Hip exercise is a very important part of pain management for anybody with arthritis in the hips. It is also probably the best way to limit the development or worsening of arthritis in all joints.
Many exercises for the hips will also strengthen the knees which is important because arthritis in these joints is often linked. A person with stiff and painful hips will tend to put stress on the knees when walking to reduce their pain, and this stress can often produce problems of its own including causing arthritis to develop in the knees too. The same is true in reverse, when someone causes problems in their hips because they were trying to ’save’ their arthritic knee joints.
There are three types of exercise that you can do for arthritic hips: stretching, strengthening and reduced-impact aerobic exercise. Try to do a variety including all three types, spread over several days. It is fine to do a longer exercise period some days and a shorter one other days, but it is best to take some form of exercise every day.
Stretching Hip Exercises
Try to do some stretching every day, because these exercises should help you with important daily activities such as sitting, getting in and out of a car and putting on shoes. Never force a stretch further than is comfortable. Keep in mind too that you may need help getting up off the floor.
1. Bent Leg Raise
Lying on your back, slowly raise one knee, sliding your foot along the floor. Bring your foot as close to your buttocks as you comfortably can. Then lift your foot and bring your knee up towards your chest. If this is difficult you can pull with either your hands around your thigh (not around the knee) or a belt.
Hold for a count of 5 then return the foot to the floor and slide it back until it is stretched out again and relaxed. Repeat with the other leg. (5 times)
2. Bent Leg Raise With Rotation
Repeat the leg raise but while the knee is in the air, rotate it inward (toward the other hip) and back to an upright position. Again you can support the thigh if that helps. Rotate the knee slowly 5 times, then do the other leg.
Strengthening Hip Exercises
1. Straight Leg Raise
Lie on your back with knees up and feet flat on the floor. Tighten muscles in your right thigh and raise the right foot, straightening the right knee as far as you comfortably can. Keep the foot 1-2 feet off the ground, not more, and do not arch the back. Hold for a count of 10, relax and repeat with the other leg. (2-5 times)
2. Foot Roll
Stand 1-2 feet from a counter with legs apart and hands leaning on the counter. Standing on your heels, lift the toes and slowly turn them so they point first inward, then outward. This should cause the whole leg to rotate inside the hip joint. (5-10 times)
3. Backward Leg Raise
Still supported by the counter, raise one leg up and back. Keep the knee straight. Hold for a count of 5. Repeat with the other leg. (5 times)
Reduced Impact Aerobic Exercises
Avoid high impact aerobic exercises like running, skipping etc if you have even mild arthritis. The impact of the body hitting the ground can be very stressful for the joints. If you like walking, walk on a softer surface such as grass rather than on the street wherever possible. Better still, go for low impact aerobic exercise such as swimming or stationary cycling.
Do not stress your hips. Stop if you feel any sharp pain or if your hips or other joints begin to ache differently than your normal resting pain. Do not expect to see improvement in a very short time but begin gently and increase gradually.
Many people will have a reduction in their pain within a week or two. If you do not feel any better, you may need to see a physiotherapist who has access to your radiography results so that they can pinpoint where your problems lie. In some cases where the arthritis is worsening, exercise may not relieve pain but it will prevent it getting worse.
Do not neglect to consult with your doctor before starting any hip exercise program if you suffer from arthritis or other medical conditions.
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This entry was posted on Friday, March 6th, 2009 at 3:30 pm and is filed under exercises. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.