Steps To Preserve Your Hip Joints Now, And Prevent Fractures Later
The risk of hip fracture increases as we age; here’s what you can do to stack the odds in your favor.
A hip fracture is a serious injury, particularly for the older patients who are most susceptible to them. These fractures occur in the femur, just below the hip joint. Most are caused by factors that weaken bone over time, combined with the impact from a fall.
Hip injuries occur most often in people aged 65 and older. Women are especially vulnerable; suffering approximately 70 percent of hip fractures. Treatment typically requires surgery, hospitalization, and extended rehabilitation. Even then, a hip fracture is often the end of independent living. Most patients go from rehabilitation to an assisted living arrangement.
There are short-term and long-term steps you can take to reduce the risk of a hip fracture as you age.
Commit to exercise.
Moderate exercise can slow bone loss and maintain muscle strength. It can also improve coordination. Good exercise options include climbing stairs, jogging, hiking, swimming, dancing, and weight training.
Embrace balance training.
Balance practices like tai chi have been shown to decrease falls and reduce the risk of hip fracture. When you add balance training to your routine, you can increase your self-confidence as well as your body balance.
Improve your bone strength.
Talk with your doctor about any fracture risk factors you may have. Together, you might want to consider a bone density test. Genetics also plays a role in bone health, and can mean a higher rate of bone turnover as you age. A bone metabolism test can help assess your risk. If bone loss is an issue, your doctor may prescribe medication to slow bone loss and increase bone strength.
Create a safe home environment.
Because most fractures are the result of a fall, you can safeguard yourself with simple home safety improvements. Remove clutter and unstable area rugs, use adequate lighting, and install stabilizing bars in bathrooms.
Monitor your medications.
Talk with your doctor about prescribed and over-the-counter medications that might cause drowsiness or dizziness. Keep an up-to-date list of all of your medications to provide to other healthcare providers you might consult.
These long-term health strategies and preventative measures could pay big dividends that extend your longevity with a vibrant active lifestyle, and healthy strong hip joints.
Dr. Mundrati’s advice to help patients manage back pain—and keep it from recurring.
Dr. Choi helps chronic pain sufferers understand the link between stress and back pain.
Dr. Clary explains how regenerative osteoarthritis treatments can manage pain and improve function.