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hip pain from running

anatomy of the hip

Many of us have experienced hip pain from running.

Even those who may not qualify themselves as runners may have experienced hip pain.

It can strike a population engaging in overuse (whether from running or other activity), as well as those who may be considered sedentary.

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It can strike the young and the old (though we're finding time to recovery to be a bit different here!).

Oddly enough, it seems to strike at the absolute worst times; like just before a race!

Once it has arrived, it feels like it is there to stay; for too long, like an uninvited house guest!

It seems like it is out to get everyone!

The Million Dollar Questions

questions

For those who have had the misfortune of being sidelined by it, you've probably wondered:

  • Why me? (Haha!)

  • What is causing this pain?

  • What can I do to get rid of it when it does strike?

  • What can I do to help ensure that it doesn't come back?

  • Can't I just run it off!?

What Does Your Doctor Say About Your Hip Pain From Running?

smiling doctor

Our first recommendation is always to make sure that you've been cleared by your doctor to start an exercise program or to return to one.

Whether you're experiencing pain or not, ensuring that you've had at least an annual examination is crucial to your overall, long-term health.

Does that mean that you're going to hear exactly what you want from your doctor as a result of each visit?

Not entirely, however...

The information you receive is important.

It will be the foundation upon which you will build your framework of success.

Once You're Cleared for Takeoff

go button
green light

Hopefully, you and your doctor have determined that exercise is good thing for your unique situation.

And, once you have the green light to begin, there are specific items that may be of use in helping to prevent further incidence of hip pain.

Here are the two main areas in which to place your attention!

  1. Flexibility and Mobility

  2. Strength and Resistance Training

Flexibility and Mobility Training

When it comes to flexibility and mobility training to prevent hip pain from running, it is important to understand that there is no "one size fits all" option.

Nor should there be. Your body stands and moves differently than others, so there is no reason that a program of any sort that worked for one person will yield the exact same result for you. Or, vice versa.

That isn't to say, though, that we all can't enjoy and benefit from some sort of group class or group programming. Just know that results won't be identical.

Find a Practitioner Who Specializes in FMS (Functional Movement Screen)

FMS functional movement screen.

Many Personal Trainers and Physical Therapists have gone through the steps necessary to earn certification or specialization in applying the practices of the Functional Movement Screen.

The FMS consists of 7 screens, in which the participant is scored, as a means of finding a baseline score for each of the movements, and a total score, as well.

The results of each of these screened movements provide the practitioner with valuable information identifying muscular imbalances, and providing a roadmap for appropriate exercise program design.

Just as you would employ routine progress checks with other fitness-related goals, so should you with the FMS. This will help to make your program progressive as your Personal Trainer or Physical Therapist is able to collect data on your progress in each of the 7 screens over time.

Strength Training for Running

strength training for runners

Runners tend to run, but that's about all a good amount of them do.

With that, they become exposed to overuse injuries.

When they do happen to rest and recover, they've very often employed a sort of band-aid.

By doing so, they address symptoms of hip pain from running, rather than treating the underlying causes of that pain.

Most Runners are Lacking in the Strength Department

olympic weightlifting

That isn't to say that they don't have running workouts that make them feel strong.

But, the muscular effect of a taxing hill or speed workout is not the same as time dedicated to a comprehensive, resistance training program in the gym.

One glaring weakness usually has to do with runners being quad dominant versus having equal or greater strength coming from the muscles of the posterior chain.

Your glutes and hamstrings are as important to your overall, running health, and your avoidance of hip pain from running.

When they're weak, it is likely that you'll experience instability near the hip joint, leading to issues surrounding that joint, and often leading to pain and/or injury at each of the next closest joints.

Note: One of our favorite fixes for this is the deadlift (when done appropriately).

It is Important to Realize that Your Body is a Highly Technical Machine

I've used a sink before, but I'm not a plumber. And, I've been on an airplane, yet I'm far from being a pilot.

Were I to find myself with a do-it-yourself or hire a professional scenario in situations where it really mattered (and it often does), I'm hiring a professional right away.

Gyms provide a great deal of equipment with which you might tinker.

However, if you're serious about achieving results, it is in your best interest to hire a professional, (rather than hoping the workout you ripped out of a 5-year old issue of your favorite fitness magazine does the trick).

Be Wary of Instagram "Fitness Pros"

caution sign

We've all seen someone that has a great number of followers on social media. Most often that following is because they look fit, rather than because of any practical knowledge in the field.

Just because they have a strong following, that doesn't mean that they have any business "coaching" others on how to achieve fitness results.

They won't likely be able to help you avoid hip pain from running. They'll likely make it worse.

What they're doing is dangerous. And, people get hurt everyday from following the advice of those who weren't at all qualified to deliver it. 

Find a Qualified Professional

employee presentation

Though there are a good number of reputable Personal Training certifications, out of the sea of thousands available, the ones that we would suggest you look for in your practitioner of choice are:

  • NSCA (CSCS, CSPS, CPT, TSAC-F)

  • NASM (CPT)

  • ACSM (CPT, EP)

Also, when selecting your Personal Trainer, do verify that their certification is up-to-date and has not expired. Continuing education units are required by each of the organizations mentioned above to help ensure that those representing their organizations and the industry have demonstrated the knowledge requisite to provide you running workouts and program design that will be both safe and effective.

A well-qualified, fitness professional will be able to assess your starting point, using assessments like the Functional Movement Screen, to then determine the best courses of action for each piece of a comprehensive exercise program, helping you to overcome hip pain from running, and other similar ailments, and allowing you to really be present in the activities that you enjoy the most.

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