Total Hip Replacement Indications

hip replacement

There are several total hip replacement indications that can present themselves in any patient. While this may be difficult to tell right away, time will often reveal if a patient may need a total hip replacement surgery. 

Hip Pain

One of the most important indicators that a patient may need a hip replacement surgery is the presence of hip pain. This means that persistent pain, either with or without movement, is present enough that the patient has sought advice. Hip pain is difficult to live with because it affects every part of your active life. Sitting down, standing, walking, going up stairs, and basically everything you do moves your hips. This means that hip pain can be debilitating in a lot of ways. This indicator is different from most, because hip pain doesn’t mean you always need a total hip replacement. You may just need to try some other options. 

Hip Pain Relief

hip pain

Other options for hip pain relief before total hip replacement include several options with varying intensity. Most doctors will first recommend physical therapy as a treatment for hip pain, which often helps a patient greatly. Heat and ice, topical ointments, chiropractic adjustment, and acupuncture can be great alternatives. Another option is weight loss, which may reduce strain on your hip and get rid of that pain. Medication management is a good option as well, but definitely is not for everyone. Steroid injections to reduce inflammation can help with pain for several months at a time, but may not be a long term treatment. There are also less invasive hip surgeries available like Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR), General hip resurfacing, bone grafting, and other surgeries can also help with hip pain relief. 


Pain is one indicator of hip problems, but limitations in movement and functionality are an indicator that something may be seriously wrong. The inability to walk, sit or stand, or do simple exercises is a heavy indicator of the need for total hip replacement. These patients specifically benefit the most from hip replacement surgery. Another issue that goes along with this is stiffness in the hip. Hip replacement surgeries can greatly increase a person’s physical abilities, and hip problems are so limiting and frustrating. Increasing a person’s quality of life is an overarching goal of hip replacement surgery as a whole, so people in this specific range of total hip replacement indications are often the most serious candidates. 


One of the total hip replacement indications that at times is very clear and other times may not be is through imaging. CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays are all used to determine the status and condition of the hip bone, tissue, and to identify any serious issues. If there is breakage of the bone or serious abnormalities, this is generally a serious total hip replacement indicator. If there are signs of arthritis, specifically when there is bone-on-bone contact within the hip joint, this is also a serious indication that the patient needs surgical intervention. 

What is Total Hip Replacement?

A total hip replacement is used to solve these issues. This surgery varies depending on your needs, but most patients have a similar experience. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. This means that it moves around pretty freely, but it is also very difficult to detach. This surgery removes the ball of the joint, called the femoral head, and attaches a new head made of metal. This piece is drilled deep into the femur, making it very secure. The socket part of the joint is partially removed and replaced with a metal and plastic socket, which will hold the metal ball. These implants usually last about 15-20 years, but with new advances, they have lasted over 40 years with good care. This surgery can correct so many hip issues and bring relief, functionality, and quality of life back to a patient in a matter of a few weeks. 

Why Get Hip Surgery?

When a patient is showing the total hip replacement indications, there are many reasons why a good team of doctors would recommend surgery. Hip surgeries are almost never the very first option on a doctor’s mind, but patients who struggle with everyday tasks or feel extreme pain daily need relief. A very high percentage of patients who get total hip replacement or other hip surgeries find that they are pain free or significantly improve as soon as even a week after the surgery. It may be a long or hard recovery depending on your health and condition, but hip surgery can truly be worth it long term.