NCTV Episode 59

Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-

  • When a hip replacement may be necessary
  • Who usually require them
  • Signs to look out for (hence the name of the episode!)
  • Conservative treatments to try first
  • Physical self-tests


If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-

Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 59 which is all about knowing the signs that indicate you may need a total hip replacement.

I was going to keep this broader and talk about all aspects of a hip replacement as this is a conversation that comes up a lot in clinic. However, as there are a number of related sub-topics to the matter such as, when you might need one, how to prepare for one, the do’s & don’ts following surgery and how to rehab your hip after surgery, I thought it best to tackle these over several episodes as these are obviously supposed to be bitesize health tips so more on the other topics to follow but today we start with the signs that you might need one.

Before we dive in it should be said that most hip problems can be resolved without a full hip replacement and there is a range of treatments available, such as osteopathy, physiotherapy, medication and hip resurfacing that may better address your symptoms.

If your hip pain is not severely limiting your daily life, or you’ve found ongoing relief from these less invasive treatments, then it indicates a hip replacement isn’t necessarily necessary yet. Now try saying that five times in a row and quickly.

That said, there are clearly times when people may have exhausted all other options and as a last resort, the hip replacement is the only way forwards.

While there are no set rules when it comes to hip replacements, surgery is commonly associated with older patients and essentially it is a life-changing procedure for anyone with a worn hip joint.

Here are some of the signs indicating that you may need a hip replacement. Bear in mind that these could also be symptoms of other problems and the best way to accurately diagnose the state of your hip is to speak to a specialist and have an x-ray.

The first sign, unsurprisingly is hip…and groin pain. This is one of the major indicators that there may be an underlying problem with your hip joint. This can manifest itself in a number of ways for example when walking. You may find that you’re unable to walk your usual distances or even complete your usual daily activities. You may also find yourself compensating with a limp, relying on a walking stick, or even needing painkillers just to cope with the pain of walking or other activities such as climbing the stairs or getting into a car.

Another way the pain may manifest itself is during or after exercise. This may, of course, stop you from being as active as you normally would be, for example when jogging, swimming or doing other physical activities. If that’s the case then this may be a sign of hip arthritis. When this occurs, the pain is usually localised between your hip and knee. If it happens to be lower down towards the ankle, the issue might actually be caused by back problems.

The other common pain pattern is night pain. The pain in the hip at night might make it hard for you to fall asleep or you may find yourself waking up because of the pain, caused by movement. Remember though that there a number of hip or joint-related issues that it could be, so if in doubt, get it checked out.

The second sign is stiffness in the hip and this may be apparent if you have difficulty putting your shoes or socks on, especially if one foot is more difficult than the other. You may also start to feel your hip joint clicking, popping or grinding in ways which impair your normal range of movement. In some cases this may ease over time with conservative treatment although if it’s an ongoing problem, you should speak with a physical therapist or specialist.

The third sign is more of a physical test that you can do in the comfort of your own home and this involves attempting to stand on one leg for longer than a minute. If you can’t do that even with support of say a chair, table or door frame then you might have a problem with your hip.

A few other exercises you could try to see if you are in need of treatment for your hip are when:-

  • Lying on your back or sitting, can you bring your knee to your chest? And you can assist with your hands if you need to.
  • Again, lying on your back, can you move your leg out to the side without moving your trunk?
  • Finally, sitting on a chair, can you place your ankle on the opposite knee and let the knee drop out to the side as far as possible?

Try these on both sides and see if there’s a difference.

And finally, the fourth sign that you may need a hip replacement is if your hip isn’t improving following a course of the more conservative treatment options mentioned earlier and the pain is severely limiting your daily life.

That’s all for part one on the topic of hip replacements, tune in again next week for part two and for more bitesize bits to help your health flourish. Bye for now!