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How Can You Help Prevent Hip Arthritis

Dr. Burleson, an orthopaedic hip specialist, shares tips to preventing this common condition.

Unfortunately, there is no surefire remedy that will completely prevent hip arthritis, but there are steps you can take as you age that will support healthy joints.  You can stay active to ensure your body sends the right nutrients to keep your knees, hips, and ankles in good working order, thereby reducing your risk of hip arthritis.  A few simple lifestyle changes can result in the prevention or delay of many common types of arthritis.

Hip arthritis, simply put, is the degeneration of the hip joints, primarily the cartilage.   Although it is often the result of aging, it may also be caused by an injury or overuse.  According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are more than 100 types of arthritis and related joint conditions.  There are different risk factors associated arthritis, some of which you can’t control, like age and genetics.  You can however, modify your diet, exercise routine, and activities to help prevent progression and severity of arthritis!

Simple Dietary Changes

Certain foods help support healthy joints, while other foods contribute to inflammation.  Increasing the amount of fatty fish you eat helps ensure sufficient omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.  Fatty fish are also a great source of vitamin D, which has been shown to reduce joint inflammation.  Other foods, including garlic, tumeric, ginger, and berries, have also been shown to help prevent and reduce inflammation.  Drastic dietary changes may not be necessary to help your joints stay healthy.  Many studies found that eating fatty fish just two times per week can make a difference.

Similarly, there are many foods thought to contribute to inflammation.  Foods high in saturated fats trigger inflammation in our bodies, which can ultimately worsen hip arthritis.  The list of culprits is long, but includes cheese, red meats, and pastas.  Trans fats should also be avoided for the same reason.  High trans fat foods include doughnuts, cookies, crackers, margarines, and many fast food burger and sandwich options.  While these foods don’t necessarily have to be removed from your diet altogether, it is important limit them and to understand their effects on your joints.

Low Impact, Regular Exercise Routine

For healthy hip joints, low impact exercises can be very beneficial.  Repeated, jarring impacts will ultimately lead to joint damage, though.  Proper form in the spine and feet can help offload the force of certain activities, such as lifting heavy weights or running, from the hips to other joints better suited for absorbing shock.

Trading a high impact activity, such as running, for a low impact activity, like swimming, can preserve joint health and keep arthritis at bay.  Furthermore, limiting activity to no more than 1-2 hours per day can promote joint health by reducing fluid in the joint and damage to cartilage.  Simply put, instead of walking 7-10 miles per day, aim for 2-3 miles.  This allows your hip joint to stay active without overworking your cartilage.

If it Hurts, Stop

This sounds so simple, yet it may be the hardest lifestyle change to make.  Don’t let pride ruin your joint health.  If you need to take a break while walking or exercising due to joint pain, stop and rest.  Listen to your body and don’t push through pain.  As a rule of thumb, if your joints hurt you should stop to prevent injury or joint damage.

An easy way to help prevent arthritis is to simply pay attention to what your body is telling you.  If you experience pain, discomfort, swelling, or limited range of motion with an activity, stop the activity immediately and give your joints adequate time to rest and recover.  Taking an anti-inflammatory can also help after some minor joint pain or swelling.  If the pain continues or worsens, it is important to be seen by an orthopaedic hip specialist as soon as possible.  Many of the fellowship trained physicians at Beacon Orthopaedics have same day and next day appointment availability.

See a Hip Arthritis Specialist ASAP

All too often, easily addressed problems turn into chronic conditions because people delay seeing a doctor.  Don’t wait until a hip replacement is the best treatment option.  Most minor problems can be treated with physical therapy, injections, or an arthroscopic procedure, helping to preserve your joint before a replacement becomes necessary.

If you are suffering from hip pain or stiffness of any kind, it is important to schedule an appointment with a specialty trained orthopaedic hip surgeon.  Dr. Drew Burleson specializes in treating various hip conditions, including arthritis.

Dr. Burleson will provide a thorough physical exam and a comprehensive review of your medical history to ensure his recommendations will be effective in helping you overcome or prevent hip arthritis.  Don’t let hip arthritis keep you from an active, pain-free lifestyle!

Take the next step to address your hip arthritis with proven treatment options and schedule your appointment with Dr. Drew Burleson at Beacon Orthopaedics.  You may also schedule by phone 24/7 by calling 513-354-3700.