• Bernard P. Kemker, MD

How to Take Care of Your Hip as You Age

Having hip pain as you age is more common than you think. About 50% of elderly report that they have hip or knee pain. Hip is one of the most important joints in our body and as we age, our joints age too and may start to become painful and stiff, because it is often afflicted with arthritis and/or other complications. Luckily, there are things you can do to feel better.

Hip Care in Elderly | Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Common Hip Problems

Our joints start to wear down as time goes by, which can lead to arthritis.


Bone tissues are broken down and rebuilt all the time. As we get older, we begin to lose more bone than we build. This leads to osteoporosis, which makes the bone brittle and more prone to fracture.


Because of wear and tear and decreasing bone density, you might experience joint pain, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fracture or dislocation from a simple fall.


Inflammation of hip bursa such as trochanteric bursitis occurs more often in middle-aged or elderly women than in men or younger people.


Hip pain can be caused by injuries, pinched nerves, or other causes too.


How to Keep Your Hip Joints Healthy?

Here are some practices that can help:


Exercises

We all know exercising is good for health, but they can also help to reduce joint stiffness and strengthen your muscles, which stabilizes your joint.


If you’re unsure what sort of exercises will work best for you, talk to your primary care or orthopedic physician.


Hydration

It is estimated that 70 – 80% of your joint cartilage consists of water. If you stay hydrated, you can maintain the gel-like liquid in your hip joint to provide nutrition, absorb shocks, lubricate, and provide cushioning to the joint. When the fluid is not sufficient, then there is less lubrication in the joints, which leads to the development of joint pain. So, being hydrated is very important.


Good Posture

Sitting for prolonged time in same posture can lead to joint stiffness and pain. Sitting with your feet properly aligned, pelvis aligned, and spine straight may often make a difference. Avoid crossing your legs or sitting "crooked" or leaning to one side. It is ideal to get up, move your hips and spine from side to side every 30 to 60 minutes.


If your seat cushion, car seat, or sofa is too soft, it might make you sit unevenly which can put more weight and pressure on one of your hips, leading to pain. This commonly happens when you sit in bed to work or watch TV on a couch for a long time.


Proper Footwear

Make sure that your shoes are in good shape as they contribute to your walking pattern, which can have direct impact on your hips. Consider new insoles if your shoes are older. Oftentimes, hip pain can be magnified from older, worn shoes with little cushion."


Shoes with good grip is important so that you do not slip and fall, which can lead to hip fracture or dislocation.


Assistive Devices

If you have gait issues, then check with your physician and see if you will require an assistive device. Use of a cane or crutch is much safer and can significantly help reduce the stress on the joint and decrease the risk of falling.


Pelvic brace wraps around the waist and down the affected hip to offer stability and help with rotational issues that may be causing hip pain.


An elevated toilet seat may be helpful, especially for a painful hip or knee.


Takeaway

The sooner you begin thinking about protecting your joints, the better. Particularly, if you are involved in regular sport or recreation activities. Your hips are needed for many motions like sitting, standing, running, bending, etc. If your hips hurt, then it is recommended to seek medical attention as it could seriously interfere with your activities of daily living.


Keep your hip or any other joints in good health to prevent having problems in the future, because aging is inevitable, but preventing from having pain is not.


Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.

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