Hip and knee replacement surgery was once thought of as something which tended to be something just older people needed. This is no longer the case, with the increasingly active lifestyle that people are choosing sometimes having negative side effects on their joints. There are some pursuits that put more strain on joints than others, and recently it was revealed that those who practice yoga are putting their hips under a significant amount of pressure.
Concern with sports which push the joints into unnatural positions
Leading physiotherapist Benoy Matthews, who is a member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, shared insights recently that he is seeing a trend of yoga teachers in their forties who are in need of hip replacement surgery, due to the unnatural positions that they are forcing their hip joints into, and the regularity in which they are doing this. He believes it is all about getting the balance right.
Activities such as yoga are undoubtedly good for some joint and muscle complaints and can be beneficial to help keep the body fit and supple. But for those who are pushing their bodies too far – such as yoga teachers who practice the sport day in day out – the effect is that it is causing their joints to deteriorate.
As Matthews explains, “we all know about the health benefits of yoga – but, like anything, it can cause injury. We can’t put it on a pedestal.” He is keen to stress that when practising something such as yoga it is important to listen to your body’s limits. If you strive for a position that you want to be able to master, his advice is not to push yourself too far. Listen to your body and only push yourself within reason, or you might find that the damage you are causing to your joints will set you back significantly in the longer term.
Everything in moderation
Orthopaedic surgeons and sporting specialists alike are in agreement that it is all about taking a sensible approach to being active and looking after your joints. With yoga, in particular, benefits are “it improves flexibility, strength and balance and can be beneficial for people with high blood pressure, heart disease or stress.” But for those who are teaching yoga (or practising yoga daily), it is important to understand that this could be causing damage to joints that may ultimately result in the need for hip replacement surgery much younger than many may expect. It is thought that there are around 10,000 yoga teachers in the UK, so not an insignificant number who this could affect.
Whilst yoga teachers are the focus of Matthews’ assessment, this pattern is also seen amongst those who regularly undertake sports such as ballet, gymnastics and athletics such as hurdles. The word of warning here isn’t just for yoga enthusiasts, but for anyone who is undertaking these kinds of leisure activities.