Hip pain is a common complaint among runners, and that’s because the repetitive motion of running puts a lot of stress on the bones, muscles, and tissues in the hip area. That stress often results in injuries that get worse as the intensity and frequency of runs increase. Here are a few of the most common hip injuries in runners and the type of pain that they cause:
Bursitis is an inflammation of the fluid filled sacs that surround the hip joint, called the bursa. When they become inflamed, the surrounding area actually swells over the bone, which can result in soreness, swelling, and stiffness on the outside of the hip area during or after a run. Treatment for this condition includes rest, anti-inflammatory medications, icing the area, stretching, and physical therapy. Sometimes, a cortisone injection directly into the bursa is required to decrease inflammation.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when the tendon that runs from mid-thigh to the knee becomes strained or inflamed. This is usually the result of overuse or of consistently running the same direction on a track or trail, resulting in more stress to one side of the body than the other. Iliotibial band syndrome causes pain in the hip and knee on the affected side of the body.
A stress fracture is another common running injury, caused by the repetitive stress that running puts on the hipbones. This is particularly common in runners who train mostly on asphalt, as that surface has very little “give” and is even harder on the legs and hips than softer surfaces like track or dirt. The pain associated with a stress fracture is often felt in the groin area, and it will likely get worse over the course of a run. A stress fracture may not always show on an X-Ray and may have to be diagnosed with MRI.
Untreated hip pain can lead to further injury as well as a disruption of daily activities as the pain worsens. That’s why it’s important to consult a physician if you’ve noticed that your hips regularly hurt during or after a run. It’s possible that all you’ll need to resolve your hip injury is a little bit of rest, but, as with all injuries, it’s better to treat it as soon as possible to avoid further irritation.