Authored by Revere Health

How Do I Know If I Need A Hip Replacement?

July 13, 2017 | Orthopedics

Hip Pain - by Dr. Brady Barker

If you’ve struggled with hip pain and conservative treatment methods have been unsuccessful, hip replacement surgery may be an option. During a hip replacement, your surgeon will remove the damaged sections of the hip joint and replace them with new parts—typically made from metal, ceramic and tough plastic.


Signs You Might Need A Hip Replacement


If you’re experiencing hip pain with any of the following factors, your doctor may suggest considering hip replacement surgery:

  • Persistent pain despite taking pain medication
  • Pain that worsens with walking, even when assisted by a cane or walker
  • Pain that interferes with sleep
  • Pain that affects your ability to climb or descend stairs
  • Pain that makes it difficult to stand up from a seated position


A few specific conditions can damage the hip joint and often necessitate hip replacement. These include:

  • Osteoarthritis: Also called “wear and tear” arthritis, this is a form of arthritis that damages the cartilage that covers the bones and helps joints move smoothly.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This is a form of arthritis caused by an overactive immune system, producing inflammation that can erode cartilage and sometimes underlying bone.
  • Osteonecrosis: Osteonecrosis occurs when there is inadequate blood supply to the ball portion of the hip joint, causing the bone to collapse and deform.


Is the Timing Right?


Hip replacement surgery is a significant procedure, and deciding whether it’s the right time in your life to have it performed is important. When considering this choice, most people are looking at at least one of several possible factors:

  • General health
  • Time away from work during recovery
  • Family commitments that may be intruded upon by recovery
  • Recovery time
  • Pain becoming unbearable and/or stopping you from performing basic tasks or caring for your family

Each individual case is different, and in the end, the decision will be yours and yours alone.


Have You Been Waiting Too Long?


Many people deal with pain, swelling and stiffness for years before they consider hip replacement surgery as an option. Others only see a doctor when mechanical symptoms like buckling, clicking, grinding or limping worsen.

In cases of arthritis, this can be problematic in some cases. With worsening arthritis comes increasing stiffness in the joints, which can make hip replacement surgery more difficult to perform. This can lead to a longer recovery process, more physical therapy and, in some severe cases, a permanent loss of joint flexibility that is unable to return even after successful surgery. If you’re debating hip replacement surgery for worsening arthritis symptoms, this is a factor to keep in mind.

If you’re dealing with pain or other symptoms in the hip, speak with your doctor, who will inform you if hip replacement surgery might be a good choice for you.


Dr. Carlson tends to be conservative with surgical treatment, and much of his training is in minimally-invasive procedures, such as arthroscopy. He believes everyone deserves a trial of a more conservative treatment before moving to more invasive treatments such as surgery. Dr. Carlson tries to spend time with patients to better understand their goals and work together to come up with a treatment plan based on those goals and their distinct medical history.




“Hip replacement.” The Mayo Clinic.

“Arthritis and Hip Replacement Surgery.” WebMD.

“Do I Need a Joint Replacement?” American Academy of Hip and Knee Surgeons.


Michael Carlson, MD

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.