Do the ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ to avoid arthritis

When the articular cartilage that cushions your hip joint surface wears thin or simply wears out you have the No. 1 cause of disability and activity limitation in the U.S. — arthritis.

Exercise is essential in keeping you mobile. But of course if you exercise a damaged joint or damaged any tissue in your body the wrong way you could make thing go from bad to worse.

Researchers now know that there is a gene that correlates to a higher likelihood of realizing arthritis symptoms, and some of the risk factors for many diseases now seem to be attributable to these uncontrollable predispositions.

However, there are many other lifestyle modifications that you can put in place to limit the effect of bad genetics, or the march of time or which gender you are. A contributing factor that we can control is obesity. Carrying too much body weight puts an undue strain on the hips initiating and contributing to arthritic wear.

The exercise fix for arthritic hips is to first eliminate high impact activities, and substitute the stationary bicycle, the elliptical trainer, or do water aerobics. You would also want to do hip range of motion exercises including the knees to chest, the straddle stretch, the T- roll and the IT pretzel stretch.

Before you do any exercises make sure you are cleared for exercise by your medical doctor and then employ a certified personal trainer such as myself who specializes in Orthopedic Rehab Exercise programming to show you the correct way to work your body. This is both to insure that you are effective in what you are doing as well as to insure that you don’t hurt yourself.

You might also consider, as tolerated, ways of strengthening your hip muscles using elastic tubing or ankle weights or exercise machines if you have them available. These types of exercises help support the hip joint and take some of the pressure off the joint.

It is important to work all the supporting muscles including the hip adductor and abductor, the hip flexors and the gluteal area. Also because many people with hip degenerative joint disease and limited hip mobility get lower back dysfunction it is prudent to do low back pain preventative exercises as part of your preventative and rehabilitative workout program.

Hip bursitis occurs when a little bag of fluid called a bursa becomes inflamed. Bursitis at the hip is a problem that more often affects women than men. The muscles and the tendons on the outside of the hip rub on the bony prominences (the greater trochanters) on each side, creating friction. By exercising the outer thigh muscles to increase both strength and flexibility, you can offset the friction and reduce the cause.

Part of the issue may be that you have a difference in leg length and this can be remedied by orthotics or a heel lift to even out your hip posture and reduce the friction.

The IT Pretzel stretch is a good stretch to help reduce hip bursitis. And then strengthen the outer thigh with elastic tubing exercises or the hip abduction and hip adduction machines if you have access to them.

Another factor that contributes to arthritis and inflammation generally, is a diet that is high in acid forming foods. The majority of your diet should come from greens, veggies, fruit and non-acid forming foods. Go light on meat, processed foods and sugar. These foods trigger inflammation in your body. Lastly, try to reduce stress by exercising, doing enjoyable activities and hanging out with good fun people. It is a lifesaver!


Dr. Jane Riley, Ed.D., is a certified personal fitness trainer, nutritional adviser, behavior change specialist and certified orthopedic exercise specialist. She can be reached at, 212-8119 cell/text and


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