Running is as natural as walking, and it's one of the best exercises people of all ages can do. No special equipment or training is needed. Before one begins a running regimen or exercise program that involves running, one needs to consider mobility, strength, the mechanics of running, and stability techniques.
It's important to consider these aspects even though running is as natural as walking because various health issues can develop by running. One of those health issues is hip pain. Hip pain is a common occurrence among runners.
Before you begin to run, are there any previous hip issues? Did you previously fall and injure your hip? Were you in an accident that injured your hip or caused pain in the hip area?
You may want to strengthen the hip area before running or take it slowly. Perhaps, do brisk walks instead of runs. You want to keep from aggravating or re-injuring your hip. Hip pain can also occur because of a lack of strengthening or stretching before running or improper movements.
Below is a list of the most common causes of hip pain after running and how to treat or prevent them.
Muscle Strain and Tendonitis
Any repetitive movement or overuse of our muscles and tendons can cause strain. Many running injuries, including hip pain, come from overuse which causes muscle strain. Although it's a great form of exercise, easy, and natural for one to do, running puts a lot of stress on the body.
Before running, stretch your muscles, especially the thigh, hip, and leg muscles. It's also a good idea to incorporate different training procedures to reduce repetitiveness and overuse of the hip muscle to prevent injuries.
To strengthen hip muscles and reduce pain, try cycling, swimming, and weight-lifting.
If you feel stiffness, aches, or pain in your hip or hip area when you run or move your hip, treat the hip area with the icy-hot method. Place ice on the hip for a few minutes and then place heat on it to loosen the muscle and tendons. You can also take anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Muscle strains usually allow you to continue to run but at a slower pace. However, you may want to stop running for a couple of days to allow your hip to recuperate and rest.
But to keep the hip muscle loose and used, continue to stretch your hip and do brisk walks. You can also do some of these hip exercises to help stretch your muscles. Be sure you warm up your body by stretching those muscles.
If the pain intensifies or continues for an extended period (longer than a week or so), visit your doctor to check for any other injuries or treatment they can prescribe.
Muscle Tendon Bursitis
Hip pain will happen when the bursae, fluid-filled sacs located in the bones, tendons, and muscles of the hip, become inflamed and painful due to repetitive movements like running.
The pressure on the bursae leads to what's known as Bursitis, which is a severe case of muscle strain that results in swelling, redness, tenderness of the hip area, and irritation.
The difference between a muscle strain and Bursitis of the hip is the level or intensity of pain and the inability to move your hip without pain. Muscle strain is accompanied with aches and slight pain. Bursitis of the hip is more painful.
Treat hip bursitis by not running or exercising for a few days or until the hip begins to feel better. Ice the area first to reduce swelling, then apply heat to help reduce the pain. Take NSAIDs to reduce inflammation and pain.
If the pain is very intense, visit your doctor for more medical treatment and advice. Unlike a muscle strain where you can still run or move the hip, hip bursitis may be too painful to run. To help heal the area, you can try walking at slower paces and doing some mild hip exercises. Be sure you warm up your body before stretching.
Weakness and Lack of Motion Range
Running is a very forceful exercise. It puts a great deal of force on the hips. With this much force, the legs, hips, and core section must be strong enough to alleviate some of the force from the hips.
Hip injuries can occur when the rest of the body is not strong enough. Or, if the hips are weak due to previous injuries, lack of prior consistent movement in the hips, excess body weight, and weakness or lack of motion range due to other physical issues - some people’s muscles and joints are stiffer than others.
To prevent injuries due to weak hip muscles and a lack of motion range, stretch before you run. You may want to incorporate stretching, like yoga or pilates, for a couple of days in your exercise regimen. Also, muscle strengthening, using weights to strengthen your hips and legs. Strengthening and stretching hip muscles will help prevent and reduce injuries and pain to the hip.
Dysfunctional tissue means there has been a prior injury or physical disability to the hip that can cause hip pain after running. Dysfunctional tissue can be the result of stress fractures and tears.
If you're unsure you have dysfunctional tissue, you may find out after a few runs because it will cause intense hip pain. You can also seek medical attention from your doctor. They will perform X-rays on your hip to find if there are any tears or stress fractures.
If you find out you have dysfunctional hip tissue, it's best to consult your doctor before you engage in a running exercise regimen, which can cause serious injury. Your doctor may recommend a lighter form of exercise that doesn't put a lot of pressure on your hip.
Brisk walking is a good exercise and requires less pressure and force on the hips. You can also strengthen the injured hip with strengthening exercises.
IT Band Syndrome
Known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), this hip injury can affect the hip and the knee. It can be very painful. The IT band is the tissue that runs from the hip to the knee and the shinbone.
After repetitive movements or overuse can cause irritation and tightness in the hip, knee, shinbone, and thigh areas. Some people will hear or feel a click or pop in their hip or knee when they move, which can be shocking and cause concern.
Although it's no reason to cause great alarm, if you've never experienced this, you may want to consult your doctor as a precaution. Home treatment of ITBS is the same as hip muscle strain and bursitis. Take NSAIDs as directed and treat the area with ice and heat a few times a day for several days or until the pain resides.
This hip pain is a common occurrence among many runners. A hip pointer is a bruise on the hip that can happen from a fall or other injury. It can also occur from repetitive movement or excess force on the hip.
The hip area will experience swelling, bruising, and soreness. Treat at home daily with ice and hot treatment to reduce swelling until the bruise heals, which can be several days. Rest from running until the bruise heals. Avoid running while experiencing a hip pointer. It only aggravates the injury.
If pain persists or bruising worsens, check it out with your doctor for more treatment options
Labral Cartilage Tears
Hip pain from this injury is similar to dysfunctional tissue injuries. The hip labrum is the cartilage located on the outside area of the hip joint socket. This cartilage cushions and stabilizes the hip and keeps the thigh bone secured in the hip socket.
Tears in the hip labrum occur when we repeatedly use that joint or muscle, which can happen when we run repetitively. Similarly to the ITBS injury, you may experience locking or hear clicking in the area when you move.
A labral tear will keep you from running because of the pain and stiffness in the hip area. It may be difficult to diagnose or discover if you have this injury. If you have pain, check it out with your doctor. They will perform an X-ray or MRI.
If the doctor finds a tear, they may prescribe various treatments such as pain injections, NSAIDs, or physical therapy. In some cases, arthroscopic surgery is required, which is usually the case if the tear is bad.
Runners who have run for years are more likely to develop this form of hip pain or injury. Osteoarthritis is a common injury among those who are older. After years of repetitive movement to the hips, the cartilage in the hip joint can wear down, become brittle, or tear.
Loss of cartilage means there is less cushion of the hip bone, which causes pain, swelling, and bruising.
The best treatment against forms of arthritis is first prevention. Be sure to stretch your muscles before you run. A good stretch or strengthening regiment is a great idea. A proper diet and weight help strengthen bones and muscles.
Treatment of osteoarthritis should be immediately. Taking aspirins or NSAIDs can help. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to treat it. Physical therapy may also be recommended.
If you’re experiencing ongoing hip pain after running, the best treatment is to rest from running. Avoid aggravating the hip or the injury. Let your body rest and recuperate. Engage in light movements to keep the hip from becoming stiff.
Drink water to help lubricate your hip muscles and joints. Eat a healthy diet with foods high in calcium and vitamin D to help strengthen bones and muscles. If the pain persists, visit your doctor.
Once your hip pain resides, start back with moderate running exercises. Avoid rushing it. You don’t want to re injury or experience more hip pain.
Prevention is important. Don't overdo it when you run. Run based on your ability. Pay attention to your body's signals. Always stretch before and after workouts. Take breaks from your exercise routine. Run a couple of days and take a day off. Your hips will perform much better.