Hip replacement is often seen as a sign of aging.Most people believe that only the very elderly need a hip replacement. This belief derives from the facts that bones usually weaken with age. And while there is truth in that statement, it fails to recognize the myriad of other health factors that can lead to weak bones or poor hip health.
Proper diet and exercise are as much, if not more of a factor in maintaining strong bones and good hips. An elderly lady or gentleman, that gets plenty of vitamins, exercises regularly, and engages in some form of weight training, can easily maintain hips as strong and vital as a person half their age. Similarly, a lack of exercise and poor diet can lead to weak bones in a person as young as 30.
Weak bones alone don’t lead to a need for hip replacement or surgery. Weak bones are just one of the strongest contributing factors. It is these other factors that people should be especially aware of.
Fracture or Dislocation
Hip fracture or dislocation is commonly associated with falling down a flight of stairs. And, this is common in people with weak hip muscles, most especially the elderly. But, it is also common in the very young and healthy. Powerful impacts, most commonly from either car accidents or collisions while playing sports, can crack or even shatter the bone of a perfectly healthy hip. The stronger the bone, the greater the impact necessary to cause damage, but such an impact is certainly possible in potential impact sports like soccer or football, especially when two portions of the body strike that aren’t covered in pads. The damage from this type of injury isn’t just relegated to bones either. Often muscle, nerve, and blood vessel damage is sustained as well. Any fracture or dislocation should be treated immediately by emergency care. At times this can be life saving, and even when it isn’t, it highly decreases the chance that total hip replacement will be needed later in life due to this damage.
Women and older individuals, especially, should be wary of this common hip ailment. It is identifiable by an aching pain on the outside of the thigh. This pain can be chronic or can strike quite suddenly. The latter is especially dangerous because the pain could cause a person to suddenly stumble, leading to a dangerous accident. Bursitis does not require emergency care, but any repeating hip pain should be brought to the attention of an orthopedic specialist. Long term problems like bursitis and arthritis in the hips can lead to inflammation and infection or a weakening of the hip that eventually requires total hip replacement. Early intervention greatly decreases the likelihood that will be necessary, especially since many of the treatments are easy to administer once properly diagnosed.
If you are suffering from hip pain and are considering hip replacement surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Albright to learn all your options.