How to Make Your Hip Replacement Last Longer

Orthopedic surgeon in southern California examines imaging of a hip replacement for signs of ware

The number of hip replacements over the past ten years has increased dramatically. In fact, The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that more than 450,000 of these procedures are performed yearly in the United States. Hip replacements can significantly benefit patients suffering from hip conditions such as degenerative arthritis by dramatically reducing pain, providing increased mobility, and promoting an active lifestyle. So, if you have had a total hip replacement, you may wonder what can make your new hip last longer. The following tips will help prevent the early degradation of your joint replacement.

Maintaining a healthy weight: The amount of weight your hip carries will affect how soon your hip replacement implant will wear out. We recommend dropping excess weight with low-impact exercises and sticking to a nutritious diet. Minimize or avoid saturated fats, processed food with low nutritional value, high sugar foods and drinks, and excessive calorie intake.

Staying active but avoiding high-impact activities: Daily exercise is great for your hip replacement and will keep your muscles in shape, but specific actions will stress your replacement hip device, leading to it wearing out sooner. Avoid heavy lifting, excessive stair climbing, running, jogging, jumping, steep hiking, and activities with a substantial amount of twisting, cutting, or bending. Low-impact exercises with cardiovascular benefits include stationary cycling, elliptical machine, walking, and swimming.

Bone health: If you have had a hip replacement or are considering undergoing this procedure, it is essential to discuss bone health with your primary care provider. They can help ensure appropriate calcium levels and vitamin D. Adding a vitamin D supplement is beneficial if you have a deficiency like many other Americans. Most people can obtain enough calcium through the food they eat. Calcium is found in foods like soybeans, dark leafy greens, fortified milk, and yogurt. Vitamin D-rich foods include salmon, cod, mushrooms, sardines, fortified orange juice, and milk.  Speak to your primary care provider before starting calcium supplements, as too much calcium can cause other problems. It is also essential to be screened for osteoporosis and treat it with medications if needed.

Avoid falls: Falls can damage your hip replacement or cause bone fractures around your implant. After surgery, use an assistive device such as a walker or cane until you have regained enough strength to walk without a machine. Prevent falls by eliminating tripping hazards like loose rugs and electrical cables in your home.  You may want to install assistive devices like grab bars in the bathroom. Keep home areas well-lit for good visibility, and be mindful of your pets at all times.

Preventative antibiotics: if you need a medically invasive procedure after your hip surgery, antibiotics may be recommended to prevent infection from getting to your hip. For example, we recommend this for any dental procedures for six months following a hip replacement, outside of urgent or emergent situations, as bacteria from the mouth can travel to the hip. Antibiotics may be recommended to prevent infections if critical dental procedures are needed after surgery.

Should you have any questions about your hip replacement or if you are looking for a hip replacement in the future, we encourage you to contact our office to learn more.