Instability is a common cause of failure in primary and, especially, revision total hip arthroplasty. The reasons for instability include implant malpositioning, impingement, inadequate offset reconstruction, and gluteal insufficiency. Impingement following THA and revision THA is divided into prosthetic and bony impingement, and in addition to instability also causes pain in the area of the hip joint. Offset reconstruction during revision THA is of particular biomechanical importance, since insufficient reconstruction leads not only to instability and pain but also to dislocation. Abductor deficiency often occurs after revision THA and leads to a change in gait pattern, instability and pain.

Current diagnostic and treatment procedures for instability, impingement, insufficient offset reconstruction and abductor deficiency after THA and revision THA are summarized.

Diagnosis of an instable THA and painful THA includes patient history, physical examination and medical imaging. Thus, in almost all cases, the cause can be determined and treated. Dislocation after primary THA in the early postoperative period can often be treated conservatively if accurate component placement is observed, while a late-onset and recurrent dislocation after primary and revision THA usually needs surgical procedures. To avoid bony and prosthetic THA impingement intraoperative control is absolutely necessary. If possible, the offset reconstruction is based on the condition of the native hip joint and can be achieved by using modular prostheses, neck adapters and different head lengths. Abductor deficiency also occurs frequently after revision THA and can be treated surgically if severe clinical symptoms and fatty degeneration of the abductors have been diagnosed.