Hip fractures are cracks or breaks in the top of the thigh bone (femur) close to the hip joint. Their two main causes are falls and bone loss caused by conditions such as cancer or osteoporosis, which makes the elderly the highest-risk group for them, due to changes in their skeletal system as they age. With the increasing population of elderly adults and continual increase in life expectancy in the United States, the number of hip fractures is expected to double over the next 10 to 15 years.
orthopedic doctor palm beach gardens radiologist examines the hip part of the patient carefully shot on a white background
Identifying osteoporosis and treating it promptly is one of the most important strategies in reducing the risk of breaking your hip. Although genetic predisposition is the key risk factor in developing osteoporosis, anyone can implement lifestyle changes at a young age to prevent its occurrence.
Hip fractures can be expensive and severely disabling, so we are sharing some of the top prevention strategies here.
- Enrich your diet with fruit and vegetables
Studies indicate that both men and women who ate more than two servings of fruit and vegetables daily were at a nearly 50% lower risk of hip fracture compared to those who had fewer than two servings. Besides common dairy products serving as a source of calcium, the most calcium-rich foods for bone strength are dark green, leafy vegetables like kale and broccoli and some nuts and seeds such as pistachios, almonds and sesame seeds.
2. Get Vitamin D as it helps to absorb calcium
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that comes from food and from being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Orthopedic doctors in Palm Beach Gardens say that an average of 20-30 minutes per week of sun exposure should be sufficient for vitamin synthesis.
It helps with calcium absorption, increasing bone density and thus reducing the risk of hip fractures. Though it is present in a few food products, vitamin D is best when produced in the body as triggered by UV rays. Due to their lack of mobility and rare exposure to sun, the elderly often suffer from calcium deficiency. Studies show that 57% of elderly hip surgery patients suffered from it. One way to increase the level of both vitamin D and calcium in the body is the consumption of dietary supplements. However, our orthopedic doctors in Palm Beach Gardens warn that due to potential side effects, a consultation with a health care provider is a must before starting.
3. Moderate your consumption of soda and coffee
While there is no entirely conclusive research about these drinks causing bone loss, scientists suggest three potential reasons why drinking these beverages may lead to bone weakness. One reason is that phosphoric acid, present in soft drinks, leaches calcium out of the bones, while caffeine may contribute to lower bone density. A simple solution, then, is drinking less of these beverages and substituting others.
Don’t take this as advice to abandon your morning routine of drinking coffee. Our orthopedic doctors in West Palm Beach say that moderate and careful consumption of these beverages does not put you at automatic risk; however, you need to have control over the amount consumed.
4. Engage in an active lifestyle
The first piece of advice from our orthopedic doctors in West Palm Beach on how to increase your activity level can be implemented immediately: avoid sitting. A hallmark of many modern occupations, uninterrupted sitting causes quite a few musculoskeletal problems, among them an increased fracture risk.
Adding 30-60 min of daily exercise or walking to your routine is the next step in the transformation to active lifestyle. Do not push yourself to the limit, but try to implement small habits such as: walking or cycling to the nearest store instead of driving your car, signing up for your favorite dance class, or spending the weekends outdoors hiking or Nordic walking in the nearest park.
Exercising will also help you to control your weight. Excess weight is harmful for your hips in particular as it creates additional pressure on them. Excess weight or obesity also makes it more difficult to treat hip fractures, including performing surgery, as you are more likely to have heart, blood pressure and sugar level issues.
While exercising, focus on building muscle strength and improving your mobility and balance. Increased muscle mass will support your bones and joints and lower the pressure on your hips while sitting. It will also reduce the chance of injury during slips, trips and tumbles. This is especially important for the elderly, as they progressively lose their sense of balance and coordination.
No matter which activity you chose, your overall well being must be the outcome. Start to transform your healthy habits into a mindset and lifestyle that will lead to vitality and longevity.
5. Reduce the risk of falling
Nine out of 10 hip fractures are caused by falls, say our orthopedic doctors in Palm Beach Gardens.
Sharp vision can help you avoid a fall, so make sure you have regular checkups with an optometrist starting in your mid 40s, when your eyes begin to exhibit age-related declines in performance.
Elderly patients often are on multiple medications, and these medications can lead to dizziness, sleepiness, and loss of balance, all of which increase the likelihood of falling. Consult your doctor or pharmacist about medications and their interactions with each other.
Finally, avoid risky behavior at home such as climbing on furniture while changing a light bulb, cleaning or dusting, and ensure adequate lighting so you can notice hazards as you move from room to room. Make sure your floor is covered with non-slip materials and that your slippers fit properly and have sturdy, non-skid soles to prevent you from falling.
With a greater understanding of risk factors, we can implement these prevention strategies today to ensure our body is strong and resistant in old age.
About Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute
Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute is now offering its services in 4 convenient locations: Jupiter, Wellington, West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens. We are open Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm. If you have ANY questions or need advice from our professional and experienced staff members, make an appointment by contacting us. For detailed directions on how to find us, go to our website here. We are here to make you stronger and healthier!