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Running Injuries: How to Treat and Prevent Hip Pain after Running

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Do you feel the burning sensation of pain while you are on the running track? Well, you might ignore that altogether and concentrate on gaining mileage. But that pain does not subdue, rather it almost numbs your whole lower back down to your feet. Running and hip pain are two relative terms – one follows the other. You might wonder why your pain is still persisting even after so many days. The reason is you have not treated it carefully. This chronic problem can be caused by various conditions, namely strength imbalance, injuries, hip alignment and so on. If not treated properly, hip pain after running can accompany you the whole life and the condition will deteriorate rapidly. So now we will discuss how this hip pain occurs from running or walking, the cause behind this nuance and how to treat it with simple methods.

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Primary Causes of Hip Pain

Before we start, let us take a quick look at the possible causes that trigger the hip pain. Remember the fact that there may be several primary causes behind your pain. 

  • Asymmetries or commonly known as strength imbalance is when a runner favors one leg side over the other. This practice gradually changes the alignment of your hip. Due to old injuries, you might be comfortable with one side, but this plays a massive role in pulling your hip bone out of its actual alignment.
  • Old injuries can still haunt you in causing a chronic hip pain. The injuries that were not treated properly or were still not recovered are behind this pain. 
  • Cambered roads can make your left leg give more pressure as it reaches further down than the right leg.
  • Choosing the wrong shoes will hinder your running or walking
  • The improper running technique will trigger the dislocation of your hip.
  • Sitting improperly is also a contributing factor to hip issues. While leaning, driving or even sitting, we tend to put pressure on one leg over the other.
  • The tendency to carry purse, bag or mobiles on one side becomes a habit to us. The excuse of being busy never works when you are having hip problems.
  • Obesity often puts pressure on your pelvic muscles resulting hip pain.
  • The pregnant ladies encounter the common symptoms of hip-pain due to their bulging uterus, their sleeping postures and of course, there are hormonal balances.

Causes of Pain On Outside of Hip

When you are experiencing pain in the front of your hip, there are a number of causes behind this. Such as-

  • Stress Fracture

This syndrome happens if you run mostly on concrete or pitched road rigorously or you are having uncomfortable footwear. The symptoms are you will feel a clicking pain in your groin area while running. This is also known as the Groin Pulls and Strains. Strained or pulled muscle beyond their limits can cause this. Stop training before consulting a sports medicine specialist and going through an imaging test.

The treatment takes up to six to eight weeks. You should take complete rest. After that, you can do some low-resistance workouts biking, swimming or walk. When you are healed, start from training with considerate schedules. Don’t over-exert, or you will have hip pain while running or walking. 

  • Cartilage Tears

After a recent fall or injury, if you are having a continuous pain or a snapping sensation, you might have a Cartilage tear. This occurs where the ball and socket joint is inserted. This is also called Labral Tear. You should immediately visit a doctor. Stop running.The treatment depends on how bad your tear is. In case of minimal injury, you will be recovered from rest and physical exercise. But in case of severe injury, you might even require an Arthroscopic surgery. 

  • Hip Flexor Pain

This is a very painful injury where you will feel like being stabbed near your leg crease. The pain is worse when you try to pull your knee to your chest while lying. This occurs by a tight hip flexor or slipping backward while running. Stretch the hip flexors by lunging with your leg fully extended from a bed or table. You can perform leg lifts and leg weights to reduce the hip pain from running.  

  • Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI)

This occurs when your hip joint does not fit into the socket. The grinding tears the cartilage. It is really a painful injury near your groin area. It keeps on worsening after every run. This is a serious injury and takes time to heal. You have to go through the physical exercise with the consultation of a doctor.

Femoral Acetabular Impringement
Hip problems (source)

Causes for Pain On The Side of the Hip

Apart from these common hip pain causes the injuries in your hip, there are some other types of Hip pain after running that we will briefly discuss below. 

  • Runner’s knee or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome –

It is an irritation where the patella rests on your thighbone. It can be treated by keeping your mileage below the pain threshold, according to your endurance level. 

  • IT Band Syndrome

Pain from rubbing the connective tissue with thighbone. It can be treated by applying ice-pack on the knee, stretching the IT Band from the hip, Foam Rolling the IT Band and of course, complete rest. 

  • Piriformis and Hamstring Strains Syndrome

Pain and numbness in the hip, sciatic nerve and the back of the leg to the feet from the spasms of the Piriformis Muscle.  It can be cured by avoiding the postures that trigger the pain, exercises stretches, applying ice packs and rest

  • Hip Pointer Injury

Injury to the iliac crest of pelvis and bleeding in the abdominal muscles. It can be treated with ice, anti-inflammatory, and medication; with compression and rest.  

  • Osteoarthritis

This is the chronic hip pain after running, caused by the degeneration of the hip-joint. The protective Cartilage tissue wearies away exposing the bone. It can be treated with strengthening treatments and Hip stretching exercises. It not recovered, then replacement surgery is the only option.

Treatments 

Before you consult a doctor, you can only apply the at-home treatment-policies. Never even ignore any tinge of hip- pain while walking. If you ignore now, in no time the tinge of pain will become excruciating for you. So here are a few brief instructions to follow at home, before you visit the doctor. 

  • Take rest, don’t push yourself. Perform simple hip-stretching exercise for running. Analyze your training session and check for problems, if occur.
  • Reassess your training schedule to correct imbalances. Run on flat surfaces and ensure right shoes for running.
  • Apply ice-packs on the painful area and the surrounding area. Massage painful area with foam rollers.
  • Try swimming, cycling, jogging after your off period.
  • Keep right posture while sitting, standing, leaning and running. Don’t carry heavy loads on the same side always.
 

Hip Stretching and Strengthening Exercises

Here are a few exercises to help you in recovering from the hip pain after running. You can try these at home. These will help you ease up your tight muscles, keeping your hip aligned and reducing the hip-pain from running.

Easy Warm-Up Exercise

This particular hip strengthening exercises for runners will prove fruitful as a warm-up routine before you start running.

  • Lie on your back with foot flat against wall
  • Now press the foot of your “shorter leg” against the wall, keeping it flat. Do this forcibly and quickly,
  • Keep your foot against the wall. Keep your hand on your hip. Push down on your hip on the same side. Continue this for 10 seconds.
  • Release and relax.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Repeat this exercise regularly and slowly you will notice you pain easing away. 

hip strengthening exercise
Strengthen your hips

Resistance Band around Ankle

The next one is with resistance bands looped around your ankle with free ends tied to an immovable object. Now follow –

  • Stand straight with one banded foot and then place the other foot behind the banded foot.
  • Keep your knee straight and move the banded foot out. Keep still for 2 seconds and then relax.
  • Repeat with the other leg. 
  • Place your foot ahead the banded foot. Move the banded one backward at a 45-degree angle.
  • Control your motion with 2 seconds each for moving out the leg and bringing back.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.
resistance band exercises
Redefine hip strength

There are also different types of hip-stretching exercise routine, such as the Five-stretch Routine – Quadriceps Stretch, Hip Flexor Stretch, Plank, Side Plank and Bridge; Mobility exercises including Clamshell, Side Step, TRX Lunge and Single-Leg Deadlift and finally the Hip Flexor Tightness exercises- Pirate stretch, Foam-Rolling, Fire-Hydrants, Bridging, Lateral Band Walks and monster Walk.

Different Types Of Hip Pain after Running 

There are various reasons and conditions due to which hip pain occurs. While some injuries affect the frontal part of the hip, some may affect the inside of hip. There are different symptoms of different types of pain and varied treatments as well as exercises. Here follows-

  • Bursitis

If you are having hip pain from running and the pain is on the outside of your hips, then this can be due to Bursitis. Its symptoms are tight muscles, a dull pain, and a sensation of inflammation or throbbing of the hip bursa etc after or during your walk/run. It is caused due to over-exerting your body, a tight hamstring or the ligament running along the outside of your thigh, or an old injury.

There are two types of Bursitis. 

  • If you are having hip pain when walking, and the pain is more of an inflammation or burning sensation, then you are having Troncharetic Bursitis.
  • Iliopsoas Bursitis is when the sensation is like throbbing or snapping.

Just relax your muscles, reduce your mileage and stretch your muscles after a run. If the pain persists, then apply ice-pack and take anti-inflammatory medicines. It recovers within a week or so.

bursitis in hip
Pain outside of your hip (source)
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome

If you are experiencing outer hip pain from running when mostly you run along roads or track, you can have Iliotibial Band syndrome. It causes an irritation at the ligament that runs through the outside of your thigh from the hip to the shin. Running same courses, covering huge mileage in a small time, wearing damaged shoes or having stiff hamstrings can cause this. All you have to do is change your course, have alternate directions of the track, thoroughly stretch your hamstrings. And you will recover in a week or so.  

IT band syndrome
Pain in ligaments from thigh to hip
  • Hamstring Strains Syndrome

If you are having hip pain after running that is slowly radiating down your leg and up to your lower back, then you might have

The symptoms are

  • dull pain in the hip,
  • numbness of feet,
  • pain after sitting long,
  • pain while climbing stairs,
  • headaches,
  • muscle cramps,
  • pain during bowel movements,
  • pain during intercourse 

This is also known as the Piriformis Syndrome. Due to this, the hamstring becomes vulnerable to strains. Hip stretches for running is effective in reducing this pain. Stretch your muscles as much as possible. But don’t over exert.  

hamstring strain
Painful hamstring strain

Summing Up

The simplest thing to do when you have hip pain after running is to stop. Ignoring the pain and moving forward won't help. The pain is stronger than you are, so never underestimate it.

Be calm, do the hip stretching exercise. If the pain persists, then consult a doctor. Take rest and continue the exercises. You will get well soon.

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