Although many of us take up running to help us feel better, both physically and mentally, injuries sustained from regular running can be painful and frustrating.
One common kind of pain runners are prone to is hip pain. Hip pain from running can have many causes, which means that you need to diagnose the type of injury causing the pain before you can decide how best to treat it.
In this short guide, we’ll be delving into the various causes of running-related hip injury and hip pain before exploring the best ways to relieve the pain and promote recovery.
Causes And Treatments Of Hip Pain From Running
There are many causes of hip pain that can be linked to running.
Some are more minor injuries that can be treated at home with rest and inflammation treatments, while others require more serious medical care. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of running-induced hip pain.
Tendonitis isn’t a condition that exclusively impacts the hips, nor is it something that only occurs as a result of running, but it’s still one of the most common reasons why runners experience pain in their hips.
Hip tendonitis occurs as a result of overuse. Essentially, through repeated high-impact exercise, the tendons in your hips can become overworked, causing pain as well as stiffness and a limited range of motion in the hips.
Thankfully, this is a resolvable condition, and you can usually relieve the pain yourself. Rest up when you need to and apply ice to the sore area a few times a day.
If the pain persists, you may need to take anti-inflammatory medication according to your doctor’s directions, and they may recommend that you attend physiotherapy to get you ready to run again.
Muscle strain is a similar condition to tendonitis in the sense that it occurs because of overused muscles. Specifically, runners can experience strain in the hip flexors, causing similar stiffness and pain to that felt as a result of tendonitis.
Like tendonitis, muscle strain doesn’t always need medical intervention. Ice, rest, and NSAIDs are often the key to managing the pain caused by a strained hip muscle until it recovers.
Keep track of the pain, though. If it doesn’t get better or gets worse, speak to your doctor.
A less well-known cause of hip pain from running is bursitis – specifically, muscle-tendon bursitis.
Bursitis is a condition where fluid-filled sacs called bursae form on muscles, tendons, and bones. This can be very painful and running often makes it worse because of the repetitive movements and pressure on the sacs.
If you suspect you might have bursitis in the bones, muscles, or tendons around your hips, speak to your doctor.
You might be able to reduce the effects of the condition with a simple rest, ice, and medication regimen, but corticosteroid injections might be recommended.
Furthermore, you will also need to do some exercises, which a doctor or physiotherapist can help you with. It’s especially important to see a doctor if your hip pain is severe or accompanied by swelling, redness, a fever, or bruising.
Osteoarthritis is on our list not because it is actually caused by running, but because it can make running much more painful, especially in the hip area.
Osteoarthritis is diagnosed when the protective cartilage inside the joints in the body begins to deteriorate. This means that there is nothing stopping the bones from rubbing against one another, which can be painful and inhibit movement in the joints.
This can occur in many areas of the body, but in runners, it’s especially apparent in the hips due to the high impact of running on the leg joints as well as the repetitive movements.
Also, this condition can’t be fully reversed, but it can be managed by consuming plenty of antioxidants as well as medication and physiotherapy. If osteoarthritis is severely limiting your life, surgery is also an option.
IT Band Syndrome
IT Band Syndrome is where repetitive motion and overuse cause the connective tissue running from the outer hip to the knee to tighten and become inflamed.
Runners with IT Band Syndrome will typically feel pain from the outside of the hip and down the outer thigh bone as well as in the knee joint.
The tightening of the tissue might also cause the joints to move differently, resulting in noises from the joints.
Relieving the pain of IT Band Syndrome involves taking anti-inflammatory medication, doing stretches, and applying ice to the affected area. More severe cases might be treated with corticosteroids.
There is a piece of cartilage in your hip called the hip labrum. It helps to keep your hip in place and cushion the joint. If it tears through overuse, you might experience pain as well as the sensation of your hip catching in the socket.
The pain can be relieved, and the condition treated through a combination of medication and physiotherapy, but sometimes, surgery might be required.
A hip pointer is basically a bruised hip. Falling directly on your hip might cause bad bruising, which will not only cause pain but also swelling.
Thankfully, this condition is not usually severe and can be relieved with rest, NSAIDs, and using an ice pack. If there is no improvement, corticosteroids may be prescribed.
If you have fractured your hip, the pain will be fairly intense. You usually won’t fracture your hip simply from running unless your bones are very brittle, but if you have had a fall during your daily run and are now experiencing severe pain and difficulty moving your hip, you should get an x-ray to see if your hip is fractured.
Surgery will probably be needed to either repair or replace the fractured hip and this will need to be followed by physical therapy to ensure that you get your full range of motion back.
Relieving hip pain from running isn’t always straightforward. This is because some conditions that cause running-related hip pain can only be corrected through surgery, and sometimes, running simply exacerbates the pain rather than causing it.
Most of the time, the first step to reducing hip pain from running is resting and applying ice to the painful area.
If this does not solve the problem, you should see your doctor to investigate the underlying cause.
If your pain is severe or accompanied by worrying symptoms such as bruising, redness, or fever, seek medical care urgently.
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