Monday, November 5, 2012

Keeping Joints Healthy and Avoiding Injury

Keeping Joints Healthy and Avoiding Injury

Avoiding joint injuries is key to long-term joint and hip health, since each injury to your hips, large or small, can contribute to chronic joint problems later in life. Hip problems are among the most common causes of disability in adults, so keeping those hard-working joints in good shape is essential to maintaining an active and enjoyable lifestyle throughout your retirement. Whether you are in your 20s or approaching the senior years, there are very simple steps you can take to keep your hips strong and healthy.

Regular exercise is extremely important to keep joints strong and healthy. The hip joints need the support of strong bones, muscles and connective tissues to function at their best. Strong and flexible muscles keep the joint well-aligned and stable for smooth, efficient function, reducing wear-and-tear damage that can lead to injuries and arthritis. Strong bones reduce the risk of hip fractures and joint deterioration, and daily exercise is essential to maintaining bone strength, stimulating the production of new bone cells.
Maintaining hip health requires just half-an-hour of moderate weight-bearing exercise, five days a week. A walk or bike ride after dinner would do, or taking the stairs regularly at work rather than the elevator. Aerobics and swimming are great for hip health, as are low-intensity weight-lifting or resistance training. Limiting high-impact exercise that involves a lot of running or jumping is wise, since these activities pound at the joints, increasing the risk of joint injury.

Weight Control and Nutrition
Eating well helps maintain hip health in a number of ways. Maintaining a healthy body weight is very important to the health of weight-bearing joints, since being too heavy causes unnecessary stress and wear. Eating a wholesome, well-balanced diet provides your body with the vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients that it needs to build and maintain strong muscles and bones. Nutrients especially important to bone, joint and muscle health are vitamin C, which helps in collagen production, calcium and vitamin D for bone density, and omega-3 essential fatty acids to aid in maintenance of cartilage and other connective tissues.

Why Hip Health Matters
Hip fractures, arthritis and other chronic degenerative conditions disable a huge number of people every year. At especially high risk are adults over the age of 55. A quarter of all Americans are affected by hip arthritis in their lifetimes, 352,000 hip fractures happen every year, and in 2010, 458,000 hip replacements were performed.

Hip replacement has restored many people disabled by hip problems to active lifestyles, but they are by no means a quick and easy fix. Recovery takes months of hard work, and like any surgery, there are risks. Additionally, hip replacement has been problematic for quite a few patients lately, due to issues with faulty hip implant devices. Several metal-on-metal devices have been recalled recently due to high rates of failures and complications. Many with these implants suffered metallosis, which is a serious and very painful inflammatory condition caused by metallic implant debris. Metallosis can lead to tissue death and bone loss around the implant and has led to many painful and costly revision surgeries.

Elizabeth Carrollton uses her background in journalism to write for She is dedicated to educating the public about medical safety and important decisions that can impact a person’s health and life. Much of her work at Drugwatch includes editorials pertaining to hip replacements and alternatives to relieve pain, as well as complications and hip replacement lawsuit information.