Natural Remedies To Keep Hips Healthy And Avoid Hip Replacements
“Grandma fell and broke her hip!” is an all-too-common phrase in our society. People fear this because it often indicates the beginning of the end. Hip fractures lead to immobility and loss of function, which cause blood clots and other health problems.
Now, it isn’t always a broken hip that puts someone in the hospital for replacement surgery. Painful arthritis of the hip can make a person immobile and produce all the same hip problems necessary for surgery.
As the world’s population ages, one of the chief concerns of the aging is the health of their hips.
There are two main hip issues I want to address in this article:
- Hip Arthritis
- Hip Fractures
The hip is the joint between the femur (thighbone) and the pelvis. You can see that it is a ball-and-socket joint that gives stability with lots of motion. It’s a brilliant design!
Most arthritis of the hip is simply a wearing-down of the cartilage that covers the bone and keeps the joint moving freely.
One of the most debilitating forms of arthritis is that of the hip. This joint supports all your weight with every step, and when the bone is directly rubbing on bone it is extremely painful.
The pain of hip arthritis is not on the side of the hip, but rather in the groin, especially with walking, standing, or bearing weight.
Pain on the side of the hip is most often a different problem, such as bursitis, muscle strain, or tendonitis.
As the pain gets worse, the person becomes more inactive, leading to osteoporosis, and decreased repair of the hip joint. Inactivity also leads to blood clots in the legs. The combination of inflammation and inactivity can cause clots to form in the large veins of the legs, called deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). These clots can break off and travel through the veins to the heart and lungs, clogging the circulation. If the clots are large, they can cause death.
Another reason to keep your hips healthy is to prevent death. Arthritis of the hips is associated with a 43% increased chance of dying. This is probably due to inactivity – if your hips hurt, it’s much harder to exercise and stay functional. Hip fractures also increase the chance of death. The number of hip fractures is growing exponentially. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 12 men will get a hip fracture in their lifetime. Surgical repair of a fracture gives the patient a 6% chance of dying from the surgery. Within a year the mortality rate after a hip fracture increases by up to 58%! Even if there is a fracture, being steady on your feet is essential to recovery and being able to walk again, so preventing hip arthritis is essential.
“Hip fractures” are rarely in the actual joint because they are fractures of the femur. Depending on how the bone is stressed, it will fracture in different locations, creating different hip problems.
Signs and symptoms of a hip fracture include:
- Inability to move immediately after a fall
- Severe pain in your hip or groin
- Inability to put weight on your leg on the side of your injured hip
- Stiffness, bruising and swelling in and around your hip area
- Shorter leg on the side of your injured hip
- Turning outward of your leg on the side of your injured hip
Causes of fractures are many. Stronger bones tend to have fewer fractures, but even young people with strong bones can get them.
Stress Hip Fractures
Stress fractures are caused by repetitive injury. When we walk, run, or stress bones with activity we are always causing micro-fractures inside the bone. The cells in the bone then rebuild the area to make it stronger. If we don’t give the bones a rest, and time for the cells to do their work, then we can keep causing more damage, until the bone breaks!
The same thing can happen with those who have osteoporosis, or thinning of the bone. Older people often have fewer cells to repair bone damage, so it takes longer, and stress fractures develop more easily. Nobody knows exactly how common it is, but often “Grandma fell and broke her hip” could really mean, “Grandma’s hip broke, causing her to fall.” Stepping, or twisting can cause a stress fracture to displace, bringing hip pain and instability – and falls.
For this reason, it’s important to take good care of your bones, allowing them to heal well.