The Hip Joint
Hip Replacement from a Patient's Perspective
People who have gone through hip replacement have various stories. One man told me how, before hip replacement, his right leg began to turn in so that he was kicking his left leg as he walked. Walking became increasingly more difficult and painful for him. After his surgery, he said he was able to scamper up ladders and do almost anything he could do when younger (although in his late 70's at the time). After "10 good years" without problems, pain once again reappeared in his right leg and he was now hoping to have another new hip prosthesis.
A keen 21-year old sportsman was involved in activities such as water-ski racing and football until he suffered a terrible sports injury. He sought medical treatment because the pain in his thigh remained intense without indication of improvement.
He told me that, since having a hip replacement, he has become pain free except for a mild ache on days just before it rains. He has given up contact sports and competitions. In other respects, he said his life is now pretty much as it was before the injury.
A heartwarming story came from a 34-year old woman who had lived with rheumatoid arthritis since childhood. Prior to surgery, her legs were bent in an awkward position, requiring her to arch her back painfully in order to stand up. Little movements that many of us take for granted, such as getting out of bed in the morning, were difficult for her. In order for the young woman's legs to be straightened, both of her hips and knees had to be surgically replaced with prostheses.
After the operations, she experienced what she described as "a huge fall in my pain levels and an incredible increase in my stamina and ease of doing anything. It's made my life so much easier." I asked her if she was aware of the presence of her prostheses and she was not. However, she was careful to protect them by making sure that she didn't cross her legs while awake and by sleeping with a pillow between the knees, as hip patients are advised to do this immediately after surgery.