They say hips don’t lie, and unfortunately, they may be right. Hips might be one of the biggest giveaways of age—once you’ve hit 60, you’ve got a 1 in 4 chance of experiencing hip pain.
Mr Parminder J Singh is an Orthopaedic Surgeon with St Vincent’s Private Hospital East Melbourne. Here are his five top tips to age-proofing your hips and reducing your risk of ending up on the operating table!
Tip 1: Monitor your bone density
If you’re female and have reached menopause, Mr Parminder J Singh recommends asking your GP for a bone density check to measure the thickness and quality of your bone. Reduced bone density can put you at increased risk of sustaining a hip fracture.
By 2022, it’s estimated that 6.2 million Australians over 50 will have osteoporosis or osteopenia, a 31% increase since 2012.
At the same time, fracture rates are expected to rise: from 140,882 in 2012 to 183,105 in 2022, if patients don’t take action to improve their diagnosis of and management of osteoporosis.”
Your GP can start you on medication and a management plan to help strengthen your bones.
Tip 2: Eat a mineral-rich diet
Make sure your diet contains the essential minerals for bone health—calcium in particular—and you’re getting enough sun for your Vitamin D levels. Mr Parminder J Singh explains that most people in Australia don’t need supplements if their diet is healthy. You can find current dietary recommendations from Osteoporosis here. If you do require a calcium supplement, your doctor will recommend the right dose for you.
Smoking and alcohol are also detrimental to bone health; speak to your doctor about a treatment plan to help you with a smoking or alcohol habit, and visit the Quit Now website for resources for smokers.
Tip 3: Organise your home and activities to prevent falls
Mr Parminder J Singh recommends organising your home to reduce your risk of falling. Keep objects off your stairs and floors. Fall-proof your bathroom with slip-resistant bathmats and grab bars in the bathtub. Take care in the garden, particularly in wet seasons, and avoid ladders or standing on unsteady furniture. Get your eyes checked regularly; poor vision frequently causes falls in older people.
Tip 4: Exercise for strength, balance and agility
Exercise is vital for maintaining mobility and general health. Weight-bearing activities like walking and running will strengthen your muscles, bones and protect your hip joints. Low-impact exercise like swimming and cycling are also great options for those who are unable to run. Yoga and pilates can improve flexibility and strengthen your back and abdomen, helping your balance and preventing falls.
Mr Parminder J Singh cautions that certain activities can cause joint pain and damage if performed incorrectly. Go gently, and have a physiotherapist watch your form. For further information, read Osteoporosis Australia’s exercise guide here.
Tip 5: Maintain a healthy weight
The more you weigh, the more pressure your hips experience. If you’re at a healthy body weight, keep up your physical activity levels and nourishing diet. However, if you’re struggling to keep your weight down, your doctor can help you with a diet plan and exercise regime to keep you at a healthy weight.
Hip problems in seniors can become extremely debilitating, and even fatal if not treated correctly. That’s why taking steps to minimise your risk of hip issues can be beneficial to your health—and it’s also not that hard.
ABOUT: Mr Parminder J Singh specialises in hip and knee arthroscopy as well as minimally invasive joint replacement surgery. As an active member of Hip Arthroscopy Australia (HAA), Board Member of the International Society of Hip Arthroscopy and Joint Preservation Surgery, Parminder is part of a group at the forefront of developing and teaching many of the hip arthroscopy techniques used in Australia and around the world today. His private consulting suite is located at 21 Erin Street, Richmond. For more information visit https://www.pjsorthopaedics.com.au/. To make an appointment, call (03) 9428 4128.
ABOUT: St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne – a centre of excellence for orthopaedics, offering a wide range of orthopaedic procedures like joint replacement surgeries including hip, knee, ankle, wrist, shoulder and elbow, and other orthopaedic interventions including sport medicine and injuries, and tumour and reconstructive surgery. Our facilities in East Melbourne, Fitzroy, Kew and Werribee include on-site consulting rooms, pathology, radiology, sports medicine specialists, state-of-the-art surgical theatres, physiotherapy and other post-operative services. Visit St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne for more information.