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Anatomy and Function of the hip joint

The hip joint consists of two bones – femur (thigh bone) and the pelvis (hip bone) which is ball and socket joint. The hip joint is a major weight bearing joint that is held together by muscle and ligaments. The hip joint is designed for both mobility and stability, allowing the entire lower extremity to move in three planes of motion. Cartilage is the material inside the joint that provides shock absorption func- tion to the torso and upper body as well as stability during standing and other weight bearing activities.

Non surgical Treatment of the arthritic hip joint
  • Lifestyle modification like losing weight, avoiding aggravating activities
  • Exercises to improve strength and flexibility
  • Pain killer to provide temporary pain relief
  • Glucosamine / Chondroitin to relieve arthritic pain
Arthritic hip joint

Arthritis in the hip joint occurs as a result of degener- ation of the cartilage in your hip joint. Due to osteo- arthritis, the cartilage in the hip joint breaks down over time and the result is severely damaged joint surface with bone rubbing on bone.
In rheumatoid arthritis, it is a chronic inflammatory disease that results in joint pain, stiffness and swell- ing. During the disease process, it causes erosion of the articular cartilage gradually and subsequent damage to the hip joint surface. The disease process leads to severe and at times rapid deterioration of multiple joints, resulting in severe pain and loss of function.

What is total Hip replacement?

It is a surgical procedure in which damaged hip socket (acetabulum) and the ball ( femoral head) are removed and replaced with smooth artificial surfaces. The artificial socket is commonly made of metal with a high density plastic liner, and the artificial ball is made of metal or ceramic or oxinium. Each prosthesis is made up of three components. The femoral stem is made out of a metal such as titanium and is implanted down the shaft of the thigh bone or femur. The ball or femoral head, is attached to the stem and is designed to replace the arthritic femoral head. The third part, the acetabular component is a metal shell with a plastic liner. These components are implanted into the pelvis and thigh bone, and are designed to closely approximate the mobility of the natural hip joint.

Reason for Hip replacement surgery

Total hip replacement surgery is considered when all conservative measures have failed to provide successful intervention which helps to relieve pain, restore an active, pain free life, maximize quality of life and optimize activities of daily living.

Rehabilitation following hip replacement surgery

The rehabilitation process following total hip replace- ment is very important and can be quiet painful at times. Proper rehabilitation post surgery helps you to achieve the pain free full range of movement in your operated hip joint.

In the hospital – Ambulation with walker, Range of motion exercises, edema control by ice compression

At home – Begin ambulation with a cane as tolerated and continue home exercise program

Outpatient Physical therapy – Advanced strengthening program, walking program, aquatic therapy

Long term rehabilitation goals – full range of motion and independent with all activities of daily living