As humans, we rely on the ability to walk in order to perform most daily functions – just think about a typical day in your life. Now, imagine you didn’t have a hip joint. Life would be a lot harder.
After the knee, the hip is the second largest weight-bearing, and one of the most important, joints in the body. It offers us the ability to walk, run, jump, dance, twirl…
The hip joint is a ball and socket synovial joint, joining the head of the femur (thigh bone) and the pelvic socket. Around these bones is a network of ligaments, cartilage and membranes, all of which helps the bones to glide past each other without any friction, damage or dislocation.
All of the components of the hip joint assist in the mobility. Damage to any part of the joint can have a massive effect on one’s mobility, range of motion and ability to bear any weight on the joint.
Orthopaedic degeneration or trauma can often result in a full or partial hip arthroplasty (replacements) or hip resurfacing.
A hip arthroplasty is the removal of the damaged parts of the hip joint, which are then replaced with artificial joints, made from either metal, ceramic or plastic.
It is an extreme surgery that is only performed on people with severe hip damage or osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis). It is a viable option for people who have tried more conservative treatment plans, such as physical therapy, pain control and exercise, and are still left in pain and with hindered mobility.
A hip replacement can help to relieve pain, assist the hip joint to function better and improve mobility.
Minimally invasive anterior hip surgery
A minimally invasive anterior hip surgery is similar to a hip arthroplasty, but with less cutting of the tissue around the hip joint.
Specially designed surgical tools are used in order to insert the artificial joints, and only one or small minor incisions are made. The incisions are so small, they allow for almost no tissue disturbance. This procedure leaves the gluteal muscles – the most important muscles for hip function – undisturbed.
Crucial to daily life, the knee is the link between the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone). It’s a modified hinge joint comprising three components: the patella (kneecap), the patellar groove on the femur, and the medial and lateral tibiofemoral articulations linking the femur to the tibia. To support and add stability, there is a matrix of tendons and ligaments connecting the bones to the leg muscles. The knee, being a modified hinge joint, allows for flexion, extension, and slight internal and external rotation.
At birth, the patella is only cartilage. Between the ages of three and five years old, this cartilage patella ossifies and turns into bone.
The knee joint is vulnerable to injury and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, caused by ageing and wear and tear of the cartilage. Other common knee injuries include patellofemoral syndrome (aggravation to the cartilage on the underside of the patella), patellar subluxation (the patella slides out of place or dislocates during activity) and patellar tendonitis (tendon inflammation).
Trauma is accidental or intentional injuries that lead to life threatening situations. Trauma and orthopaedics is an area of surgery concerned with injuries and conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system (the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves).
Sports injuries result from acute trauma or repetitive stress associated with athletic activities. Sports injuries can affect bones or soft tissue (ligaments, muscles, tendons).