Arthritis hip replacement surgery and recovery

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The hip is one of the most vulnerable joints for arthritis. But experts say if someone needs a hip replacement, they'll likely have a faster and more complete recovery than with other joint replacements.

Just five weeks after her hip replacement, Linda Hayes walked confidently into Dr. Blair Ashley's exam room.

"I, at one point, just couldn't walk. I couldn't function," she said. "Like coming down the steps sitting down. I couldn't walk down."

Dr. Ashley, a Main Line Health surgeon, says arthritis occurs when cartilage wears off the ball and socket of the hip joint.

"Then as the bone rubs on bone, it's very painful for people and makes it more difficult for them to move freely," she said. "Interestingly, the most classic presentation of hip arthritis is groin pain."

That pain can be mistaken for leg or knee pain. The CDC says 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 5 men will develop arthritis.

Being older, overweight, having a past hip injury or family members with the problem raises the odds.

Strengthening muscles in the hip and core can improve walking in mild to moderate cases.

"Accentuate low-impact activities like things in the water, ellipticals, biking, walking on kind of softer surfaces," said Dr. Ashley.

Dr. Ashley says it's time for a joint replacement when the bad days outweigh the good and the pain and disability keep you from doing what you love. She uses the anterior versus the posterior approach.

"You're just kind of moving muscles out of the way. Nothing needs to be re-attached or repaired later," she said.

Linda was up and walking the day of her surgery and went home the next day. Many patients go home the same day.

"Usually people are transitioning from a walker to a cane within the first one to two weeks and then getting rid of the cane somewhere between two and four weeks," said Dr. Ashley.

Linda says she is back to her daily activities and re-strengthening her muscles for more.

"Like jogging, getting back to yoga, going back to the gym," she said.
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