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‘Hip hacking’: four ways to keep your hips in optimum health

four ways to keep your hips in optimum health - Latham Hip Surgery

‘Life hacking’ – the art of creating ingenious tricks and shortcuts to increase efficiency in daily life – has become something of a trend in recent years. Perhaps you’ve noticed it yourself. The internet is awash with novelty ways to pack luggage, untangle computer cords and turn everyday apparel into impromptu smartphone stands (a pair of sunglasses, in case you were wondering).

Can the same be said of hips? That is: is there a way to ‘hip hack’ our way to healthier, more resilient limbs?

Well, I’m not sure I would go that far. The human body is a finely balanced system that rarely responds to simple solve-alls – much as we might like it to. Preventing the onset of arthritis, for example, isn’t always possible – particularly if we happen to have a history of high-impact injuries, or if our bodies are genetically predisposed to developing the condition.

But that’s not to say that what we do with our bodies now has no impact on how they will develop tomorrow. Far from it. There are some very simple ways that we can all maximise our hip health – and lower our risks of future complications.

Here are four key ways you can do just that.

Lighten the load

Every joint is a delicate interaction of bones, cartilage and soft tissues. They’re made to move, carry loads and absorb and deflect impact – but over time that takes its toll. Carrying excessive body weight transfers extra loads to the joints and puts them under even more strain. That in turn increases the risk of injuries and wear – not to mention other complications: obesity is linked to a host of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. If you are carrying a few too many pounds (and you can calculate your ideal body mass here), getting your weight down is one of the best things you can do for your hips.

Get outside

One of the simplest resolutions we can make for better hip health is also one of the least expensive. Getting outside into the sunlight enables your body to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the so-called ‘sunshine vitamin’, which is crucial for maintaining strong bones and muscles and for helping to prevent osteoporosis. If your health or work keeps you indoors for prolonged periods of time, consider how you could build deliberate outdoors time into your day.

Eat for ‘hip health’

No complicated pseudo-science here. Eating for hip health simply means supplying them with a well-balanced diet. What does that mean in practice? Plenty of protein (particularly fish). Plenty of leafy greens, beans and pulses. And lots of fluids – although you won’t be surprised to learn that excessive alcohol isn’t one of them: amongst other things, it can interact with the anti-inflammatory drugs  and other drugs we use to treat arthritis. Nutritional advice can be a quagmire of unsubstantiated claims – there’s no evidence that many supplements actually have any effect, for instance. But there are some simple, sensible things we can do for our diet that will have an impact. Take a look at the NHS’s Eatwell Guide for some good pointers.

Build your muscles

Exercise is crucial for preventing joints and muscles from becoming stiff and injury-prone. And regular exercise is preferable to one-off lung-busters followed by long slumps of inactivity. Low-impact pursuits like swimming, cycling and Pilates help to keep the muscles around your hips strong and supple without overloading the joints. They will also keep your heart and lungs fit and healthy. If your body is showing the first signs of arthritis, be careful about throwing yourself into high-impact sports like road-running. Some people are willing to take the risk, but the fact is that prolonged high-impact activity is likely to accelerate early arthritis. If you’re really keen to hit the track but are concerned about the consequences, I’d urge you to sit down with a consultant and talk through the options.

And that’s really the bottom line when it comes to hips. Everyone is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all shortcut to long-term joint health (sorry life-hackers). Whatever your future plans and health concerns, make sure you have a good understanding of what’s contextually right and wrong for your own body. If you’d be interested in exploring that further, we would be more than happy to help. Click here to get in touch and fix a meeting with us.

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Types of treatments available at Latham Hip Surgery
  • Treatments
  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Tens of thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s now an established technique, and the results are usually excellent in carefully selected patients…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s a relatively new technique, but the results are usually excellent…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more