Possible hip replacement

I had a fall 6 weeks ago and was prescribed pain meds and anti inflammatories from my GP for pain in my hip and knee. Although I already have severe osteoarthritis in my right hip I thought it would get better but it has got significantly worse and culminated in me going to A and E today as I can barely walk and can’t sleep. I was told that I may have a fracture in my hip but the joint is almost fused together which is limiting my movement. Is it possible that a fall can make the symptoms of osteoarthritis far worse in such a short space of time after just a fall? The ED doctor thought it likely I would need a hip replacement. Thank you


  • chrisb
    chrisb Moderator Posts: 663

    Hi @Chech and welcome to the Versus Arthritis forum. 

    I see that you have OA in your hip and unfortunately had a fall a few weeks ago. This has resulted in a trip to A&E yesterday where you’ve been told that you may have a fracture. You’d like to know from forum members if having a fall can accelerate the symptoms of OA in a matter of weeks. 

    I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to your query but hopefully you’ll receive some useful feedback from forum members and our helpline team.

    If you do end up needing a hip replacement then here’s a link to our website with lots of useful information:

    Also, in case you haven’t visited our website before, here’s a further link detailing how to manage your OA of the hip symptoms:


    I hope you find joining the forum of benefit. 

    Best Wishes

    ChrisB (Moderator)

    Need more help - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,739

    My hip also got much worse after a fall - before then I didn't realise I had OA at all, but the pain went off the scale after I landed on my backside and just got worse and worse, although I hadn't broken anything. Apparently this can happen - my surgeons and a few other patients reported similar. I suspect I knocked off the last remaining bit of cartilage when I landed on my b*m and it was bone on bone after that, which then carried on grinding itself away.

    If the pain has got that bad you need to have a serious talk with your GP about managing your pain and referring you for review with the MSK clinic and possible hip replacement. It sounds like you're at the same stage I was when I was referred, by which time I already needed a new hip and was put on the list straight away.

  • Hi Chech,

    Thank you for posting on our helpline forum, I am sorry to here about the recent fall and that you had to visit A&E it must have been very upsetting for you.

    Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that affects our joints and can start when the cartilage within the joints thins and roughens, and one of the causes that can bring on this condition can be an accident or a joint injury, so anyone who already has this condition and has a fall will possibly make the condition worse and more painful.

    Whilst you are waiting for the possible hip surgery, there are a few things that you could try to do to manage your condition if you haven’t already done these. Heat is an effective and safe treatment for most aches and pains. You could use a wheat bag, heat pads, deep heat cream, hot water bottle or a heat lamp. Try not to have the heated item on your skin for longer than about 20 minutes. Many people also find that ice is helpful when used to manage short-term pain. Ice packs can be made from ice cubes placed in a plastic bag, or wet tea towel. You could also use a bag of frozen peas or buy a ready-made pack from a pharmacy. Ice can be left on for 20 to 30 minutes – if it is left on for longer, there is a risk of damaging the skin. This can be repeated every 2 to 3 hours.

    Your hip pain may improve with a few days’ rest, but as soon as the pain begins to ease, start some gentle exercise to keep your muscles working and stop your hip getting stiff, possibly a referral to see a physiotherapist may be helpful.

    It may also be worth asking your GP for a cream called Capsaicin cream, which is a well-proven complementary cream available for OA. It’s only available on prescription from GPs in the UK. It is particularly effective for the knees and hands and can also be used in other joints. It works mainly by reducing Substance P, a pain transmitter in your nerves. The effect builds up over time, if you do get to try it, you may not start to notice a reduction in your pain levels for a week or so. As the active ingredient is chilli so it’s important not to use it on broken skin and to wash your hands thoroughly after applying it to avoid accidently transfer it to the eyes or other delicate places.

    Thank you Chrisb for adding the links which I hope has helped you, alternatively if at any point it would help you to talk things through informally and in confidence to one of our Helpline advisors you are more than welcome to call our Free Helpline on 0800 5200 520 weekdays 9am – 6pm.

    Best wishes


    Helpline Advisor

  • Chech
    Chech Member Posts: 7

    Thanks so much for your advice it is really helpful. I’m seeing my GP on Monday for a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon. I’m getting round slowly using a rollator but management of the pain is very hard. Thanks again. Cheryl