Symptoms of Hip Implant Failure and Metallosis

Thousands of people underwent hip replacement surgery between 2005 and 2010. Many of these individuals were implanted with poorly designed prosthetic hips and have warning signs that their artificial hip is defective. If you are one of the many recipients of a recalled hip replacement, know the following symptoms to help detect when your hip may be failing.

Muscle Fatigue, Inflammation, and Swelling

The initial symptoms of hip implant failure vary from case to case. However, there are some key points that signal the need for medical observation. Muscle fatigue, inflammation, and swelling in the area of the implanted hip are clear indicators of an increasing problem. Several former hip implant patients reported a sudden onset of pain or weakness surrounding the hip and joint area. As the symptoms intensify, the pain can spread throughout the body and may cause debilitating back soreness that could even prevent you from sleeping.

Impaired Movement

In addition to causing swelling, the metal socket within the implant may begin to move and cause a feeling of displacement. This can be in combination with shin splints and knee aches. As a result, you may experience difficulty walking, rising from a seated position, or bearing weight on the impaired hip.


One serious complication from metal-on-metal implants is metallosis. As the metal surfaces rub together, chromium and cobalt ions are released, infecting the blood stream, and eventually embedding themselves into the soft tissue surrounding the implant. These metallosis symptoms can increase the inflammation at the site of the implant. Over time, the surrounding tissue can become so infected that the patient experiences nerve palsy. Nerve palsy is the weakening of, and in some cases irreparable damage to, the nerves surrounding a defective hip.

Bone Loss (Resorption)

As inflammation continues to increase, it may also strip away the bone matter anchoring the implant. This symptom is referred to as bone resorption. Bone cells react negatively to destroy structural elements of the bone and release calcium. This weakens the bone and creates movement instability.


Inflammation from the metallic ions may also produce tumors around the infected hip. These tumors usually vary in shape and size. X-rays by an orthopedic specialist will reveal the depth of the tumor and if there are any others concealed in the soft tissue of the hip.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is important that you consult with your physician.