Running is a high-impact activity that puts repetitive strain on the hip joint and can lead to injury. Hip pain when running can result from joint wear and tear, inflammatory conditions such as bursitis, and even fractures. There are, however, ways to treat hip pain when running or doing physical activity in general. These include maintaining a moderate level of activity while the injury heals, applying ice packs, etc.
This article explains why hip pain can occur when running and what conditions can cause hip pain. It will also detail hip pain treatment and prevention.
Hip pain while running
Hip pain while running falls into the category of “sports injuries,” but all kinds of physical activity can lead to sports injuries. Musculoskeletal problems are the most common type of sports injury from Safe Source. They affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and other tissues that stabilize the body and allow it to move, such as the hip joint.
The hip is a ball and socket joint, comprising a ball joint at the end of the femur, or thigh bone, which rests in its socket inside the pelvis. There are several possible causes of hip pain when running, such as:
joint wear and tear from everyday life
stress on the joints due to excessive exercise
Possible causes of hip pain
A runner’s hip pain can be due to several different causes.
Tendonitis, or inflammation of a tendon, can lead to hip pain. Tendons are flexible bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to muscles. Although sudden injuries can cause tendonitis, it is more likely to occur due to repeating the same movement, such as running.
Bursitis is another common cause of hip pain according to the trusted source. It occurs when the small fluid-filled sacs that protect the bones become inflamed. Bursitis can be caused by a sudden shock or a fall, but also by repetitive activities, such as running. For the trochanteric bursae, which are located towards the top of the femur, it can result from a weakness of the muscles which cover the lateral side of the pelvis.
Iliotibial band syndrome (IT)
The iliotibial band is a tendon that connects the top of the pelvis to a point just below the knee. If it repeatedly rubs against the bone on the outside of the hip or knee, it can become swollen and irritated, leading to iliotibial band syndrome. Overtraining and an underlying weakness of the hip abductor muscle can increase the risk of this condition. This syndrome usually affects the knee.
Arthritis can also cause joint pain, stiffness and tenderness, especially in the hip. Running strains certain joints, like the hip, and causes wear and tear over time. However, it is also a form of load bearing exercise, which people need to build new bone tissue. So, if a person runs within limits that are safe for their body, it can help maintain hip joint strength and stability. Running can also help people maintain a moderate weight and minimize stress on their joints.
Labral cartilage tear
The labrum lines the outer edge of the hip socket in the pelvis. Its role is to stabilize and cushion the ball located at the top of the femur inside the cavity. The repetitive movements associated with running can lead to tears in this cartilage, which can cause pain and other unpleasant symptoms.
A person with a broken hip may be able to move around despite their injury. However, she may feel pain in the hip area. Older people may also have weaker bones that are more prone to fracture, especially if they fall. Osteoporosis is an age-related disease that causes weakening of the bones and affects women more often.
The type of treatment a person receives for hip pain while running depends on the root cause and the severity of the pain. Some people may need to slow down their training schedule for a few days. However, others may need medication or even surgery, depending on the injury.
A person can also try to:
keep moving without putting too much strain on your hips, which may mean reducing your training load
place an ice pack inside a towel on the affected hip for 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours
wear comfortable, shock-absorbing running shoes with a flexible sole
maintain a moderate weight to avoid putting more strain on the joints
doing gentle stretching exercises to relieve hip muscles and tendons
avoid carrying and lifting heavy objects
avoid sitting on low chairs, as this can put extra pressure on the hips
avoid taking NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, within 48 hours of a hip injury.
While running can make a hip injury painful in the moment, gentle exercise is a great way to keep hip pain from getting worse or worse. Muscles, bones and joints change with age. Exercise can prevent or even reverse some of these changes, and it’s never too late to start. However, it is important to seek advice from a qualified professional before embarking on a program if a person has never exercised.
strengthen bones and slow bone loss
increase muscle mass and strength
reduce the risk of falls in the elderly through balance and coordination training
delay the progression of osteoporosis by slowing the reduction in bone mineral density.
The repetitive motion of running can put a strain on the hip joint. A ball joint is strong and resilient when healthy, but it can become painful when injured. Possible causes of hip pain when running include bursitis, arthritis, fractures and contusions, among others. However, a person can help themselves by seeking advice from a trained professional, staying active and maintaining a moderate weight.