Nobody wants to go through the pain and expense of joint replacement surgery. Sure, it’s nice to think that your tired old hip can be replaced with a brand-spanking new one – but not all surgeries are successful.
Then there’s the fact that they can cost thousands of dollars – AND be incredibly painful!
Want to keep your own joints? Of course you do! And here are the proven ways to do it!
It may sound counter-productive, but exercise is actually the best way to build strength in the muscles that support your joints. The muscles in your thighs are designed for this very purpose – but modern sedentary lifestyles mean they’re often neglected.
Physical activity is recommended as a first-line treatment for all patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip and knee. In fact, total joint replacement surgery is only considered when the disease has progressed to the point that exercise therapy and other treatment options have failed.
Studies have shown patients with osteoarthritis who undergo exercise therapy can reduce their need for a hip replacement by around 44%.
When you walk, run or just stand up, the muscles your legs absorb the shock of your foot hitting the ground. The stronger your muscles, the less shock is transferred to your joints.
The muscles that you need to target are your quads (in the front of your thigh), hamstrings (back of your thighs), glutes (in your buttocks) and flexors (in your pelvis). All of these contribute to your hip strength and stability.
Strengthening these muscles is best done with the help of a proper fitness instructor. They will assess your needs regarding mobility and muscle health, then design a program to suit you personally.
And don’t forget to stretch! Stretching the muscles that you’re trying to build up helps to maintain blood flow to area so that muscle fibers can repair easily. This improves the ability of the muscle to change.
It’s also important to note that you can’t quit your exercise routine: your muscles will simply lose condition and you’ll be back where you started.
This one is a no-brainer. Your weight plays a major part in the health of your joints. Excess weight places much more strain on both the hips and bones, increasing pain and the risk of a fracture. If you’ve already suffered a fracture or joint injury, being slightly heavier can significantly reduce your healing time – which in turn increases your risk of another break, and a greater need for hip replacement.
The force placed on your joints can be up to six times your overall body weight. Being just five pounds overweight can place an extra 15 to 30 pounds of pressure on your hips with every step.
It makes sense to keep your weight within a healthy range!
A study involving 24 obese adults who underwent weight-loss surgery showed dramatic improvements to their joint health. Within six months of losing weight (around 57 pounds each), they suffered less pain in their joints and could move around more easily.
The process of losing weight is different for everyone. Your individual metabolic function and dietary needs should be taken into account before you leap into any old diet, so it’s a good idea to seek the help of a dietician or nutritionist.
No pill can magically make your hips new again, but there are certain nutrients that can help support joint cartilage. Cartilage in the joints is made up of special cells called chondrocytes. These chondrocytes produce large amounts of “cushioning” material to prevent the ends of your bones from rubbing against one another when you move.
This material is made up of collagen, proteoglycan, and elastin fibers. But because cartilage is avascular – that is, it has no blood vessels – it’s very difficult to supply nutrients to the chondrocytes. This means that supplementation may take a long time to show results.
With that in mind, it’s been found that glucosamine sulfate can help to nourish the cells of the joints. Glucosamine is an amino sugar that the body produces in cartilage and other connective tissues. Several laboratory studies have shown that glucosamine helps to carry sulfate into the cells, which in turn supports the production of cartilage.
Laboratory studies have shown that it nourishes cells — the theory is this helps preserve cartilage in the body. Glucosamine is also thought to act as an anti-inflammatory. Dietary supplements
Studies have suggested that glucosamine can reduce the speed at which joint damage develops. It’s also able to reduce arthritic pain in joints better than a placebo or paracetamol.
These three simple methods could save you thousands of dollars in hip replacement surgery – not to mention the agony that goes along with it. What have you got to lose?