The hip joint is a ball and socket joint designed to be a weight bearing joint that provides stability. The hip joint is one of the most important joints in the body because it allows you to walk, run and jump. In addition to being the body’s second largest weight-bearing joint (after the knee) it is also one of the body’s most flexible joints, allowing a vast range of motion. Ligaments surround the hip to keep the joint in place and cartilage provides a cushion against friction as the hip bone moves around in its socket.
The hip joint is designed to withstand a lot of repetitive motion and a fair amount of wear and tear, but even though it is durable, it isn’t indestructible. As we age, the cartilage around our hip joint can wear down or become damaged, the muscles in our hip can get overused or the hip bone can be fractured by a fall—all of which can cause hip pain.
Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement surgery is a procedure in which a painful hip joint is replaced with an artificial part (called the prosthesis) made from metal and plastic. Hip replacement surgery typically results in increased mobility and movement, better function of the hip joint, pain relief and overall better quality of life.
Your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery when all other treatment options have failed to provide adequate pain relief. Before considering a hip replacement, your surgeon may suggest other non-surgical treatment options, such as exercise, walking aids and medication.
Hip replacement surgery can be performed traditionally or by minimally-invasive techniques. While many hip replacement surgeries today are performed using the traditional technique (one 8 - 10 inch cut along the side of the hip), some doctors prefer using the minimally-invasive technique (one to two cuts from 2 - 5 inches long).