The sensation of hip pain when running is neither uncommon nor trivial. This discomfort, often described as a sharp sting or persistent ache, can sideline your fitness routine and dampen your spirits. Addressing the root cause and taking preventive measures can however go a long way in ensuring you keep moving pain-free.
Why Can Running Cause Hip Pain?
Running is a high-impact activity. With each step, a runner’s foot strike sends forces through the foot, spiralling up the leg and directly into the hip joint. These repetitive impacts can sometimes lead to wear and tear and cause painful hips when running. Numerous factors such as the type of surface you run on, your running shoes, and even the biomechanics of your stride, can contribute to the degree of stress placed on your hips.
At KCM Clinic, we’ve noted that many cases of running pain in the hip are often due to a combination of these factors. Running technique, for instance, plays a pivotal role. Improper foot alignment, sudden increase in running intensity, or distance without sufficient preparation can exacerbate hip issues.
Common Causes of Hip Pain After Running
Some more causes of hip joint pain after running include:
Muscle Strain and Tendonitis
Overuse of the hip muscles can lead to muscle strain and tendonitis, causing aches, stiffness, and hip pain when running.
IT Band Syndrome (ITBS)
This ailment stems from the overuse and tightness of the iliotibial (IT) band – connective tissue running from the hip to the knee and shinbone. It presents with pain in the hip, thigh, and knee, and sometimes even a clicking sound.
Muscle Tendon Bursitis
The hip joint contains fluid-filled sacs called bursae, providing cushioning. Repetitive movements like running can inflame these sacs, leading to bursitis marked by swelling and irritation.
Caused by impacts like falls, a hip pointer is essentially a bruise on the hip, causing the area to become swollen, bruised, and sore.
Labral Cartilage Tears
This refers to tears in the hip labrum, the cartilage cushioning the hip joint. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and sometimes clicking sounds during movement. Diagnosis of this hip problem can be tricky, requiring X-rays or MRIs.
A broken hip, often stemming from accidents or falls, is a grave injury. It is characterised by severe pain, swelling, and limited mobility. Most hip fractures require surgical intervention, followed by extensive physical therapy.
Particularly common among older runners, hip osteoarthritis arises from the wearing down of hip joint cartilage. This results in pain due to the increased friction between hip bones. Early prevention and treatment, including an anti-inflammatory diet, medications, and possibly surgery, are crucial. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help in managing osteoarthritis.
At KCM Clinic, our emphasis remains on early detection and intervention. Recognising the symptoms and causes promptly can be instrumental in preventing further complications and facilitating a smoother recovery.
How Are Hip Injuries From Running Treated?
Ice and Rest
Ice application every one to two hours for 15–20 minutes can reduce inflammation and alleviate hip joint pain after running. Pausing your running routine for a short while, combined with gentle range-of-motion exercises, can help manage mild muscle strains and tendonitis.
Often the go-to solution for running hip joint pain, physical therapy not only targets the pain but also evaluates one’s running technique to identify and correct possible weaknesses.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to alleviate inflammation and pain. However, in more intense cases, prescription medicines like oral steroids might be required.
When oral medications don’t hit the mark, injections could be considered. Corticosteroids, potent anti-inflammatory agents, are commonly injected for conditions like bursitis, tendonitis, and osteoarthritis. For hip osteoarthritis, hyaluronic acid injections are usually used to lubricate the joint and diminish stiffness.
For severe hip injuries, surgical intervention may be necessary. Profound muscle or tendon ruptures demand repairs to regain full functionality. Persistent labral tears might necessitate surgeries to refine frayed regions affecting the joint. In the case of advanced osteoarthritis, surgical procedures ranging from debridement to total hip replacement may be recommended.
How Can I Prevent Hip Injuries?
Prevention is always better than cure. By adhering to a few critical practices, you can significantly reduce the risk of hip injuries:
Suddenly ramping up your running mileage or intensity can strain your hips. It is essential to increase your running distance or speed progressively, allowing your body ample time to adapt.
Investing in the right running shoes can alleviate undue stress on the hip joint. Shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can distribute the impact force, minimising running pain in the hip.
Building strength, especially in your core and hip muscles, can provide better support to your hip joint. This can substantially reduce the chances of a painful hip when running.
Avoid Running on Hard Surfaces
Hard surfaces like concrete can intensify the impact on the hip joints. Opting for softer terrains such as grass or a track can be gentler on your hips.
How Do I Relieve Hip Pain From Running?
Experiencing hip joint pain after running can be disheartening, but there are several effective remedies to alleviate discomfort:
Rest and Recovery
As with many sports-related injuries, halting the activity temporarily can offer the tissues much-needed respite to heal. If you’ve been experiencing running pain in the hip, consider giving yourself a break.
Speed up the healing process by incorporating a nutrient-rich diet. Opt for foods high in vitamin D and calcium, such as salmon, and sardines, and fortified items like cereal or milk.
Use a cold compress on the affected area. The application of cold packs can substantially diminish inflammation and soothe the pain.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs can help alleviate the pain and swelling. However, it is recommended to use these under a healthcare professional’s advice.
At KCM Clinic, our team of skilled professionals can offer individualised care plans tailored to your needs, ensuring a speedy return to your running regimen.
How to Prevent Hip Pain When Running
While we’ve touched on injury prevention, let’s delve a bit deeper into some strategies explicitly aimed at warding off hip pain during running:
A proper running technique can significantly reduce undue stress on your hips. It’s worth investing time with a running coach or physiotherapist to refine your form.
Warm-Up and Cool Down
These routines prepare your muscles and joints for the activity ahead and aid in recovery while also reducing the risk of injuries.
Regular consultations with healthcare professionals can help catch potential issues early on, preventing them from escalating into more significant problems.
Proper hydration ensures that the muscles and joints are working optimally. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps and increased strain on the joints.
At KCM Clinic, we believe in proactive care. Regular screenings coupled with a focus on holistic well-being can significantly reduce the chances of encountering hip pain during your runs.
Is it OK to run with hip pain?
Running with hip pain can exacerbate the injury and delay recovery. If you experience hip pain when running, it is recommended to take a break, assess the severity and consult healthcare professionals for guidance.
How do I fix hip pain?
Fixing hip pain often involves a combination of rest, proper footwear, and tailored exercises. For persistent running pain in the hip, consult a specialist to receive specific treatments and techniques to alleviate discomfort.
How can I relieve hip pain naturally?
To relieve hip joint pain after running, take rest, apply cold compresses to reduce inflammation, and perform gentle stretching exercises. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet can also alleviate some causes of running hip joint pain.
How long can hip pain take to heal?
The healing time for hip joint pain after running varies based on the injury’s severity. Mild strains might require a week or two of rest, while more severe conditions could take weeks to months. Regular check-ups can ensure optimal recovery.