How can I Deal with Hip Replacement Pain?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
An X-ray of the pelvic area, showing a replacement hip.
An X-ray of the pelvic area, showing a replacement hip.

Hip replacement pain is guaranteed for all people who undergo this major surgery, so before going into surgery, it is important to prepare yourself for the long recovery process. Doctors will prescribe painkilling medications, but these will not always alleviate all the pain. You will need to rest immediately following the surgery, though it will be important to begin using the joint shortly after the surgery to promote healing and reduce hip replacement pain. Swelling and infections are common problems after the surgery, so you will need to monitor the wound carefully to avoid hip replacement pain due to infections and excessive swelling.

Some amount of pain is guaranteed following a hip replacement surgery.
Some amount of pain is guaranteed following a hip replacement surgery.

Keeping the wound clean and dry is extremely important in avoiding hip replacement pain and possible complications. The dressings should be covered during bathing, and they will need to be replaced periodically. This replacement is usually done by a doctor, though some experienced patients may be able to change the dressings themselves. Be sure to take all prescribed medications, especially blood thinners that will prevent blood clots from forming in the legs after surgery. If swelling occurs, be sure to take any anti-inflammatory medications you have been prescribed, and notify the doctor immediately if the swelling persists or worsens. Some doctors recommend icing the affected area or even applying heat; be sure to consult the doctor before icing or heating.

For those with a faulty hip joint, hip replacement surgery can significantly increase mobility, in turn improving quality of life.
For those with a faulty hip joint, hip replacement surgery can significantly increase mobility, in turn improving quality of life.

Physical therapy will be necessary shortly after the replacement surgery is complete, which will both help alleviate and exacerbate hip replacement pain. The quicker the muscles, tendons, and ligaments get strengthened enough to be useful, the quicker the pain will disappear mostly or completely. Unfortunately, the physical therapy process itself can also be quite painful, since the joint has been impacted so significantly during the surgery. Be prepared for such pain during physical therapy, and be sure to rest adequately after therapy has concluded. If pain worsens over time, be sure to tell the physical therapist and the doctor to ensure complications are not arising.

Pain can occur during long periods of sitting, so to help alleviate hip replacement pain, be sure to elevate the leg to promote proper blood flow. This will also help relieve some of the swelling that is likely to occur in the weeks following the surgery. It may help you to get up periodically and move around to prevent the joint from stiffening, which will almost certainly lead to hip replacement pain.

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Discussion Comments

anon343023

I have a question about my problem. I had a total hip replacement 10 months ago, but still I have pain and can't walk without a cane even for five or six minutes. Does this sound normal?

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    • An X-ray of the pelvic area, showing a replacement hip.
      An X-ray of the pelvic area, showing a replacement hip.
    • Some amount of pain is guaranteed following a hip replacement surgery.
      Some amount of pain is guaranteed following a hip replacement surgery.
    • For those with a faulty hip joint, hip replacement surgery can significantly increase mobility, in turn improving quality of life.
      For those with a faulty hip joint, hip replacement surgery can significantly increase mobility, in turn improving quality of life.