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WHY DO MY HIPS HURT? THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU.

WHY DO MY HIPS HURT?  THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU.

The Hip Joint is a Big Deal!

The Importance of the Hip Joint to the Human Body is much the same as the Importance of the "Grand Central Terminal" to the City of New York. You may have heard the term "Everything flows through the hips" - and it is said for good reason!

Major nerves and arteries extending into the lower body pass through the hips, and pinch points for these major nerves are often found in the lower back or the hip. Pinched nerves can happen for many reasons, but soft tissue inflammation due to muscle imbalance, gait issues, and/or overcompensation is one of the major causes.

Hip Pain: Causes and Treatment

The hip joint can withstand repeated motion and a fair amount of wear and tear. This ball-and-socket joint--the body's largest-- fits together in a way that allows for fluid movement.

Whenever you use the hip (for example, by going for a run), a cushion of cartilage helps prevent friction as the hip bone moves in its socket.

Despite its durability, the hip joint isn't indestructible. With age and use, the cartilage can wear down or become damaged. Muscles and tendons in the hip can get overused. Bones in the hip can break during a fall or other injury. Any of these conditions can lead to hip pain. 

If your hips are sore, here is a rundown of what might be causing your discomfort and how to get hip pain relief.

  • Arthritis.Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are among the most common causes of hip pain, especially in older adults. Arthritis leads to inflammation of the hip joint and the breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. The pain gradually gets worse. People with arthritis also feel stiffness and have reduced range of motion in the hip. Learn more about hip osteoarthritis.
  • Hip fractures. With age, the bones can become weak and brittle. Weakened bones are more likely to break during a fall.
  • Bursitis. Bursae are sacs of liquid found between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. They ease the friction from these tissues rubbing together. When bursae get inflamed, they can cause pain. Inflammation of bursae is usually due to repetitive activities that overwork or irritate the hip joint. Learn more about bursitis of the hip.
  • Tendinitis. Tendons are the thick bands of tissue that attach bones to muscles. Tendinitis is inflammation or irritation of the tendons. It's usually caused by repetitive stress from overuse. Learn more about tendinitis symptoms.
  • Muscle or tendon strain. Repeated activities can put strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the hips. When they become inflamed due to overuse, they can cause pain and prevent the hip from working normally.
  • Misalignment of Lower Body - Be Aware of Your Posture.  A key factor for preventing hip pain is maintaining good posture throughout the day. Your ears, shoulders, hips, and ankles should make a straight line. Having proper alignment goes beyond maintaining a good posture — it can also help prevent long-term pain. Misalignment may impair your range of motion, and severe issues can affect your quality of life (Healthline).  Observing your profile picture will tell you if you are letting your head, shoulders, and hips lean forward. This misalignment is the foundation of many health problems including hip pain.

Hip Pain Relief

If your hip pain is caused by a muscle or tendon strain, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis, you can usually relieve it with an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.

Rheumatoid arthritis treatments also include prescription anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate and sulfasalazine, and biologics, which target the immune system.

If you have arthritis, exercising the hip joint with low-impact exercises, stretching, and resistance training can reduce pain and improve joint mobility. For example, swimming is a good non-impact exercise for arthritis. Physical therapy can also help increase your range of motion.

There is another crucial variable that most people don’t take into account when considering how best to achieve proper alignment and posture in turn relieving Hip pain.  That is the footwear and arch support that your foot receives.  When your feet and arches are supported properly than the rest of your body will be in a better position to be properly aligned and in turn achieving lower body alignment.

Most shoes do not provide proper arch support, and most insoles provide what we like to refer to as static support vs. Dynamic.  By static, we mean there is no fluid support through the gait cycle in support of the arch.  Static support is primarily the type of support that all orthotic insoles provide, whether they are custom or over-the-counter.  To be able to provide Dynamic Arch support would mean providing support underneath the arch throughout the gait cycle, and effectively maintaining alignment throughout the gait cycle.   

There is now such an insole called SelectFlex that provides the Dynamic Arch Support. SelectFlex is an entirely new type of dynamic energy returning insole that just won the ISHN Best Protective Footwear category for 2020.  SelectFlex insoles use a patented energy returning arch lifting technology called the PowerLift Arch.  The PowerLift Arch provides the wearer with 3 energy return levels to support the arch with dynamic alignment with every step.  A byproduct of proper alignment will be good posture. 

  

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Therapies & Remedies to Treat (and ALLEVIATE !) Plantar Fasciitis Pain

Plantar fasciitis is a very common foot ailment that occurs when an inflammation of a thick band of tissue forms and connects the heel bone to the toes (Footwear News). It is usually self-diagnosable & self-treatable. The inflamed tissue runs across the bottom of the foot with the primary symptom being a stabbing pain near the heel. Plantar fasciitis happens a lot with runners and people who have flat feet, high arches, are overweight, or who are on their feet a lot. You're more likely to develop the condition if you're female or have a job that requires a lot of walking or standing on hard surfaces. You're also at risk if you have tight calf muscles that limit how far you can flex your ankles. People with very flat feet or very high arches also are more prone to plantar fasciitis (Footcare MD).

With attentive care, the sufferer can often do these 7 things in their daily life to alleviate the pain caused by Plantar Fasciitis and help your foot heal faster (Podiatry Today).

1) Rest: Sure this one seems most obvious and easiest to implement, but as we know life often gets in the way of taking care of one’s self. General rest is critical when coping with Plantar Fasciitis and it is very important to keep weight off your foot until the inflammation goes down.

2) Ice: 
The old standby of ice to treat inflammation still works great , and there are multiple ways that you can implement this.
    • A store bought ice pack always works great. They are relatively inexpensive and most efficient to use. One piece of advice would be to get one of minimal size as you want to focus on icing the heel area and not the entire bottom of the foot. General recommendation is to put it on your heel 3 to 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
    • Next option would be to make a homemade pack. First wrap a towel around a plastic bag filled with crushed ice or even around a package of frozen corn or peas. As with the store bought ice pack, put the homemade ice pack on your heel 3 to 4 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
    • Another option is to fill a shallow pan with water and ice and soak your heel in it for in it for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day. Remember to keep your toes out of the water as we want to focus primarily on the heel area.
3) Pain relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can make your foot feel better and help with inflammation. The most prominent NSAIDs are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, all available over the counter.

4) Stretching and exerciseStretch your calvesAchilles tendon, and the bottom of your foot. Do exercises that make your lower leg and foot muscles stronger. This can help stabilize your ankle, ease pain, and keep plantar fasciitis from coming back. A few simple stretches can reduce tension in the foot and calf, offering both rapid pain relief and a steady improvement of symptoms over time (Medical News Today).

5) Night splints: 
Most of us sleep with our feet pointed down, which shortens the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. Night splints, which you wear while you sleep, keep your feet at a 90-degree angle. So instead of shortening your plantar fascia, you get a good, constant stretch while you sleep. Although night splints tend to be bulky, they work well and can help relieve pain while you sleep. Once the pain is gone, you can stop wearing them. 

6) Shoe inserts: For the daytime and your daily activities, quality shoe inserts are crucial to use. Most shoes are not factory produced with quality support for your feet. Also called insoles, arch supports, or orthotics, shoe inserts can give you extra cushion and added support that your shoes do not provide. You can get them over-the-counter (OTC) or have them custom made. Typically, your results will be just as good, and less expensive with OTC inserts, but quality is still important when considering. When you choose one, adjustability is key and it is important to make sure that you can achieve a level of firmness that is right for you -- and make sure it has good arch support. Also you should choose a pair of insoles with a good heel cup that provides extra cushion.

(7) Adjustable Insoles: SelectFlex Adjustable Arch Technology
SelectFlex’s PowerLiftArch™ relieves heel and foot pain by LIFTING your arch with each and every step, alleviating strain on your plantar fascia reducing pain with [ 3 ] adjustable arch comfort settings.

Can You Prevent Plantar Fasciitis?

Once your foot feels better, you can make a few lifestyle changes to help keep plantar fasciitis from coming back. These include:

  • Losing weight. Obviously there are numerous advantages to losing weight, but as it relates to plantar fasciitis, if you're overweight or obese, you may put more pressure on the bottom of your feet. That pressure can lead to plantar fasciitis.

  • Make sure all of your footwear has good support. As important as it is to replace your athletic shoes often, it is equally important to make sure you replace your inserts when needed. Most inserts will last between 6-12 months, around the same lifetime of your athletic shoes. Ones you find the insert that works best for you, it is often helpful to buy additional pairs and have them in all of your shoes so you don’t have to move them from your works shoes, to your sneakers to your boots, etc.

  • Stay away from high heels. Wearing them can cause your plantar fasciitis to come back

  • Don’t go barefoot on hard surfaces. This includes your first few steps when you get up in the morning. It's common to feel plantar fasciitis then. So you'll want to keep some supportive footwear by your bed.

  • Do low-impact exercise. Activities like swimming or cycling won't cause plantar fasciitis or make it worse. After you're done, stretch out your calves and feet. For instance, curl and relax your toes and make circles with your feet and ankles.

  • Avoid high-impact activities. These include running and jumping, which put a lot of stress on your feet and can make your calf muscles tighter if you don't stretch them out.

  • Keep doing your leg and foot stretches.  Regular daily calf stretching performed over a 6 to 8-week period will alleviate plantar fasciitis in almost 90% of patients (Foot Education). The stretching should be performed for a total of 3 minutes per day. Two of these include:
    1) Stretch your calves. Stand facing a wall. Put your hands on the wall. Step one foot behind the other, keeping both feet parallel to each other. Gently lean toward the wall, keeping your back heel on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds, and then switch feet. Repeat several times on each side.
    2) Stretch the bottom of your foot. Sit down and cross one foot over your other leg. Hold your toes and gently bend them backward.
  • Untuck your bedsheets. If your sheets are tucked too tightly and you sleep on your back, your feet will be in a pointed position while you sleep

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