Hip Replacement Education

Anatomy of the Hip

The hip is one of the largest weight-bearing joints in the body.  It has two main parts; the ball (femoral head), which is at the top of the femur and fits into the socket (acetabulum). This “ball in socket” design provides stability to the hip joint.

The surfaces of the ball and socket are covered with a smooth layer of articular cartilage.  This layer cushions the end of the bones and allows them to move easily.  Inside the hip is the synovial membrane that produces a small amount of fluid which lubricates and almost eliminates the friction in your hip joint with movement.

Causes of Hip Pain

The most common cause of hip pain and disability is arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is most common in people over 50 years of age, and in people with a family history of arthritis. In osteoarthritis, the articular cartilage which is cushioning the bones wears away.  Eventually the bones will rub against each other causing pain and stiffness.

Why a Hip Replacement?

When everyday activities are being limited due to stiffness and pain, it might be time to consider a total hip replacement.  The pain may become continuous while resting, at night and during the day. There is little relief with the pain from anti-inflammatory drugs or other treatments such a physical therapy.

Most people who have hip replacement surgery experience a reduction in the amount of pain they are having daily.  The majority of patients are able to return to their previous activities with much less pain than before surgery.