Hip Osteoarthritis (OA) is linked to nearly 43% of deaths in older adults according to study. Sanjay Gupta points out in Hip Arthritis Linked to Excess Mortality that Hip OA results in decreased physical function and thus leads to cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other issues that in turn lead to an increase in mortality, a gentler way of saying people dying.
Improving physical function is the one thing that can reverse this trend. You can do this by measuring what you (or a loved one) can do currently as baseline and then record improvements over time. A quick way to measure improvement is to time how long you walk, or how far. Or count the number of squats, or sit to stand to sit you can do over a chair without using your hands. Measure your activity and repeat each day while tracking the amount. You should be able to see improvements each week in the number or duration of the activity you are performing. And, make sure to look at improvements from a percentage perspective, not just straight numbers. An increase from 5 to 6 squats over a chair is a 20% increase! That’s big. Likewise, walking for 8 minutes after starting at 6 is a 33% increase! Use that to encourage yourself, or someone you love, to further efforts and keep up their new routine.
What Dr. Gupta leaves out of his article is that improving physical function is the sweet spot for physical therapists. It is exactly what we do. And it is why we exist. So, if you or someone you know is suffering from hip pain and has diagnosed (or undiagnosed) Hip OA, do them a favor and share this article along with urging them to see a physical therapist if they are stuck or having difficulty improving their physical function on their own. Physical therapists can help and love to do so.
Contact us at 415.593.2532 or go to one of our team and look for availability on their schedule by clicking on the green “Find an Appointment with…” button on their profile. And if you are not near San Francisco, give us a call and we will do our best to connect you with someone in your area.