Hip pain is common among athletes and other active people, and it can usually be resolved with nonsurgical treatments, such as rest and physical therapy. However, a person may consider hip surgery if either:
- The particular injury or condition will not respond well to nonsurgical treatments. For example, a large tear of the labrum.
- Non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, have been tried for several weeks or months but have not adequately relieved pain.
Hip surgeries are almost always elective. This means a doctor may recommend surgery but it is up to the patient whether or not to have it.
Deciding to Have Hip Surgery
When deciding whether to have surgery, someone may consider their normal activity level and treatment goals. Some people consider hip pain to be a significant problem if it prevents them from jogging, doing yoga, or playing sports, such as soccer. Others may not consider hip pain a problem until it affects everyday activities, such as household chores or sleeping.
A person should speak with an orthopedic surgeon to weigh the risks and benefits of surgery and set reasonable post-surgical expectations. Patients are encouraged to ask their surgeon questions, such as:
- What is the typical outcome for patients like me?
- What is likely to happen if I do not have surgery?
- What are the risks associated with this surgery?
- Will I need to take time off work?
- How long will my recovery be?
- Is it likely that I am going to need a hip replacement in the future?
Only an orthopedic surgeon can provide answers to all of these questions.
Scheduling hip surgery
Since most hip surgeries are elective, they can be scheduled for a time that is convenient for the patient. This convenience helps ensure a person is able to put full effort into recovery and rehabilitation, which will improve the overall outcome.
Recovering from hip surgery
Recovery usually requires the use of crutches or a walker for days or weeks after hip surgery. Most people can expect to return to unrestricted physical activity within 6 months to a year, although some people will need to make long-term changes, such as switching from high impact activities (running) to low impact activities (cycling or swimming).
Possible outcomes and recovery time depend on the patient’s condition and the surgical procedure being performed.