How do you prevent hip replacement? I wrote several articles on the process of getting a hip replacement. I had one reader / follower ask, what can you do to prevent a hip replacement? I thought it was a fair question and wanted to give some options in a post that would help people proactively prevent or delay a hip replacement.
As always I need to add this disclaimer. If you are suffering from pain and limitations with your hip, talk to a trained medical professional first before trying any of these techniques. He or she is will be able to help you and guide you to the right solutions best-suited for you.
Prevent Hip Replacement – Causes and Symptoms
It isn’t the end game for everyone to eventually need a hip replacement. Many people are limber, flexible and without pain in their hips even into their 80s and 90s. Osteoarthritis is the main cause of hip deterioration for people and not everyone gets it. Doctors aren’t exactly sure what causes osteoarthritis, although there are some common factors believed to be related to the disease.It isn’t the end game for everyone to eventually need a hip replacement Click To Tweet
Possible Causes of Hip Osteoarthritis
- Getting older
- Family history of the condition
- History of injury to the joint
- Birth defect known as developmental dysplasia of the hip
Symptoms of Hip Osteoarthritis
- Pain – during or after movement
- Tenderness – when light pressure is applied
- Stiffness – when waking in the morning or after exercise
- Flexibility loss – may be difficult or impossible to move the joint through its full range of motion
- Grating sensation – feeling or hearing a grating sensation (crepitus) when moving the joint
- Bone spurs – may feel like lumps around the joint when moving it
- Bad weather increases joint pain
- Groin pain that radiates to the thigh or rear
- Difficulty walking or bending due to ‘stiff’ hip joints
People often wait too long to do something about their hip osteoarthritis. Deterioration of the hip is noticeable, but people often ignore the warning signs or blame other things on the pain and stiffness the disease causes, such as blaming their pain on overactivity or a plaguing injury that won’t quite go away. The main reason for a hip replacement is elimination of pain and restoration of flexibility. I wrote a post a few months ago called 12 Signs You Need a Hip Replacement which discussed the loss of functionality and difficulty completing everyday activities as warning signs you may need a hip replacement. Most of these symptoms are signs which indicate your hip osteoarthritis has gone too far.
Prevent Hip Replacement – Exercise
A study written in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases in 2013 showed regular exercise may delay or prevent hip surgery in people with mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis. The study showed patients avoided hip surgery if they exercised daily for one hour at least twice a week for twelve weeks. It also showed these patients were 44 percent less likely to need hip replacement surgery six years later compared with a similar group of people who did not exercise. The exercise group also reported the following benefits compared with those who did not exercise.
- Improved flexibility
- Increase in the ability to perform physical activities
In my post ‘Non drug pain relief for arthritis’ I noted that high impact exercises and sports should be reduced or eliminated from your routine, as these have been found to further deteriorate the hip joint. You should consider only low impact sports and exercises if you are experiencing side effects.
High-Impact Exercises Which Cause Pain – Should be Avoided
- Squat Jumps
- Jumping Jacks
- Burpees with Jumps
- Squat Jumps
- Jumping Rope
Low-Impact Exercises Easing Overall Pain – Should be Considered
- Elliptical Trainer
- Water Running
- Step Aerobics
When you are trying to avoid further hip deterioration, exercise and stretching will become a permanent activity. You cannot go back to an inactive lifestyle.
Prevent Hip Replacement – Physical Therapy
In a previous post – Hip Replacement Physical Therapy Before Surgery – I discussed information, studies and programs that suggested physical therapy before hip replacement surgery can be beneficial and produce better outcomes for those having hip replacement surgery. A professional physical therapist can help you reduce pain from osteoarthritis and increase your flexibility, possibly preventing hip replacement surgery.
Maintaining and increasing muscle strength is important for hip strength and flexibility. The gluteal muscles in the buttocks and the flexors in the pelvis are the main muscles that support the hip joint. To strengthen these muscles, you could begin by performing various leg lifts, extensions and clamshells before moving on to exercises on weight machines.
After exercise, stretching is important to keep muscles flexible.
By performing exercise before stretching, blood flows to important muscle areas and makes the muscles amenable to stretching. After four to six weeks you will see a change in your muscles. You can then try more rigorous exercises.
When I had physical therapy, after my hip replacement surgery, my physical therapist told me a story. There was a woman who was told by her orthopedic doctor she needed bilateral hip replacement surgery. She researched and found physical therapy sometimes helps eliminate the need for hip replacement surgery. After several weeks of physical therapy, her pain increased and her flexibility do not improve. Soon, she made an appointment with her orthopedic doctor and scheduled her hip replacement surgery.Sometimes physical therapy works to prevent hip replacement. Other times, the hip is too far gone. Click To Tweet
Prevent Hip Replacement – Weight Loss
Studies show that obesity is a contributing factor to hip osteoarthritis. Over 50% of patients operated on are obese showing there is a strong correlation to obesity and hip osteoarthritis. Weight loss can can help prevent hip replacement. If you are overweight or obese and your hip is deteriorating from osteoarthritis, you need to lose weight to keep your hip joint from getting worse. It comes down to some simple physics. High impact activities can create a force up to six times your bodyweight on your joints.If you you are 50 lbs overweight, that is another 300 lbs on your joints. Reducing weight can greatly reduce pressure and impact on your hips and knee joints.
If you are overweight, doctors suggest slow and steady weight loss plans that a dietician can offer. Studies show weight loss can help prevent the need for hip replacement surgery and also shows weight loss before hip replacement surgery creates better outcomes after surgery and also long-term after surgery.
Bariatric surgery some months prior to hip replacement surgery can greatly aid in weight loss for those with hip osteoarthritis. The surgery is considered safe with outcomes slightly better than those for hip replacement surgery. In fact, if you are obese and can’t shed the weight, some hospitals and doctors will mandate that you have bariatric surgery before having a hip replacement.if you are obese some doctors will require bariatric surgery before hip replacement. Click To Tweet
Prevent Hip Replacement – Beware of Unproven Techniques
Some people think stem cell therapy is a solution for joint injuries and hip osteoarthritis. The types of stem cell procedures used to repair hip osteoarthritis are NOT approved by the FDA. They consider this treatment to be in the same class as pharmaceutical therapy. Like any drug, including aspirin, stem cell treatment has side effects. Sports stars like Peyton Manning have sought out stem cell surgeries only to have restorative operations in the end.
There are many other so-called cures to stop hip osteoarthritis. Be careful of cures which are ineffective and only cost you money, or even provide greater risk to your health.
Prevent Hip Replacement – Conclusion and Engagement
Thanks to a commenter for his suggestion on the topic of preventing hip replacement surgery.
I certainly would have done some things to prevent the hip replacement surgery which removed several productive weeks from my life. Although the surgery was beneficial for me, I would have invested in prevention if I knew what to do and what not to do. Additional information and knowledge might have helped me realize I was suffering from hip osteoarthritis instead of blaming the symptoms on something else.I certainly would have done some things to prevent the hip replacement surgery Click To Tweet
Today, since I had one hip replaced and the orthopedic surgeon said I needed both done, I am following some of my own information and advice in this article to avoid a second hip replacement.
Thanks so much for reading this post. I write this blog to help others in their hip replacement experiences.
Do you have any questions or feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!
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Prevent Hip Replacement – References Used in This Post
Avoiding knee or hip surgery – Harvard Health, http://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/avoiding-knee-or-hip-surgery
Exercise May Delay or Prevent Hip Surgery, http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/benefits/exercises-for-hip-pain.php
Study: Weight-Loss Surgery Prior to Joint Replacement is a Cost-Effective Option to Improve Outcomes in Obese Patients, https://www.hss.edu/newsroom_weight-loss-surgery-prior-to-joint-replacement-cost-effective-option-improve-obese-patient-outcomes.asp
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