Hip injuries are no joke, especially for older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 250,000 adults ages 65 and older are hospitalized for hip fractures each year, and many of them are not able to live independently afterward.
More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falls. Conditions such as osteoarthritis, which causes pain and limited range of motion, as well as osteoporosis, which causes weak bones that are more vulnerable to fractures, increase the risk of hip injury and are common in older adults.
On the positive side, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of hip injury. Next Avenue recently published an article entitled “How to Avoid Hip Injuries After 50,” and we thought we’d share a few of their tips.
- Maintain good posture. Most people know that slouching is bad for the neck, back and shoulders, but what many don’t know is that poor posture can actually stem from a hip problem. If you’re uncomfortable sitting up straight, without leaning on a backrest, this may point to restricted hip motion. Practice sitting up straight with your feet flat on the floor, which helps properly align your hips—crossing the legs puts strain on your hips and can lead to numbness, tingling and pain.
- Protect your hips while you sleep. Many people can only sleep comfortably on their sides, but side sleeping puts the hip in an awkward position that can cause damage to a part of the hip joint called the labrum. If you’re a side sleeper, try sleeping with a pillow between your knees to avoid injuring your hip.
- Regular exercise is an important part of protecting your hips. Strengthening exercises that engage the core, such as planks, side bridges and hip adductor and abductor exercises, are typically best.
- Evaluate your shoes. If you walk, jog, run or perform almost any type of exercise on a regular basis, it’s important to buy new workout shoes periodically. Shoes that are worn out, do not fit properly or don’t provide proper support can lead to hip pain or injury. New shoes should fit your heel, arch and toe box, and shoes with less heel lift are typically recommended.
Find the full list of tips, as well as videos demonstrating recommended exercises, here.