Patients who suffer from hip pain and conditions that typically call for hip replacement surgery may have concerns with the risks and the experiences of recovery, seeking alternatives to surgery and the non-surgical options they have. Surgery may also not be possible for some patients, whether because of beliefs or other health reasons that make them ineligible for procedures. No matter why hip surgery isn’t pursued, there are alternatives available.
Conditions That Call for Hip Surgery
Hip arthroplasty is recommended for patients that have either suffered trauma to their hip joint or from a disease that has degraded it to the point of pain and restricted their mobility. Diseases that lead to hip surgery being recommended include:
- Osteoarthritis: this is sometimes referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis. This disease damages the slick cartilage at the ends of bones which helps the joints move smoothly.
- Osteonecrosis: This is when enough blood isn’t supplied to the ball portion of the hip joint and can occur from a dislocation or fracture, leading the hip bone to collapse or deform.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This is caused by an overactive immune system that creates inflammation, eroding cartilage, and sometimes the underlying bone. Ultimately it can result in damaged and deformed joints in the hip.
Hip Replacement Alternatives
Surgery isn’t the first route doctors take when recommending treatment to a patient. Instead, they will focus on conservative non-surgical alternatives before suggesting hip replacement surgery, which includes:
Injections and Infusions
There are medications available that are injected directly into the hip that help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. One such medication is corticosteroids which relieve inflammation, but there are also infusion therapies that deliver medicine intravenously or through the muscles. There are also platelet-rich plasma injections that use the platelets from the patient’s blood to improve tissue regeneration and repair cartilage. There are also stem cell injections available, which help develop bone or cartilage. This is a newer treatment that is still being studied and would require a conversation with your doctor.
To help alleviate pain and pressure on the hip, a patient could take steps to reduce their weight and use a cane or walker. Also, after discussing with your healthcare provider, taking up low-impact exercise can reduce the stress on a patient’s hip and help improve its strength.
Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help relieve hip pain, as are muscle rubs for temporary pain relief. Also, you can talk with your doctor about prescription medications like antirheumatic drugs or biological response modifiers.
Occupational and Physical Therapy
As with the other alternatives to hip replacement surgery, it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor to determine if it’s a safe pursuit. Rehabilitative medicine and exercise can both strengthen and stretch the muscles and soft tissues which improves the flexibility and support of the hip joint. Learning new ways to perform daily activities can also reduce hip pain, as can specifically designed clothes.
You Have Options for Hip Replacement Alternatives
Patients have options beyond surgery to improve both the function and alleviate pain in their hip. If hip replacement surgery concerns you, it’s important to voice them with your doctor and discuss alternatives that better fit your health and medical goals without arthroplasty.
We at Proliance Surgeons Everett Bone & Joint are dedicated to treating hip injuries and conditions, ensuring our patients have the knowledge to participate in the medical process. By delivering the highest quality of care and expertise, we better the community and keep our neighbors in good health for as long as they can and help them with a shorter recovery time. If you are concerned that hip replacement surgeries may be needed, don’t hesitate to contact us using the button below.