Arthritis in the Hip
As with our other joints, we take our hip joints for granted until they hurt. Once they do, you start to realize how many activities are affected by pain in one joint. Whether you have been diagnosed with arthritis in the hip or have a family history that might make you more susceptible to developing hip arthritis, there are some activities you should adapt or avoid to minimize pain and future problems. Here is a short list of 4 things to avoid with arthritis in the hip.
4 Things to Avoid
1. Activities that cause “high impact”
Sports played on a hard surface that require jumping or rapid turns and stops contribute a high degree of stress on the hip joints. Examples of activities that cause impact on your hips and other weight bearing joints include the obvious such as running and jumping, Zumba and high impact aerobics. Less obvious high impact activities include cross country biking (on a bicycle or motorbike), waterskiing, tennis, hockey and baseball. Racquetball, volleyball and basketball are some other examples. Even less common sports such as handball, karate and other martial arts can take their toll, too
When possible, try switching to “low impact” or “no impact” sports in order to minimize the wear and tear on the hip joint. Low impact activities include walking, bowling, bicycling and golfing. Water sports such as swimming, water aerobics, kayaking, scuba diving, sailing and even water polo, are considered “no impact” or very “low impact” sports and yet can provide a very good workout or even a competitive experience.
At the very least, make certain to do a good warm up prior to participating in any activity or sport. Gauge the stress on your hips and other joints by how much pain you experience when playing and your pain level after the “game”. If pain persists for more than a few hours after the activity, consider reducing the frequency or intensity with which you play or look for other lower impact activities.
Any stretching is best performed after you have warmed up your muscles with 5-10 minutes of low intensity physical activity such as walking. The activity will help increase blood flow to the muscles and warms them to prepare the muscles and tendons for stretching.
Specific hip stretches such as butterflies – sitting upright with knees and hips bent and feet together – and cross over leg stretches should be done only to the point where you feel the stretch but not much beyond that. Think more Tai Chi and Yoga than the splits or a spread eagle stretch with your head touching the floor. It’s great if you have that kind of flexibility but don’t aim for it as a warm up stretch.
If you have been diagnosed with hip arthritis or lower back problems, always check with your health care provider or an athletic trainer to see what is safe for you.
3. Bending too much at the hip
If you have to bend to pick something up off the ground, bend using your knees to distribute the stress or sit down on a chair and then reach for the item. Grab a long handled reacher to accomplish the same thing. Many different types of reachers are available and they help not only with picking things up from the floor but also with grasping those overhead items you can’t quite reach.
Other activities that require bending at the hip include putting on your clothes (pants, socks, etc.) and tying your shoes (wear slip-ons or use elastic shoelaces that you don’t have to untie). There are sock aids to help you with putting on socks or hose and shoe horns with extended handles to put on shoes.
4. Remaining in one position for too long
Regardless of whether you sit, stand or bike for extended periods of time, it may be that the amount of time in one position is the issue, more so than the activity itself. Do you experience stiffness when getting up from a chair? Try getting up more frequently. You could set a timer for every 30-45 minutes and just get up to walk a few steps. The overall amount of discomfort may be reduced over time.Like what you’ve read? Click here to subscribe to the blog!
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Our blogs are educational in nature and are not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Because your condition is unique to you, it is recommended that you consult with your health care provider before attempting any medical or therapeutic treatments. We are always happy to answer questions about products mentioned in our blogs, however, we cannot provide a diagnosis or medical advice.