A link between food and hip fractures may seem far-fetched, but there’s a clear connection:
- Bone loss and weakening occur with age
- Advancing age leads to an increased risk of falls
- Weak bones fracture easily during a fall
- Some foods contain vitamins and minerals that strengthen your bones
Over 300,000 people fracture their hips in falls every year in the United States — most are seniors 65 and older, and osteoporosis is the primary culprit.
At Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, we help folks who have hip pain that stems from all sorts of issues. From arthritis and sprains to tendonitis and bursitis, we diagnose and treat them all, but one of the most common hip problems we see is a fracture.
Dr. Bryan King and Dr. Jeffrey Cuomo can X-ray your hip and determine whether you’ve fractured it. Some minor fractures heal on their own with rest and immobility.
However, if you fracture the femoral neck — the top part of your leg bone that fits into the ball socket in your hip — you’re likely going to need surgery.
If surgery is necessary, you’re in great hands with our skilled and experienced orthopedic surgeons, but we’d rather help you prevent fractures and avoid the need for these extreme measures.
And here’s where food comes in.
Take a moment to learn how osteoporosis affects your bones and how your food choices affect osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis and your bones
Osteoporosis develops when your bones lose critical density and mass. While you’re young, your bone tissue continually renews itself, replacing older dying bone cells with new ones. But as you age, the process slows, and you lose bone density faster than your body regenerates it.
Under a microscope, young, healthy bones are slightly porous and look like a tight network of structural cells. When osteoporosis sets in, the open spaces increase in size and quantity, significantly compromising the structural integrity of your skeletal system.
Postmenopausal women are most at risk for osteoporosis — and half of them will break a bone due to osteoporosis — but older men can get it, too.
You can help prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis by adopting a lifestyle that focuses on bone health. While smoking and excess alcohol consumption can rob you of bone health, weight-bearing exercise can build stronger bones.
Nutrition, however, is the most essential factor in maintaining healthy bones.
When you want to shift your diet to include bone-strengthening foods, focus on ingredients that bring plenty of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins D, C, and K to the table.
Generally, eating a well-balanced diet is sufficient to supply your bones with all they need to stay strong, but if you’re not getting what you need from your daily diet, we can recommend supplements to ensure your bones are well-fed.
Here are some bone-loving foods to add to your diet:
Milk, cheese, and yogurt give you lots of calcium, a mineral your bones need to stay strong and dense.
Many types of fish contain essential vitamins and minerals, but mackerel, salmon, and sardines are packed with vitamin D, which your body needs to absorb calcium.
Fruits and veggies
Eating a variety of fresh vegetables is a great way to ensure you get plenty of vitamins and minerals, but some veggies have a higher content than others.
- Calcium: Kale, broccoli, okra, and collard, turnip, dandelion, and mustard greens
- Magnesium: Tomatoes, artichokes, prunes, spinach, beet greens, and sweet potatoes
- Potassium: Oranges, papaya, bananas, raisins, potatoes, and tomatoes
- Vitamin C: Peppers, grapefruit, pineapple, strawberries, Brussels sprouts
- Vitamin K: Dark, leafy greens and Brussels sprouts
- Vitamin D: Fortified foods, like certain cereals and juices, soy and rice milk
Caffeine, alcohol, and sodium can decrease calcium absorption, so consume them conservatively.
If you have hip pain and suspect a fracture or osteoporosis, contact us at Tuscaloosa Orthopedic & Joint Institute to schedule an appointment.