What Causes Ankle Pain After Hip Replacement?

Reviewed on 9/17/2022
A senior man's ankle reddened for emphasis is checked by a doctor
After a hip replacement, you may experience ankle, which may be due to nerve damage, swelling, and bruising.

Hip replacement (also called hip arthroplasty) is a surgery in which damaged bone and cartilage in the hip is removed and replaced with prosthetic parts.

Hip replacement surgery may be recommended for people who have: 

  • Hip pain that limits everyday activities, such as walking or bending
  • Hip pain that persists even at rest
  • Stiffness in a hip that limits leg movement
  • Insufficient pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, or walking supports

Following a hip replacement, pain in the hip area, groin, and thigh is normal. Some people may also experience ankle pain after hip replacement, which may be due to:

  • Nerve damage that occurs during the procedure
  • Swelling
  • Bruising 

See your doctor right away if you have pain in the ankle following hip replacement and symptoms such as: 

  • Pain unrelated to the incision
  • Tenderness or redness above or below your knee
  • Severe swelling of the thigh, calf, ankle, or foot that does not go away when the leg is elevated

These may be signs of a blood clot, which should be treated right away.

How Long Does Pain from a Hip Replacement Last?

Recovery time following hip replacement surgery can vary from person to person depending on the patient’s: 

Surgical pain from a hip replacement lasts about two to four weeks following surgery for most people. 

What Causes Pain to Persist After Hip Replacement Surgery?

Risk factors for pain that continues for longer than normal after hip replacement surgery include: 

  • Infection
    • Usually at the incision site
    • Treated with antibiotics 
    • If pain is internal, it may require additional surgery 
  • Fracture
    • Parts of the hip joint can break during surgery
    • They usually heal on their own but in some cases, corrective surgery to insert pins or metal plates may be needed
  • Dislocation
    • The ball of the new joint can become dislodged in certain positions
    • A brace can help keep the hip in place
    • Sometimes surgery will be needed to stabilize the hip
  • Change in leg length
    • In some cases, a new hip can cause one leg to be longer or shorter than the other
    • It is often caused by muscles surrounding the hip, and strengthening and stretching exercises may help
  • Loosening
    • Occurs rarely, but the new hip joint may have issues becoming fixed to the bone
    • Sometimes the new hip joint will loosen over time
    • Surgery is needed to fix this issue
  • Aging prosthetic hip joints
    • Parts can wear out over time, especially in patients who had surgery at a young age and remained active
    • In some cases, a second hip replacement may be needed
Reviewed on 9/17/2022

Image source: iStock Images