You’re anxious to break away from your day and get out for a run, but one or both of your hips have been bothering you, making your exercise regimen far from invigorating. When it comes to running-related hip pain, there are many culprits, including your running mechanics.
As part of our sports medicine services, the team here at Genesis Orthopaedic and Spine want to take a closer look at how poor running style can lead to hip pain and what you can do to offset the discomfort.
First, a word about overuse
While we want to focus on running mechanics, we consider the frequency and duration of your running to be part of this. The plain truth is that the majority of running-related hip pain stems from overuse — you’re simply overdoing it and not allowing time for your body to rest and heal properly.
When you overdo it, you can develop muscle strain in your hips or tendonitis in the large joints, which can lead to nagging pain, especially during and after your run. Another problem is IT band syndrome, which occurs when you overstress your iliotibial band — a band of tissue that runs from the outside of your hip down to your knee and calf.
Another similar problem is bursitis, which is inflammation in the small bursa sacs in your hips.
All of these issues stem from overstressing the connective and supportive tissues in your hip joints and each can benefit from a little time off from running to heal, as well as regenerative treatments and physical therapy here at our practice.
Running mechanics and hip pain
As with most athletic pursuits, there’s a correct way of engaging your body so that you can avoid overstressing your joints and suffering an injury.
For example, if you tend to take “pounding the pavement” literally, the concussive forces that you’re sending up into your hips can quickly lead to pain. We suggest that you pay close attention to how hard your foot falls and make every effort to lighten the impact.
To do this, concentrate on using you mid- and forefoot more when you run rather than relying on heel striking.
While paying close attention to how your feet land is extremely important, so is the position of your upper body. When you run, you want to pay close attention to posture and:
- Keep your upper body straight or slightly forward if you’re sprinting
- Lift your chest
- Relax your shoulders
- Swing your arms straight forward and back to keep your upper body straight
Engaging your core and keeping your upper body well-positioned helps relieve any stress from above that you may place on your hips. In fact, for this reason, and more, many runners concentrate on core exercises when they’re not running to help balance their bodies and provide optimal support when they run.
We also want to stress the importance of stretching your hips before you run. To get you started, here’s a video of some must-do hip stretches for runners.
While these tips can be very helpful, if you really want to figure out whether your running mechanics may be to blame for your hip pain, come see one of our experienced physiatrists or physical therapists. With their guidance, you can improve your performance and enjoy pain-free running.
To get started, contact one of our offices in West Orange or Westfield, New Jersey, to set up an appointment.