Just because you have osteoarthritis on an x-ray or an MRI;
1. Does NOT mean you need to see a orthopaedic surgeon.
2. Does NOT mean, you need a hip replacement.
Three questions to consider before undergoing elective hip surgery.
1. Have you exhausted every non-surgical treatment option for your hip without any improvement? YES / NO
2. Are you prepared to do an hour of rehab exercises everyday for three to four months after surgery? YES / NO
3. Are you willing to accept the risk that your pain may be worse after surgery? YES / NO
How to avoid surgery.
Because there can be complications during or after surgery – a hip replacement is considered the last option, not the first option.
Research at the University of British Columbia found that experienced orthopaedic physiotherapists were 4 times better at identifying patients that require surgery than family physicians and emergency room physicians.
To ensure that you have exhausted all non-surgical treatment options, you can expect your surgeon will want to know you’ve done all of the following for a minimum of six months without any improvement in your hip function.
- Make an appointment with a experienced orthopaedic physiotherapist and get a daily home-based rehab exercise program to improve your mobility and strengthen your legs.
- Use a cane or walker to offload your hip so you can walk everyday. Think of the cane or walker as exercise equipment.
- Remain as physically active as you can. Do not stop walking and consider adding stationary biking, water based exercise / swimming to your daily routine.
- If you are overweight, make changes to your diet immediately and set a goal to lose weight monthly.
- With your family physician explore pain management treatments/ medications that are appropriate for your medical profile.
- Medications and cortisone injections will not fix arthritis, but are intended to help reduce your pain so you can perform the necessary rehab exercises to improve your hip and hopefully avoid surgery.
Post-Surgical Rehabilitation Information
- Alberta Hip Replacement Guide
- Sunnybrook Hospital – Hip Replacement Exercise Booklet
- Vancouver Coastal Health – Exercise Program Guide For Total Hip Replacement
- Saskatchewan – Hip Replacement Post-Op Exercise Booklet – Saskatchewan
To learn more watch the videos below
To help you make the most informed decision, the following educational videos are presented below. The content is for educational reasons only and we do not endorse the presenters or their surgical clinics.
Terry Kane, Registered Physiotherapist (Calgary, Alberta)
Founder | Owner, OrthopaedicsCanada.com
Hip Replacement: An Overview by Dr. Mary O’Connor
Hip Replacement: Dr. Mary O’Connor Discusses the Risks
Hip Replacement: Dr. Mary O’Connor Reviews the Rehabilitation and Expectations
What are the risks from surgery?