Avoiding the pain of hip dislocation

Published: Aug. 4, 2016 at 6:51 AM CDT
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Two and a half million Americans are now living with an artificial hip. Most recover well after surgery, but some patients run the risk of having the new joint dislocate. There are steps to take to prevent the excruciating pain from a “popped” hip.

Seventy-two year old Joanne Welsch is a nurse and was on her feet all the time, until her hip started to hurt.

She told Ivanhoe, “It was never really pain. It was always burning.”

Joanne needed a new hip. Doctors replaced her old joint with a titanium stem-and ball and socket. She was careful to follow what doctors call hip precautions during recovery.

Nakul Karkare, MD, NY orthopedic surgeon said, “You should not be crossing your legs. You should not be bending your hip beyond 90 degrees for about six to eight weeks after the procedure.”

Joanne followed doctor’s orders, but weeks after surgery she turned her torso slightly and had sudden, searing pain in her hip.

Joanne said, “And I felt it pop so I sat down on the ground, which was the only place I could get myself to, and I shimmied across the entire backyard on my behind.”

Joanne’s hip dislocated, not just once, but three times over a period of months.

Orthopedic surgeon Nakul Karkare met Joanne in a New York hospital after the third dislocation and thought she would be a good candidate for a newer joint.

Karkare told Ivanhoe, “It’s a constrained liner, which means that the head is somewhat fixed into the socket.”

With the newer joint, patients have a better range of motion, which also helps to prevent dislocation.

“A lot of this is mental, you are just waiting for this to happen again,” Joanne said.

With her new replacement, Joanne is confident that her days of dislocation are behind her.

In addition to the constrained liner, Doctor Karkare says patients may also have the option of another newer replacement called an “MDM head.” The “head” of the joint is much larger than normal, making it difficult to come out of the socket.