Arthritic hip; essential exercise programm

by John
(Italy)

I've recently been diagnosed with arthritis of the hip.
I'm 58 yrs old, 73 kg and fit. Until the diagnosis I was
a runner averaging 25-30 kms a week. I had plans
to run a marathon in 2019.

The doctor says I could be looking at an operation in 2 to 3 years (see images), which I found rather alarming.

I'm not in pain though I have occasional twinges in my knee
and thigh. I'm unable to sit cross-legged on the floor as an indication of the limited range of motion that the arthritis has caused.

Trying to find a simple exercise programme to maintain strength and elasticity in muscles hasn't been easy. The amount of information on the internet is overwhelming.

I'm looking for the essential strengthening and stretching
exercises for an arthritic hip.

Suggestions would be most welcome.

John, it's a tough call, and I was taken back to the days when I was faced with giving up squash, or an almost certain lower back operation.

In my own case, I was miserable for six months until I found another sport not as hard on my back; in fact after 25 years I'm enjoying it even more than I did squash, and still haven't had a back operation, though it came close once about 4 years ago.

My point? You have three options:
1. Give up running altogether, and find something else to enthrall you.

2. Curtail your running, and stick as far as possible to soft, forgiving surfaces like earthen paths and grass fields.

3. Face certain bilateral hip replacements in the not too distant future.

You do indeed have early hip arthritis on both sides, and I doubt if any of the three alternatives appeal to you. But I can assure you, there is life after marathon running. It's just time to find another sport.

You have a good few million strides left in those hips; you can use them up in three years, or spread them over twenty. Take your pick.

Certainly, a regular set of hip exercises done daily, and especially a good warm up routine, and running on soft terrain would help.

So would fatty fish for the omega-3 and a chicken bones bouillon for cartilage nutrients.

Two last thoughts:
1. Have your leg length checked; strong research showing that a short leg leads to hip and knee arthritis. A simple insert in your shoe is the solution.

2. A mobile sacroiliac joint is central to a happy hip.

I hope this doesn't make you too grumpy!

Dr B

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