It is important to firstly make an accurate diagnosis of the condition. The investigation of first choice in every case is that of a plain x-ray. Other investigations are not indicated unless there is a specific reason, usually arrived at after the initial assessment.
The hip joint is affected by a large number of disease processes, as well as injuries, less commonly. The majority of cases at all age groups are of a degenerative nature (osteoarthritis), and the most effective treatment of these will ultimately involve hip replacement surgery, though this is always a procedure of “last resort”.
More information about hip replacement:
Total Hip Replacement (THR) involves removing the ball of the “ball and socket” type hip joint, and inserting a long crook shaped “stem”(with a ball on top) into the marrow of the thigh bone (“femur”), as well as inserting a metal and plastic bearing into the socket. The resulting replacement, can function extremely similarly to the natural hip, however it is not as stable, and extremes of movement are discouraged especially in the early phase after surgery. There are many variations possible for hip replacement, including the surgical “approach” or technique, as well as the choice of implants, each with their advantages and disadvantages, which need to be individualised.
It is a common misconception that hip replacements have a 10 year life expectancy, but this is not so, and if early complications are avoided THR can be very long lasting.
Hip Replacement surgery is a major intervention not to be undertaken lightly, and carries with it many risks, which will be discussed in detail at consultation. The surgery requires admission to hospital for 3-7 days, depending on individual progress which is quite variable. The recovery period is also variable, typically it can be 4-10 weeks before comfort is achieved, and optimum recovery takes many months, involving considerable hard work by the patient (rehabilitation). Running or jumping on a THR is not recommended.