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Whether you want to recover from a fractured hip as quickly and effectively as possible, or you want to avoid breaking it in the first place, then get moving! Staying physically active can massively reduce the risk of breaking a hip, and can be a huge help to the rehabilitation process if you do have the bad luck to get a hip fracture.
Hip fractures are extremely common in seniors; in the USA, over 300,000 over 65s are hospitalized with the injury each year. Unfortunately, a broken hip can have huge and very serious long term effects. A hip fracture must be treated by an operation which can leave patients immobile and even bedridden, which then leads to a variety of complications. So, what can you do to keep your hips healthy?
Exercising to prevent a broken hip
Seniors are more at risk of hip fractures for two major reasons: firstly, senior citizens are more likely to fall, and secondly, seniors’ bones are often more fragile and prone to breaking. Physical activity can help you avoid falls by strengthening muscles and improving balance. Being fit and active can also help to reduce common conditions such as postural hypertension and high/low blood pressure which can lead to dizziness and falling. Weight-bearing exercises also play a role in building bones and helping to keep them strong, thus counteracting the effects of osteoporosis or decreased bone density. This condition is common in over 65s, particularly women, and makes a broken bone more likely in the event of a fall.
The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends the following activities:
- High-impact aerobics
- Jumping rope
- Climbing stairs
- Jogging or running
- Using elastic exercise bands
- Lifting your body weight
- Using weight machines
- Lifting weights
- Functional movements, such as standing and rising up on your toes
Exercise to recover from a broken hip
Almost all hip fractures are treated with an operation involving screws or pins and perhaps a plate. It is a major operation carried out under general anesthetic. Only 30% of people fully recover, and aside from pain and issues relating to the fracture, the lack of mobility as a result of the operation can lead to conditions such as blood clots, pneumonia, heart attacks, and strokes. It is important to get moving soon after the operation to reduce the risk of these complications. Patients are encouraged to start moving shortly after the operation and should receive guidance from a physiotherapist on how to get their rehabilitation started.
Physical activity also brings mobility and strength back to the area. Particularly recommended are ‘functional’ exercises which mimic everyday activities such as sitting and standing or climbing stairs. This will help you get back to normal life as soon as possible. By continuing to use and strengthen muscles, you can also ensure that you are at less risk of another broken bone.