One of the most common complaints we get in the office is hip pain after running. This then carries over into the next day with stairs, walking and other everyday activities. The hip pain can be all over the place, “sharp occasionally,” or, “constantly dull.” Whatever the case, below are some reasons and potential solutions for that nagging bruised feeling.
Just like the majority of orthopedic issues, volume control is a leading factor in injuries with active individuals. When it comes to running and hip pain, volume increases way before capacity. Meaning, your mileage, steps, etc. increase before your strength and muscular endurance have caught up. A person’s motivation can drive the, “More is better!” thought process, but consistency and progressions really take the cake. Going that extra mile is easy for people because there is less thinking and, in reality, running more does make you burn more calories/push your endurance. But, doing five miles on day one may not be the place to start and could slow down your progress for whatever goal you set! There are plenty of programs, free and paid, that have that progressive and consistent flow needed to help you become a better runner and more active individual no matter where you are starting. A rule of thumb is to only increase your mileage by about 10% with each increase as you get faster and stronger.
No one walks into a gym or selects a workout and says, “I’m going to work my abductors and other hip stabilizers.” That’s okay, you may not even know what they are! Hip abductors are muscles that move your leg to the side and help keep you upright and stable in your runs. Adding in some lateral band walks, hip abductor machine work, or some lateral lunges one to two times per week is a great place to start. The key is, be sure you are getting to the burning feeling on the side of your hips with each exercise. Do not be surprised when it doesn’t take much resistance or reps to get fatigued in the beginning, you’re not alone.
Train Legs to Relieve Hip Pain After Running
You heard me; leg day, in general, is important too. Muscular strength is needed in order to support the movement you are doing. One of the more surprising things we see when working with people who run is they cannot complete twenty single calf raises, but expect nothing to go wrong when running 5280 feet on day one. Running is a compound activity, meaning multiple systems work in-sync with each other, or as a chain. Ensuring that all parts of that chain are strong is important. Having a deficiency in one link can potentially cause hip pain by overloading another link. Adding some resistance to workouts is key in order to improve your capacity as your mileage progresses too. The strength you had in your legs for 3 miles, should not be the same amount of strength to complete 20 miles.
Planned Recovery is Important
As with any workout and training regimen, rest days are important. This gives our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and brain a chance to recover. Rest days allow the tissues to reorganize and restructure in order to meet the next demand you put on them. Some common starting planned rest days include every other day, or the ‘two on, one off” route. This all depends on your experience and how your body responds to the type of activity you are doing.
One of the sneakier factors with running and hip pain is the terrain or surface you run on. Depending on its type, the amount of give or cushion could be too much. Or the uneven aspect of running on gravel, for example, is just different enough to cause some hiccups. It’s definitely okay to switch up the scenery and surface, just be sure to not increase the mileage too much with it. Scaling back a little on a new surface or a route with more hills, is a simple way to just see how your body responds the first time. Beginner’s should start on a softer surface like a track just to get some time with less impact on their bodies, allowing their legs to grow for future runs.
Are You Struggling with Hip Pain After Running
If you try these tips and still experience hip pain after running, you can contact one of our physical therapists at Peak Physiotherapy and Performance for a free phone consultation. There could be other impairments going on that need to be addressed above or below the hip joint or with running form/technique. No person is the same and no rehab program should be either.