you should have a relative or friend to help you with meals and other things you might need.  Set up a little “Control Center” with a chair, phone, TV remote, tissues, water and anything you might need.

Most or all of your pain will eventually be gone. Surgical results are usually excellent.

Your new hip can be expected to last 10-20 years before another replacement is needed.  You should avoid excessive activity, which can loosen the joint pieces, creating pain.  And most surgeons will advise against high-impact activities, such as jogging, basketball or soccer.

To find a physician, click here

Sources include: McLeod Health, National Institutes of Health, American College of Rheumatology, British Medical Journal, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Association of Knee and Hip Surgeons

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services at McLeod Health. It should not be used for diagnosis or as a substitute for health care by your physician.
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