Keep Your Hips Healthier in 3 Steps
You’re leaving a friend’s house. You step out of the doorway as you say goodbye. In the darkness, you don’t notice that first step is a doozy, and you miss it. You start to fall, but you catch yourself. At first you feel relief. You didn’t fall — it’s all good. But in the coming days, you realize it isn’t all good. Something isn’t right, and you ultimately find yourself in our office with severe hip pain.
This true story is something we see all of the time at Beacon. Some hip injuries are more severe than others but all of them are painful — and more than a few of them are potentially preventable.
As we age, preserving and strengthening our hips becomes drastically more important. And while our focus tends to be on the shape of those hips on the outside, our physicians are concerned about the mechanics of them on the inside. The ball and socket joint that keeps your hips humming endures a lot of strain over the years, and without giving them the attention they need, they’ll eventually let you know they’ve been neglected.
Common Hip Injuries
Women most commonly experience arthritis, hip fractures, tendonitis, bursitis, hernias and gynecological issues. Men similarly encounter arthritis, bursitis and fractures, but they also need to be aware of muscle strain, tendinopathy and torn labrums.
(Know the difference: tendinopathy is a degeneration of the collagen protein that forms the tendon while tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon.)
1. Stretch It Out and Work it Out
It might seem too easy. It might seem like healthy hips should require some complex training regimen or magical elixir to keep them in peak performance. You’ll be relieved to learn that it doesn’t have to be too hard. The hard part is actually carving out the time in your busy life to show them TLC. Try out the following, and if you feel pain at any point, stop and consult your physician.
Kneeling stretch: Kneel and place one foot in front of you — knee over ankle. Then, tuck your hips to place a stretch on the kneeling leg. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. Do three reps on each side.
Figure-four glute stretch: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place one ankle across the other knee to stretch your glute. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on your other side. Repeat three times.
Butterfly stretch: In a seated position, place the soles of your feet together and grab your toes. Bring your feet toward your groin. Hold for 20 seconds and release. Repeat three times.
Hip raises: Lay in a starting sit-up position with your knees and feet together. Press through your feet and raise your hips as high as you can. Hold for five seconds and return to the floor. Do three sets of five repetitions.
Leg lift: Lay flat on the floor while keeping your knees and feet together. Slowly lift your legs off of the floor to a 45-degree angle. Return them to the floor. Do three reps of five.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Not to sound like a broken record, but weight is truly important to your overall health — and that includes your hips. The amount of weight you put on your hips directly affects the amount of pain you experience, especially if you have arthritis.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet: Closely tied to maintaining a healthy weight is eating a balanced diet. Giving your body vital nutrients helps keep you well, but let’s get specific about it. Vitamin C supports collagen formation, which is important to cushioning and lubricating hip bones and sockets. It also improves bone health to help prevent fractures. Beyond that, include a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich foods as part of your daily intake.
Need More Hip Help?
Are you concerned about your hip health or experiencing a pain that just won’t go away? Chronic pain can be indicative of arthritis, osteoporosis or even a stress fracture. If you’re experiencing pain, you don’t have to live with it. Get expert care by making an appointment with the joint specialists at Beacon.