Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to Keep Joints Strong Naturally to Avoid Hip Surgery

December 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Natural Pain Relief, Recent Posts

avoid hip surgery

As people age, the risk for degenerative hip diseases like arthritis and weakened joints increases. The number of Americans receiving hip replacement surgery continues to grow each year, and in 2010 nearly half a million hip replacements were performed. The majority of these procedures are effective and safe, but the risk of complications after hip replacement surgery still exists. In addition to surgical complications such as joint infection, blood clots and pain, people who receive a faulty implant such as the DePuy ASR may suffer from prosthetic fracture, dislocation or metal poisoning.

Because of these concerns, there is renewed interest in natural ways to maintain bone and joint health to avoid hip surgery. Strong joints, bones and muscles can delay or even eliminate the need for hip replacement surgery. Two natural ways to keep your bones, hip joints and muscles strong are watching your diet and maintaining a regular exercise program.

Eating to Maintain Bone and Joint Health

Vitamins and minerals in the food we eat help our bodies stay healthy and function at optimum levels. Two important vitamins for bone and joint health are calcium and vitamin D. As we age, the mineral content of our bones decreases. When the amount of calcium in the bones becomes too low, the risk of developing osteoporosis – a disease that weakens bones – increases. This can lead to increased risk of hip fracture which often necessitates surgery or an implant to repair. This problem doesn’t just affect older adults, as studies have shown that bones begin to lose calcium after age 35. Calcium alone isn’t enough because vitamin D helps the body process calcium.

The nutrition therapy team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School recommends five calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods:

• Calcium-fortified cereal, high in fiber and low in sugar
• Dark, leafy greens
• Yogurt
• Edamame (soy beans)
• Milk alternatives (enriched soy, almond)

Along with maintaining good bone health, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also maintain joint health by reducing tissue inflammation in the joint that may lead to arthritis.

The Benefits of Exercise for Bone and Muscle Health

While the benefits of exercise for maintaining strong muscles are more commonly known, exercise also minimizes bone loss. You don’t even have to join a gym to get the benefits of exercise. In fact, walking is one of the most effective ways to maintain bone strength. By adding muscle strength training, you can develop an effective and simple exercise program that will keep your hips healthy. If you embark on a strength training regimen, keeping your hip flexor and abductor muscles strong will help maintain hip joint health. There are a few exercises that target these specific muscles.

In addition to building strength, exercise can help maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress and degeneration in the joints. In people diagnosed with osteoarthritis, keeping a healthy weight can reduce the need for hip replacement surgery. One study revealed that obese people with osteoarthritis are four times more likely to need a hip replacement.

Make sure that you start with short periods or exercise and then increase the intensity and frequency gradually to avoid injury. As always, before making any dietary changes or starting an exercise program, you should consult your doctor.
Bio: Michelle Y. Llamas researches and writes about dangerous drugs and medical devices for, a consumer advocacy website.

Orthopedic Network News. (2011). 2011 Hip and knee implant review. Retrieved from
Center for Aging and Population Health. (2011). Maintain healthy bones, joints & muscles. Retrieved from
Tietyen, J. (n.d.). Bone-up on calcium: Is osteoporosis in your future? Retrieved November 27, 2012, from
Cruz, J. (2011). 5 foods to strengthen bones and joints. Retrieved from
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2009). Live it safe: Prevent broken hips. Retrieved from
Davis, J. (2009, March 11). Joint replacement and body weight. Arthritis Today. Retrieved from

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