Hip Arthritis Is Like A DIRTY SPONGE

 By  Shane Dowd , CES, CMP

Do you have hip arthritis or arthritis-like symptoms?

Do you fear your joints will “wear and tear” if you exercise, train, or move around?

What if I tell you those fears were… well… just fears? What if standard advice to move less and “just rest” weren't the way to go? What if instead of wear and tear, it was wear and REPAIR?

The truth is: arthritis isn’t the doom-ridden condition some doctors and doomsday enthusiasts claim it is.

In fact, to use a strange analogy…arthritis is more like a dirty sponge.

Let me explain...

Arthritis Is Like A Dirty Sponge 


What is Arthritis?

Before we can get into ALL the dirty details of the “arthritis as dirty sponge” analogy, we must understand what arthritis is.

Imagine your hip joint is like a well-oiled machine that lets you move your leg smoothly. Well, hip arthritis is like when that well-oiled machine starts to rust and go a bit wonky. 

You know how joints have cartilage, that soft cushiony stuff that helps things glide?

Well, in hip arthritis, that cartilage starts to wear away over time. It's like the padding in your favorite chair getting thinner and thinner. Without that cushion, the bones in your hip can start rubbing against each other when you move. Movements that used to be smooth and painless might become stiff and achy. Not very comfortable. 

So, when you're dealing with hip arthritis, it's like your hip joint is sending you a message that says, "Hey, things aren't as easy as they used to be."  

But the good news is, there are ways to manage and even reverse the discomfort.


Why Is My Arthritic Hip Like A Dirty Sponge Again?

Sadly, many Doctors have bought into the idea that arthritis is purely a "wear and tear" thing...

But, are you ready for the big news?

It's NOT so simple! Why? 

Because that joint cartilage we talked about earlier is made of mostly water...

MOVEMENT helps push that water in and out of our cartilage to keep it healthy...

So, when we stop moving for long periods of time, the water in our cartilage can become stagnant and dirty from cellular waste buildup, just like a dirty sponge that hasn’t been squeezed for a while. 

When you squeeze this dirty sponge, it flushes out the old dirty water and allows in fresh new water. This is what exercise does for your joint cartilage. It flushes out dirty waste and soaks in fresh nutrients.

Voilà - Not wear and tear, but wear and repair! 🥳️


Appropriate Exercise for Hip Arthritis Is Key

Now, I’m not saying ANY movement will flush out the bad and bring in the good.

So don’t jump under a heavy barbell and squat 405 for reps...

Rather, you should do what you can do, either pain-free or with minimal pain, then SLOWLY increase and expand that.

For example, you could start with slow, controlled bodyweight squats and leg lifts paired with targetted tissue work and a walk around the block.  Or it could mean backing OFF the weight on a resistance training program and listening to your body.

Like Goldilocks, you don’t want too much or too little. You want your training to be just right.

Oftentimes, though, you’d be surprised how little it takes to reduce pain. A little bit of something is ALWAYS better than nothing.

What’s more, if you wanna keep your joints healthy over time, then you’ll wanna be sure to have progressive overload. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t need to be complex. It means that over time, you are increasing the load of your exercises.

This means increasing weight, adding reps, adjusting exercise difficulty, changing exercises, or increasing training frequency. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but if you wanna keep the dirty sponge of joints clean, then progressing the load will help.



How This 71-Year-Old Woman with Chronic Hip Problems Got Better without Surgery 

This is Theresa, one of my long-time 1-on-1 students.

When she first came to me, she’d been walking with a limp for 15 years and couldn’t even lift her leg off the ground when on her back.

She not only improved her limp, but she went from NOT being able to lift her leg to doing multiple reps! It may not be much for some people, but for her and for me (her proud coach), she’s making progress! And that’s the goal.

To improve, we took her through a detailed hip assessment. Then, we created a customized strength & mobility routine and had her work on a comprehensive "TSR" hip pain protocol.

The results? Less pain, less limp, and more happiness! 

Yay, Theresa! 🥳️


Wait, What Caused This In The First Place?

You might be asking how Arthritis happens in the first place.

Things get tricky here, especially through a short YouTube video/article. But for the sake of a simple explanation, factors that can lead to hip arthritis are age, genetics, injuries, excessive stress, and medical conditions.

But here’s the most important factor: lifestyle choices.

Your choices about exercise, nutrition, sleep, and stress will have the biggest impact on your joints BY FAR.

But how do you optimize all that? Don’t fret! Control what you can, and don’t stress about the rest.

That means you should:

  • Exercise appropriately - not too much and not too little
  • Follow a personalized "TSR" style recovery plan 
  • Eat enough protein, fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat the right amount of calories.
  • Sleep well.
  • And keep life stress as low as possible.

Easier said than done, but that’s where we can help...


The FAI Fix, Stretching Programs, Strength Programs

There are so many ways to incorporate movement and healthy living into your lifestyle.

We have calisthenics, lifting weights, PNF stretching, loaded stretching, ballistic stretching, running, walking, playing sports, or just plain playing!

Of course, a variety of movements is good. However, movement solutions specifically designed for people dealing with hip problems are best. This is why I’ve created programs like The FAI Fix, Deep Squats, Loaded and Ballistic Stretching, and others.

These programs all use the TSR method, targeted tissue work, stretching, and re-education of the muscles. And I’ve based these programs on personal experience with hip pain and the latest science.

We've also spent over 8+ years honing and refining the programs based on continual feedback from our over 30,000 students around the world.

So, if you're looking for an action plan to clean up your hips and you’re looking for more personalized coaching, please schedule a 1-on-1 call with me personally at gotrom.com/vip to explore how we might help you 1-on-1

If you found this information reassuring, share it with anyone who needs to know that movement is key for healing hips.

And, as always, remember, you’re just 1 step away from building or rebuilding your perfect body.




About The Author

Shane Dowd, CES, CMP, is the owner/founder of GotROM.com. He is also a sports performance & mobility coach specializing in injury prevention and flexibility for athletes.



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