The hip is the largest ball and socket joint in the human body. It includes the head of the thigh (femur) bone, which is ball-shaped. This sits in the socket of the pelvis (the acetabulum). It is one of your body's key weight bearing joints.

Hip pain has a variety of causes, many of which can be successfully managed with physiotherapy and don't need surgery. In cases where physiotherapy is not successful, keyhole surgery can be helpful. If the hip becomes osteoarthritic and non-surgical treatments are no longer working, hip replacement might be offered.

The Exeter Hip Team is world renowned, specialising in disorders of the hip joint. We provide a comprehensive hip surgery service for adults of all ages. The Exeter Hip Unit developed the innovative Exeter Total Hip Replacement, which is used worldwide and is due to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020.

More on what we do

Hip pain or problems can affect people of any age. Hip problems can cause pain in a variety of locations in your body - not just the hip. Such areas could include the groin or buttock. Hip problems can even be associated with knee pain because of the way the nerves pick up pain sensations from different sites. However, pain around the hip can also be due to problems with the spine and abdomen. Expert assessment or medical imaging is often needed.

The majority of hip cases are related to osteoarthritis. This usually affects patients over the age of 50 but can also present in patients younger than this because of conditions such as post-traumatic osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Surgery for osteoarthritis involves a damaged hip joint being replaced with an artificial one (known as a prosthesis) and this surgery is called a Total Hip Replacement (THR).

Hip problems can also affect younger patients without arthritis because of soft tissue or bone development problems. These are collectively known as “femoroacetabular impingement” (FAI).

The Exeter Hip Unit treats the full range of hip replacement treatments, as well as conditions that don't need hip replacement. This includes arthritis of the hip joint, revision/re-do of failed hip replacement, congenital hip disorders, secondary effects of paediatric hip disorders and complications arising from infected hip replacements. We also work closely with paediatric surgical colleagues to treat paediatric hip disorders and to coordinate their care into adulthood.


The treatment you need will depend on the specific symptoms and difficulties you have.

You'll be supported by a team of doctors, physiotherapists, nursing staff and other therapists who will work together to manage your care.

Not everyone with hip osteoarthritis needs surgery. You can often be treated by specialist physiotherapy, painkillers and, occasionally, steroid injections. Patients whose pain is not relieved by these interventions will be assessed by our team to decide whether hip replacement would be suitable.

Hip replacement is an extremely good treatment for arthritis-related hip pain and modern techniques make the operation very safe with good outcomes. It involves replacing both parts of the ball and socket joint. The Exeter Hip replacement was first developed and used 50 years ago, having been developed in the Exeter Hip Unit, and continues to be used worldwide.

Almost two million Exeter hip replacements have been used worldwide. The Exeter Hip Unit exclusively uses this hip system for treatment of patients with osteoarthritis and has been shown to have some of the best results in the UK, with the some of the highest rates of patient satisfaction and the lowest rates of revision (re-do) surgery.

For younger patients with certain hip problems, keyhole surgery of the hip (hip arthroscopy) is also performed.

Our team

The Exeter Hip Unit consists of:

Mr Matthew JW Hubble – Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Jonathan R Howell – Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Matthew J Wilson – Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon

Mr Al-Amin M Kassam – Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon

Professor Andrew John Timperley – Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and Honorary Professor at University of Exeter

Mr John Charity – Associate Specialist in Hip Surgery

Ms Alison Smeatham – Specialist Hip Physiotherapist

Where to find us

RD&E Wonford, Barrack Rd, Exeter EX2 5DW

Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre, Level 0

The wards where the team work are: Capener, Dyball and Durbin, plus the Orthopaedics Admissions Unit.

Contact us

Ann Perry (Secretary to Mr Matthew Hubble) - 01392 408401

Jade Auger (Secretary to Mr Jonathan Howell) – 01392 406132

Rebecca Barnard (Secretary to Mr Matthew Wilson & Mr John Charity) – 01392 403588

Jade Auger (Secretary to Mr Al-Amin Kassam) – 01392 408400


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