Why does my artificial hip click?
After undergoing a hip replacement, some people report hearing clicking (or popping or clunking, whatever onomatopoeia you prefer) around their new hip implant. This sound can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are normal, while others might indicate a potential issue. Here are a few possible reasons why your artificial hip might be clicking:
Soft tissue movement
After a hip replacement surgery, the surrounding soft tissues, tendons, and muscles can sometimes move and rub against the components of the artificial hip. This type of clicking is generally harmless.
Synovial fluid movement
Synovial fluid is a lubricating fluid present in healthy joints. Sometimes, the movement of this fluid within the artificial hip joint can result in clicking noises. This is often more noticeable when you change positions or move your hip.
The artificial hip joint includes several components, such as the ball and socket. Sometimes, due to wear or other factors, these components might slightly shift or move within the joint, leading to clicking sounds.
Scar tissue or adhesions can form around the artificial hip joint and rub against the device, causing clicking sounds as you move. It is important to note that not all scar tissue is bad or harmful; scar tissue formation is a natural part of the body's healing process after surgery. Some individuals may experience minimal scar tissue-related issues, while others might face more challenges.
Defective hip device
While it is less common, grinding, popping, or clicking sensations in the hip can point to potential problems with the device itself, such as the loosening of the components or defective parts from faulty manufacturing. Other symptoms of a defective hip device include:
- Persistent pain or discomfort in the hip, groin, or thigh
- Instability or feelings of the hip "giving way"
- Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg
- Limited range of motion or stiffness
If the clicking is accompanied by pain, discomfort, or instability, it is important to consult your orthopedic surgeon to rule out any serious issues.
The Bottom Line: Popping Can Be Normal, But Pain Is Not
If the clicking is not causing you pain or discomfort and your hip is functioning well, it might not be a cause for concern. But if you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or instability, you may want to discuss your symptoms with your orthopedic surgeon. They can perform a thorough examination, potentially conduct imaging tests, and determine if any further action is necessary to address the issue.