The hip is one of the most essential joints in the body; it provides stability to support body weight, while allowing for motion and movement. If the hip joint becomes injured, worn down, or otherwise damaged, a person is likely to experience pain.
There are a number of different reasons for hip pain, and several different treatment options to consider. At its worst, hip pain may indicate the need for hip surgery and replacement. Here, the doctors from Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, which serves the Austin, TX, area, present some common signs that indicate a hip replacement may be necessary to restore comfort and mobility.
Pain When Walking
One of the most common and most noticeable signs of a hip injury is pain when walking, jogging, or running. Most often, pain is felt when weight is being put on the leg, or when it is in the downstep motion. The area of pain can vary. People may experience pain in the groin, along the hip and buttocks, or down along the outside of the leg. If pain is persistent or seems to get worse over time, it may be a sign that hip replacement is needed.
Limited Range of Motion
Limited range of motion in the hip joint is another indicator that the hip may be damaged to the point that it needs to be replaced. Inflammation or stiffness in the hip can limit mobility and make it more difficult to bend over, sit down, climb stairs, or perform other daily functions, such as getting dressed or putting on shoes.
Even if walking is not particularly painful, hip damage can cause the gait to be uneven. Many people unknowingly compensate for joint damage by altering their stride so that they are walking with a limp. The limp may affect one or both legs. Limping is not only a possible sign of the need for hip replacement, but also a strong warning to see a doctor. If someone continues to limp for an extended period of time, they can actually cause further complications, including damage to other tissues or muscles.
Individuals who experience instability surrounding the hip joint should also report it to the doctor, as this is another potential sign of advanced hip damage. Instability can result in general imbalance, a feeling of numbness or tingling in one or both legs, or more frequent falls.
Swelling Around the Hip
Joint injuries and damage often result in inflammation. Swelling occurs when the body sends excess blood and nutrients to the site, in an attempt to promote healing. If the hip or surrounding areas is visibly inflamed or tender to the touch, there is likely fluid buildup, which may mean that a hip replacement is necessary.
Pain, inflammation, unsteadiness, and an uneven gait may all indicate that the hip joint is damaged and replacement is necessary. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms, especially for a prolonged period of time, we urge you to schedule an appointment with the doctors at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin. To get started, send us a message online or call our practice at (512) 476-2830.