Testimonial: How Diet Remedied My Hip Osteoarthritis

Testimonial written by: Vicki Carpenter


In 2007, I was an active tennis player with no digestive problems or other ailments and my weight was optimal. At that time I was 52. My symptoms of hip osteoarthritis had actually begun approximately a year earlier with occasional ‘collapsing’ while walking or standing up. I didn’t know at that time what was causing it. There was no pain initially, but gradually I began having aching and pain even sleeping. I remember the first extremely painful incident which occurred months later. Playing tennis and running for a ball, as I stepped onto my left hip to hit the ball, I collapsed in extreme pain. I left the court limping and crying.

An end to my tennis ‘career’ called for a trip to the orthopedic doctor. X-rays revealed arthritis and he prescribed physical therapy to strengthen muscles and Advil for pain as needed. When months later I was still having pain, he resorted to an MRI. The MRI revealed ‘severe osteoarthritis of the left hip with complete cartilage loss and bone spurs’. The doctor informed me there was no cure, only a hip joint replacement to look forward to in my future. I wanted to put off a joint replacement as long as possible so I lived with the pain for the time being.

At the same time, I had a friend with Crohn’s disease. I have always been interested in diet and health and began researching Crohn’s disease. My research led me to information about gluten only because in the discussion of Crohn’s, Celiac disease often was mentioned. I decided to try a gluten free diet to learn about it, thinking it would help convince my friend to try it. About three months after being gluten (but not grain free), I noticed my hip had noticeably improved. That led to more research, more books about gluten and my first book on the dangers of grains, Dangerous Grains.

I’d never heard of a Paleo Diet but my research led to experimentation and my next food eliminated was all grains. My hip improved more and I began keeping a daily food journal. Here is a sequence of the foods I eliminated and with each step my hip continued to improve:

– Gluten
– Grains (especially corn and oats – those caused pain in my hip, shin, ankle within 3 hours)
– Most starches (beans, potatoes, rice)
– Nightshades

By the time I’d eliminated all of those, I saw a news segment on TV about the Paleo diet. Wow! That sounded like what I’d been doing. Then I read Robb Wolf’s ‘The Paleo Solution’ which reinforced and educated me on the validity of my diet. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable, Robb Wolf is highly entertaining reading!

So, where am I now? I am pain free. I don’t take any medications or over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. The only supplements I take are magnesium and silica for bone density and cod liver oil (just in the last 9 months). I weight train twice a week, attend yoga classes, golf and can climb stairs. The changes in my diet in the last year include removing dairy and adding gelatin (from bone broths and gelatin snacks). I am still on a journey to continue my improvement and expect more perfection of my hip health even as I age. Admittedly, I don’t run or participate in high impact sports like tennis, but I have avoided a hip replacement successfully.

Its 2014, so 7 years later I have accomplished the impossible!



Categories: Autoimmunity (RA, Lupus, MS), Featured Testimonial, Paleo Testimonials


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  1. says

    Great progress, congratulations!
    Interesting that you also decided to remove most starches. A no-starch diet is fairly well known in the Spondyloarthropathy community to greatly help autoimmune issues like ankylosing spondylitis (it has me medication free after 3 years of no starch).

  2. Diane says

    I have a similar story as Kay, although with my knees, not hips. I was facing a knee replacement 5 years ago (I’m 56), and by following Mark Sisson’s primal diet (similar to paleo although not as strict, I do still eat some dairy products), I was able to avoid it and most of the time my knees are pain free now. I’m convinced eliminating grains was the key!

  3. says

    That is too amazing. Hips are just about the hardest type of arthritis to make a dent in according to my own personal research. That is such a thorough diet and full of empirical rationale. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. I have rough hip OA since I turned 40 from playing soccer and perhaps something dietary. Hopefully this elimination+paleo diet can help me as well.

  4. lisa says

    I have bone on bone hip arthritis. Wondering if this would help me. Could Vicki get in touch with me>
    What exactly did you do?
    thanks so much

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