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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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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