Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Hip replaced, but the back now aches?

Had a hip replaced, but feel more 'Achy Breaky Back', rather than doing the 'Hokey Cokey'?  This is not uncommon!

According to the National Joint Registry, in England and Wales there are approximately 160,000 total hip and knee replacement procedures performed each year. Approximately the same number of hip and knee joints are replaced.

Whilst many people people are completely satisfied with the results, some go on to develop other problems.

Leg length discrepancy (LLD) after total hip arthroplasty (THA) has been associated with back pain and sciatica, gait disorders, general dissatisfaction and dislocation. (Konyvers and Bannister - The importance of leg length discrepancy after total hip arthroplasty, 2004) A study was conducted of 90 people undergoing a primary THA.  After operation 56 (62%) limbs were long by a mean of 9 mm and this was perceived by 24 (43%) patients after three months and by 18 (33%) after 12. The mean Oxford Hip Score in patients who perceived true lengthening was 27% worse than the rest of the population after three months and 18% worse after 12. In 55 (98%) patients, lengthening occurred in the femoral component.

Whilst this all sounds very concerning, many of the leg length differences are not noticeable, and do not cause any further problems. However, in cases where problems occur this can be addressed by a simple shoe insert to help lengthen the shorter leg.  This will help level out the hips and back.

If you've had a hip replacement, or suffer with back ache, it's worth visiting an osteopath or a podiatrist for a consultation.  In less than a year, I've manufactured orthotics for six people with leg length discrepancies.

If you are about to have a hip replacement or have just  a hip replaced, have your consultant check for limb length discrepancy and issue you with orthotics if required.

Best regards,

Alan Cawthorne.

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