Is thigh pain after hip replacement normal?

If you’re experiencing consistent or worsening hip pain that isn’t improving with medication or walking aids, then it’s possible that you’ll need a hip replacement. But even though the hip replacement can make a world of difference, it doesn’t mean that you won’t still experience pain for a bit afterward.

As you’re getting used to your new and improved joint, it’s expected that you’ll feel some pain in your hip following the surgery. But it’s also important to note other areas that you could be experiencing pain, such as in your thigh. It’s normal to experience thigh pain after your hip replacement, and we’ll discuss why. 

Read on to learn the basics about a hip replacement and why it’s normal to experience thigh pain after a hip replacement. Then we’ll discuss how physical therapy can help alleviate the ache. 

The basics about a hip replacement surgery

Hip arthroplasty, commonly referred to as a hip replacement, is a surgical procedure. It involves replacing worn-out or damaged hip cartilage and bone. They are replaced with artificial parts that are made out of metal, plastic or ceramic materials.

Hip replacement surgeries are used to help people who have consistent hip pain and reduced mobility that is interfering with their quality of life. The procedure is often used as a solution to help people who have damaged their hip due to trauma or have arthritis pain that isn’t responding to other treatments, such as medication. 

More than 300,000 hip replacement surgeries are performed every year in the United States. Even though the average patient who undergoes the procedure is over the age of 60, it’s not uncommon for younger people to explore the option as well. It’s likely due to the high activity levels in their day-to-day lifestyle that they want to maintain.

The most common type is a total hip replacement surgery, which is when both the ball and joint are removed. There’s also the option of a partial hip replacement, which involves only removing and replacing the femoral head, or the ball.

How a hip replacement can cause thigh pain

After a hip replacement, it takes time to work through the symptoms and feel comfortable using your new hip joint. It takes approximately three months to fully recover from a total hip replacement, though it can vary for each person. 

Pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion are the most common symptoms to experience after having a hip replacement, especially in the first couple of weeks following the procedure. The pain is often intensified after either too much activity or an extended period of resting. But it’s common for the pain to radiate throughout the lower extremities, including the groin, buttocks and knee. It’s also possible to feel pain in your thigh.

Feeling thigh pain following a hip replacement, known as thigh femoral stem pain, is normal as your body adjusts to the new parts. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • The stiff stem pressing into the bone, which is more flexible.
  • Having a loose implant that the bone can’t grow into, causing movement.
  • Impingement of the nerve if it was stretched or damaged during the procedure.

How physical therapy can reduce thigh pain after a hip replacement

Physical therapy can play a huge role in your hip replacement recovery. With a proper treatment plan starting almost immediately following the surgery, your physical therapist can help you move around properly with your new joint while increasing the area’s flexibility, strength and function.

One of the most vital aspects of physical therapy for a hip replacement recovery is pain management. By targeting the tissue surrounding the new joint with techniques like manual therapy, your physical therapist can help alleviate the source of the pain radiating down to your thigh.

Manual therapy will likely include soft tissue mobilization, which involves the therapist using their hands to manipulate the tissue as a way to release the tension as well as reduce the pressure on your nerves that may be causing your thigh pain. 

Continuum Wellness can help treat thigh pain after hip replacement surgery

Even though it’s normal to feel thigh pain after you’ve undergone hip replacement surgery, that doesn’t mean you have to just grin and bear it. Throughout the rehabilitation during your recovery, your physical therapist can help alleviate the pain in the entire affected area, including your thigh. 

At Continuum Wellness, our physical therapists will help you every step of the way through your post-surgical rehabilitation, including reducing your thigh pain.

Call us or request an appointment today to alleviate thigh pain after a hip replacement.

For more information, Contact Us Today.

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