Are you experiencing some pain in your hip area while running and even afterwards? If so, then you are not alone. You might not believe it, but hip pain is one of the most widely-seen problems in runners. Considering that the hip goes through a lot of pressure on runs, you may not feel the consequential effects until afterwards.
That said, why do your hips hurt after running? We are here to answer that; in this article, we will respond to some of the most frequently-asked questions we get about hip problems and pain, as well as suggest ways you can heal and otherwise reduce the discomfort. Soon enough, you can get back to doing what you love most, namely, running. Let us begin!
1. What does the pain feel like?
Depending on the problem, pain in the hip can vary from as much as a mild, dull ache to a tight, burning sensation. You might feel it directly either inside or outside of the hip joint, but surprisingly, you might also experience the pain in the thighs, groin, and even the buttocks.
Considering that the hip is attached to these regions of the body, it can make the whole experience very uncomfortable.
2. What causes my hips to hurt?
From technical matters to simple overuse of the muscle area, there are a variety of reasons as to why your hips are feeling the burn. Here is a list of just a few of the common problems:
- Tendinitis. As the name suggests, this symptom involves the tendons that are located near the joints, in this case that of the hips. When the hips are overused in sports (whether running or other types of activities), they become inflamed.
As a result, it leads to the tendons expanding and putting pressure on the hip joints, thereby causing discomfort when moving around.
- Strained muscles. While this symptom may or may not necessarily happen due to overuse, nevertheless it also causes extreme discomfort if not treated properly.
Muscle strains can occur when you pull your muscles while performing an activity; perhaps you had overextended a part of your body, which causes tension and even the tearing of the muscles. Areas that are commonly affected include the groin and hamstrings, and so the hip must work to compensate for the minor injury, which subsequently leads to pressure on the hip itself.
- Tissue inflammation. Just like with tendinitis, the soft tissues of the body can also be affected as well, due to overuse and other similar activities.
One of the most common ones for the hip is trochanteric bursitis, in which the hip joint’s soft tissue (called the bursa) is inflamed. Again, this does not bode well for comfort, let alone for running without any pain.
- Old injuries. This point is the possible accumulation of all of the other points addressed: if you have a history of tendinitis, muscle strain, and tissue inflammation around the area, then you are susceptible to getting them again, if not careful about how you run and take care of your body.
3. How can I treat and/or prevent it?
Although it can be tricky to treat the hip, not everything is lost when it comes to treating and preventing it from happening again in the future. Below, you will find some ways that you can go about relieving hip pain and getting better quickly:
- A proper warm up. Many strained muscles happen by not warming up well, if at all. Take a few minutes to get your muscles loosened up with a small jog around the block before launching into your full run.
- Stretch before and after a run. To reduce the possibility of soreness and improper form in subsequent runs (which can lead to hip strain and injury), stretch out your muscles before and after you run. Doing so will improve circulation and a sense of relaxation and in the end, your body will thank you for that.
- Good, stable shoes. If you have been using the same shoes to run for over a year, or are wearing high-arched shoes over flat feet, then they can affect how you run and overall, how your hip works to compensate for that. Hence, choosing the right fit for shoes is imperative- for your running experience and your body’s health.
- Strengthening and flexibility exercises. Especially if you have naturally weak hips, it might benefit you from adding some exercises besides running to fortify the area, not to forget keeping them loose and flexible. Doing workouts that work on the hip adductors and abductors, as well as stretching them out, will do you wonders afterwards.
- Icing the affected area. Perhaps your hips are feeling particularly sore or worn out after a long, grueling workout. Sometimes, all you need is some temporary relief to help take off the edge; that said, it helps to ice your hips for no more than 20 minutes at a time, to help numb it and have the soreness go away in order for you to get back to running sooner.
- Take some time off. It is okay to take a few days, even a few weeks, off from running, especially if you are in a good amount of pain from your hips. While you might get a bit out of shape during the rest period, it is better that you completely recover instead of continuing to push through the pain and possibly damaging yourself in the long term.
Take away message
Granted, hips problems are both a painful and frustrating experience, as it can not only affect your running performance, but also how you go about your day-to-day activities. However, by taking these measures to get better, you will be able to recover faster than you might think:
- Diagnose your pain: ask yourself where is the pain exactly located (on the hip, groin, buttocks?).
- Take some time off while also stretching, strengthening, and icing the affected area.
- To prevent it from happening again, make sure that you warm up and cool down properly, as well as check to see if your shoes are supporting you while running.
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