Bike Riding and Hip Osteoarthritis

Hip osteoarthritis is the deterioration of the cartilage and bone within your hip joint. Symptoms include pain, joint stiffness and grinding of your hip joint with movement. Weight-bearing activities such as running can aggravate your symptoms. As hip osteoarthritis progresses, you may also experience joint instability, muscle weakness and constant pain or aching. Since osteoarthritis is not curable, exercising such as bike riding is one way to help manage symptoms associated with hip osteoarthritis. (from http://www.Livestrong.com)

A 2008 article published in the “Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America” journal, recommends weight management exercises, such as bike riding and physical therapy as the first line of treatment for hip osteoarthritis. Biking, especially on a stationary bike is safe, low-impact and increases your thigh or quadriceps strength.

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Spartan Grandpa’s bike ride

After reading the article partially quoted above, I talked to my friend Gus about what he does to manage his very painful right hip. He has the same problem as I do, but in the right hip. So, between the two of us, we have a pair of good hips, my Right and his Left. Gus likes to ride mountain bikes a lot. He is a very good technical rider – you know one of those guys you see in pictures riding on the edge of a cliff or climbing hill that most people couldn’t even walk up – and rides regularly. He told me that even though it is very painful for him to walk any distance, bike riding is not a problem. This came as very good news, so I dusted off my old – like 30+ year old – bike and rode it 7 miles last Saturday. I did fine. My neck, which has its own arthritis problems, is what gave me problems. It seems that the way I have to hold my head on a street bike is not so good for my neck. I will have to work on that. Otherwise, the ride was great. My legs got sore and I got my heart rate up a bit. All good.

This weekend, my wife suggested trail riding to a local waterfall – about 7 mile round trip. I dusted off the BMX bike my son left in the garage when he went off to college and we went for an awesome trail ride. The weather was perfect. The trail was great with some sections gravel, bumps, erosion scars, hills, and soft sand. The ride felt good and I did not feel hip pain. My hip got a little tired so I stretched it out periodically and did well. Since on a trail bike you sit more upright than a road bike, my neck did well too. It looks like I will be doing more trail riding. From this this picture you can also see that I should get another bike but I will make do for now. Since it’s exercise we are trying to get, it does not really matter if I have a fancy bike. Just a bike.

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