Osteoarthritis of the hip joint can be frustrating and it can be a tricky journey to pain relief. There are certain things you can do to avoid surgery as surgery is not your only option! It is common belief that if you have hip osteoarthritis, the only way to relieve pain is through getting a new joint! It has been found that there are conservative treatments to relieve arthritic hip pain, you just have to know the right things to do.
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One woman I have been working with had been dealing with hip pain for months. She had already gone through a hip replacement for her other hip and really did not want to go through that again. She wanted to try everything in her power to avoid that.
So we got to work and after doing these 7 things, she was able to finally feel stronger, reduce her daily pain to almost zero, and sleep better! She has seen improvements in her walking as she no longer walks with a limp around her house.
She continues to work on increasing her ability to tolerate longer distance walking but continues to stay the course to make her arthritis adventure possible.
The journey to relief from osteoarthritis of the hip joint is not an easy one. But it can be so rewarding if you know the exact steps you need to take. So many spend an incredible amount of time searching for answers while being passed from doctor to doctor only to find short term solutions.
It’s time you start making your hip feel better with tips that work! I want you to know that you can do this. Check out this comment I received on instagram for inspiration!
If you have hip osteoarthritis, you can download this free guide to give you the best resources to get started with after reading this blog post!
7 ways to avoid surgery with osteoarthritis of the hip joint
Not all of these tips may apply to you and that is totally fine! My goal is for you to take at least 3-4 of these tips and begin implementing them into your daily life.
Remember your hip osteoarthritis likely didn’t happen overnight so results may not either. As much as I wish I had a magic wand to be able to give you quick pain relief, the slower the journey, the more sustainable it is.
Patience with yourself is incredibly important. Your journey will not be perfect. You will have ups and downs but I want you to remember that you can do this. Remember what pain relief can unlock for you.
1. The power of food
Food can be incredibly powerful both at increasing and reducing osteoarthritis of the hip joint symptoms. In order to use food to your benefit you have to make sure you are including two things:
- Anti inflammatory foods
- Enough protein
These are the two things I always start with clients as far as food is concerned. Too often, we tend to overlook the basics. So let’s take a little deeper dive.
Anti inflammatory foods are vital to keep inflammation levels lower in your body. When inflammation levels rise, pain and stiffness may also rise. You can see this instagram post here talking about inflammatory foods.
Most of the time, avoiding a majority of processed foods and sugars can bring great benefit to both pain and stiffness. This is not saying you can never eat these foods, but moderation is key. Here is a list of anti-inflammatory foods you can download.
As far as protein is concerned, as a culture, especially as we get older, we tend to decrease protein intake. Protein is incredibly important for muscle building, helping to prevent insulin resistance (contributing to weight gain), and other vital body functions.
You can read more detail about protein here. Research has shown that protein can actually be almost as effective as ibuprofen for some joints pains, say what!
The baseline for protein consumption is usually around 100 grams but will depend on your weight too. Getting enough protein should be one of the first modifications you make once cleared from your physician (increased protein can impact some medical conditions including kidney diseases).
2. Movement variety
This one is absolutely critical.
Think about your exercise, whether you typically do one or two activities like walking, if it’s non-existent, or if consistency tends to waiver.
As humans, we typically move in a forward direction. As we get older, we tend to lack variety in movement, i.e moving sideways and backwards.
As we complete repetitive forward motions during the day then walk for exercise, again in a forward direction, you can put a lot of stress on one area of the hip joint. This can lead to pain and irritation.
Adding in movements such as simple backwards and sideways movements can help to take pressure off one area of the joint and start recruiting help from other parts of the joint. Walking backwards can actually be really good for your hips! Learn more about it in the video below:
Think about it, how often are you moving sideways and backwards? Let’s change that!
3. Supplements are just supplements
If you are currently taking supplements, do you also have another plan on managing pain. With supplements it can be easy to put all of your eggs in one basket and rely on them to bring you pain relief.
There are absolutely some supplements that can help to reduce inflammation and stiffness in your hip joint. But you have to pair them with other strategies such as food and exercise above.
Oftentimes I hear people starting supplements and being disappointed when they aren’t working. But they also might not be employing other pain relieving strategies.
So if you are taking supplements, the question remains, how are you supplementing the supplements?
To be fair, certain supplements like turmeric (my favorite brand here), fish oil, and vitamin D can be beneficial for osteoarthritis pain. They can provide a degree of relief that can make exercising easier and help you feel more motivated.
You can watch a video here with more information on supplements.
4. Stretching is not the answer for stiff hips
Hip stiffness typically happens for a couple of reasons:
- Muscle tightness secondary to weakness. Muscles tighten up for stability as they are not getting it from strength.
- Irritation due to increased pain. Tightening muscles can be an action to protect the joint.
- The less you use the joint, the tighter the muscles can become.
One of the common misconceptions for tight muscles is to stretch them. Think about it though, if the muscle is tight for a reason, the muscle will likely revert back to the same tightness once stretching is stopped or shortly after.
When looking at osteoarthritis of the hip joint, it is so important to find ways to improve mobility-but stretching likely isn’t the best way.
When improving mobility, I encourage dynamic movement. Getting your hip joint to move through different ranges of motion while building strength and confidence will help to produce long term results.
The idea is to contract the muscles then allow them to relax.
Here is a full, follow along workout to improve hip flexibility with almost NO stretching! Give it a try and see how you feel!
5. Take care of your feet
Your feet are the first connection to the ground that you have with each step. It is incredibly important to keep happy and supported.
If your feet and ankles become unhappy, then it alters the way you move. It can cause your calf muscles to become tight, your steps to become shorter, and your walking pattern to change that all can actually contribute to more hip pain.
So how do you take care of your feet? It all starts with good shoes. One of my favorite brands is KURU, based in here in Salt Lake City. I have many clients with osteoarthritis of the hip joint that have loved these shoes. They have a special KURUSole that is made primarily for those with arthritis and other medical conditions.
I have three pairs of their shoes and love them. You can learn more about the shoes here.
If your feet are supported, they will help to absorb some of the shock so your hips aren’t taking more than they are prepared for.
6. find support
For many of these changes, it requires a degree of dedication and commitment to avoid hip replacement surgery, i.e committing to changes to your eating habits and increasing exercise.
It can be hard to do this alone. It can be hard to keep going when you feel like no one understands you pain.
It can be helpful to find support from family, friends, or even strangers going through the same thing you are!
I recently hosted a group of people with diagnosed bone on bone knee osteoarthritis in a weekly support group. It was amazing the raw emotion we saw together, along with the amazing success stories, and hardships we helped each other through.
The support group is still available to members of my signature online course the Arthritis Adventure Blueprint.
Together, we can accomplish so much. You truly don’t have to be alone on this journey. It’s not a perfect journey and having a group or a person you can rely on during the bad days can truly help to bring long term pain relief.
7. Consistency is key
The only way you will be able. to find long term success and osteoarthritis pain relief is to be consistent. Without consistency, pain from osteoarthritis of the hip joint will continue.
If you want to adventure and stay active, staying true to yourself and your goals is incredibly important.
I often find that without accountability, many tend to give up right as they are on the cusp of amazing success. There are times when it is not easy to continue but you have to keep reminding yourself why you are doing this.
What is one reason you want to avoid surgery and find pain relief. Does that mean you’ll be present for your grandkids? Be able to travel with your family? Actually enjoy your life the way you want to?
This reason can keep you going.
It is so critical to get movement at least 3-5 days per week. To eat an anti-inflammatory diet and get adequate amounts of protein as often as possible.
It can be difficult to figure out where to get started though. Learn the “3 Secrets to Adventuring with Osteoarthritis” so you can get started on your own pain relief journey in this free webinar!
You’ll learn what is actually possible with arthritis, the steps you need to unlock adventure, and more about the Arthritis Adventure Blueprint.
Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.
The Arthritis Adventure Blueprint
Dr. Alyssa Kuhn’s signature program to help you go from hopeless to hopeful with osteoarthritis. You will learn the secrets to arthritis pain relief that actually work- including exercise, diet, and other ways to control inflammation! Say goodbye to short term pain relief, it’s time to make it last.