4 signs you might need a hip replacement

The London Hip Unit, July 2021

Hip replacement surgery is a procedure to replace your hip joint with artificial parts if it has been damaged or worn away. But would you be able to spot the signs that you could need a hip replacement, and what should you do if you think your hip might need replacing?

We speak to Miss Sarah Muirhead-Allwood, Consultant Hip Surgeon at The London Hip Unit, part of The Princess Grace Hospital, who runs through the top signs to be mindful of.

The London Hip Unit, July 2021

How many people are affected by hip pain in the UK?

Each year in England and Wales, around 80,000 hip replacement operations are performed across independent and NHS hospitals. People often think that only the elderly or immobile require a hip replacement, when in fact more active people in their 50’s and 60’s are undergoing hip replacement surgery. It’s a life-changing operation for many, and can drastically alter the way people go about their everyday lives.

But what are the signs that indicate you may need a hip replacement? Here’s what to look out for:

1. Hip or groin pain

One of the major indicators that you could have an underlying problem with your hip joint is consistent, unrelenting pain which can be felt on the outside of your hip or groin and can stretch to the tops of your legs and down to your knees. If the pain is more prominent lower down your leg towards your ankle, then this could instead be caused by back problems but is again worth investigating. 

It's also likely that hip or groin pain will worsen with activity, such as walking or more rigorous exercising and will lessen with rest.

2. Lack of function which interferes with your everyday life

Hip pain can sometimes become so extreme that it impacts your ability to complete everyday tasks such as going for a walk, managing the stairs or going for a weekly shop. If this is the case, coupled with trouble sleeping due to the pain, then it’s probably the right time to reach out to a hip specialist about whether a hip replacement is the right treatment for you. 

3. Stiffness in the hip joint

One way to determine whether you’re experiencing stiffness in the hip joint is to test how easy you find putting on shoes and socks. If this is a struggle, particularly if it’s in one foot more than the other, then this could be a sign of stiffness that should be investigated further.  

You might also feel one hip joint clicking, popping or grinding in ways which impair your regular range of movement. If this continues to occur, then it’s best you speak with a specialist.

4. No relief from other treatments

If you have already tried other methods of treatments for your hip problems, such as physiotherapy or medication and the problem still persists, then a hip replacement could be the best method of treatment for you. It’s important that you seek specialist advice to ensure it’s the right path for you as a hip replacement is still a big operation which can involve a lot of prehab and rehab. 

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms on a regular basis and would like to seek specialist help, Miss Sarah Muirhead-Allwood has over 40 years of experience in hip replacement surgery at The London Hip Unit.

The London Hip Unit