Hip pain is something that many people struggle with, especially if you are older, overweight or a combination of the two. There are a variety of things that may cause your hip pain, and doctors regularly recommend changing your diet to see how your body reacts.
When done correctly, a keto diet should not cause hip pain. In most people, pain in the joints will begin to go away when eliminating foods that cause inflammation and living a healthier lifestyle.
This article will dive into identifying what may be causing your hip pain and how a ketogenic diet can benefit your condition.
What Is The Hip?
The hip is the largest ball-and-socket joint in your entire body. It connects your femur bone to your acetabulum, which is the socket that connects the femur to your body. These two components make it possible for your body to move fluidly and handle repeated, repetitive movement and a significant amount of wear and tear before any problems arise.
Your hip contains cartilage that helps cushion the bone when it moves within the socket. These movements can be anything from walking or running to bending over to pick things up around the house. You use your hip for nearly every movement your body makes, especially if you’re standing.
Although your hips are among the most durable parts of your body, they are not indestructible. This is because, over time, the cartilage that protects the bone starts to wear down. This is especially true as you get older because the longer you use something, the more likely it is to break down.
As the cartilage begins to wear down and disappear or become otherwise damaged, your body will begin to compensate by using the tendons and muscles in the hip much more than they were previously used. Unfortunately, this leads to pain, which can sometimes become excruciating.
What Causes Hip Pain?
Before we get into the details of how keto affects your hip pain, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes.
Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the most common causes of pain in your hips, according to WebMD. It is even more common in older adults. When you develop arthritis, the hip joint begins to become inflamed, and the cartilage starts to break down. While it begins as a slight discomfort, the pain becomes more intense over time. Arthritis can also lead to the joint becoming stiff, making it hard to move.
Avascular necrosis – This condition kills the tissue around the bone because the blood that flows to the hip slows tremendously. There are several reasons that this condition may occur, but the most common is using steroids in a high dosage for an extended amount of time or an injury, such as a dislocation or fracture of the hip.
Bursitis – In between all of your tendons, muscles, and bones, there are small sacs of liquid called bursae. When the bursae become inflamed, you’ll notice pain in the joints. Bursitis is commonly caused by repetitive activities like things you do over and over at work or in the gym,
Cancer – Any cancer in the body that has started at or spread to your hip bones can cause pain.
Hip Fractures – A fracture can be defined as anything from hairline splintering to a full break. Hip fractures are far more common in older individuals whose bones have become brittle with age.
Hip labral tear – On the outer part of your hip socket, there is a ring of cartilage that is known as the labrum. This cartilage plays a huge role in keeping your hip socket in place. This cartilage can tear and cause quite a bit of pain. This type of injury is most commonly found in athletes or people with a job that requires them to twist and turn their bodies repetitively.
Since inflammation is the most common cause of hip pain for those on the keto diet, the rest of the article will focus on the effects of a ketogenic diet on inflammation and arthritis in the hips. If your hip pain is the result of any of the other causes listed, please consult your doctor so you can establish a treatment plan.
Does Keto Cause Hip Pain?
For some reason, there is a myth that hip pain caused by arthritis is the result of your ketogenic diet. This could not be further from the truth. Oxford Academic published a study in January 2020 that states that simply making changes to your diet can significantly limit the amount of pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Studies performed by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham compared two control groups of adults with advanced osteoarthritis who were between the ages of 65 and 75 years old. One group was given a ketogenic diet, and the other was provided a low-fat diet. The control group that limited carbohydrates in their meals saw a much greater reduction in their pain.
Additionally, the study found that those who consumed a diet rich in healthy fats, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates were able to go back to a better quality of life over time. This was attributed to the diet decreasing the adikopine leptin serum levels, which is known to cause oxidative stress.
Another study on the effects of ketogenic diets on inflammation and chronic pain performed at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, shows that more and more evidence is emerging that shows a ketogenic diet is a tool that should be used to alleviate pain in those who have arthritis.
According to this study, consuming a keto diet provides you with the following biochemical consequences:
- Decreased neural activity
- Activated receptors
- Decreased reactive oxygen species
- Activation of peroxisome proliferator
- Increased adenosine
These are all very scientific terms, but to put it in a way that is easy to understand, the above-mentioned benefits show that a ketogenic diet not only reduces neuropathic and inflammatory pain but it also increases baseline pain thresholds overall.
Foods That Cause Hip Pain
There are some foods that cause inflammation more than others. Here are a few that you should avoid at all costs.
Sugar – This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but it isn’t always as easy as it seems to avoid sugar. It is literally everywhere, even in many foods that may surprise you. You expect to see it in foods such as cookies and candies. You may not expect to find it in things like sauces and dressings. Always make sure to check out nutrition labels so you aren’t caught off guard.
Vegetable Oils – Even if you make keto-friendly foods, preparing them with vegetable oils is bad for inflammation. This is because they contain high amounts of linoleic acid, which converts to molecules that signal an inflammatory response in your body. Stay away from vegetable oil varieties such as regular vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil.
Alcohol – In a study performed by Oxford Academic and published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, alcohol consumption causes higher inflammatory markers in the body.
Keto Foods That Ease Hip Pain
There are several food options that you should regularly consume that will help cut down on inflammation, easing the pain in your hip.
- Healthy Fat – The main source of nourishment on a ketogenic diet should always be healthy fats. Good examples include fish oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, lard, MCT oil, ghee, red palm oil, eggs, avocado, and butter.
- Spices – You might not think of spices as a food, but you use them on a lot of stuff you eat. Spices that help with inflammation incliude turmeric, oregano, cinnamon, and rosemary.
- Meat – Unless you’re vegan, you’re probably going to be eating a lot of meat on keto. The higher the quality the meat is, the more inflammatory properties it’s going to have. In addition to beef, pork and chicken, be sure to try things like organ meats, lamb, and bison.
- Vegetables – Non-starchy vegetable will always have a place on keto. Some that help with inflammation are kale, mushrooms, spinach, chard, broccoli, dandelion greens, asparagus, and cabbage.
- Fatty Fish – The last item on this non-exhaustive list of foods that ease hip pain is fatty fish. Anchovies, sardines, and salmon are going to give you plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which is what gives you the anti-inflammatory properties.
Is keto a secret weapon against cancer? In order to grow and multiply, cancer cells seek out sugar in the blood and carbohydrates to feed from. Since you consume very few carbs and little sugar on keto, you may be able to starve the cancer cells of the energy they need to grow, allowing your cancer treatments to be more effective.
Why do my hands shake on keto? Keto can cause your hands to shake due to electrolyte imbalance. Since keto emphasizes healthy fats in place of carbs, the body’s supply of glucose is reduced and forces us to make adjustments to cope. These changes disrupt several systems resulting in side effects, but they fade in time.
Does keto make pancreatitis worse? Keto can make pancreatitis worse due to the diet’s high-fat content. Even healthy fats can cause a person to develop hypertriglyceridemia, which can trigger or worsen pancreatitis. Patients who have or have had pancreatitis should consult a doctor before going on the keto diet.