We have witnessed many of the runners complaining about hip pain and one of the biggest mistake is to leave it untreated. Any injury or problem that is causing hip pain and you leave it untreated could result in a permanent damage or serious problem that later may be difficult to deal with. Hip misalignment is a common problem but apart from that there are several other injuries that a runner can face and causes may be improper technique, overstress and many others. Athletes commonly complain about hip pain which is usually caused by inflammation within their soft tissues and muscles around that area.
Causes of Hip Pain:
There can be several different causes of hip pain and each case may be different. Here we are sharing some of the common causes:
- Imbalances or asymmetries of strength: Many a times a runner unintentionally begins to favor one of his side over other that may result in misalignment or other injuries of hip.
- Difference of leg length: Some people may suffer hip injuries because of a difference that each of their legs may have.
- Abnormal gait or stride: This may be something that a runner would have inherited or is been there with him since a long time. Any abnormality with your step can be a common cause of injuries around hips.
- Restricted movement: There may be a decreased motion range around your hips that may be restricting movement and thus overloads muscles to cause an injury or pain.
- Inclined Roads: We had to walk against traffic as a rule and thus run at a side of the road. Road is inclined slightly having a camber that allows water to drain off. This structure of roads causes one of our legs to reach down slightly farther than our other leg for running. Thus these cambered roads running can also be one cause of misalignment and injuries with hips.
- Bad posture: Incorrect posture or form of runningcan be a root cause of hip pains. As we use incorrect form of running, we begin using one leg more over another one and thus can cause our hip tendons to misalign and cause problem.
Common Hip Injuries and Problems:
Some of the common injuries that runners have been witnessed experiencing related to hips include:
- Bursae Inflammation: Bursae is a cushioned area that is aimed for reducing friction and allows all the related muscles and tissues to slide easily on bones. Running for an extended duration or with a faster pace can result in inflammation of bursae and it could cause pain, swelling, stiffness or softness of that area.
- Trochanteric Bursitis: This is yet another kind of inflammation that happens outside the hip area covering muscles around it.
- Iliopsoas Bursitis: This area is at front of the hips and any pain experienced at this area can be carried all the way from hip to your thighs and knees. Symptoms of this problem could be softness around this area.
- Iliotibial Band Inflammation: This ligament runs from hip through the outside of your thigh towards knees. It is actually a band that may get tightened or inflamed with poor form or overtraining and can cause severe pain around hips and knees.
- Stress Fracture: Overtraining, incorrect form of running, inappropriate footwear or other issues can result in a stress fracture that may occur in your femoral neck. This could be complete breaking down of bone or a partial break and would be painful.
- Insertional Tendonitis: This kind of inflammation is found in muscles at a place where they insert in a bone. Many a times this problem often causes hip flexor pains and injuries too. This pain and inflammation would also weaken up your tendons and would cause imbalances and poor movements.
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How to Treat Hip Pains?
For any severe pains that you encounter around your hips and other parts of your legs, you must always consult your doctor. He will be able to diagnose the root cause of these pains and other related problems and would suggest you a proper treatment. Many a times, such pains do not subside even if you take rest and may hinder movement too. Although some remedies and self-treatment may work to reduce the symptoms and may make you feel better. You can even take help of a physiotherapist or a sports massage therapist to help you with these pains and related injuries.
Some of the self-treatment methods include:
- One of the best treatment to any of these injuries and pains is to give your body proper rest and time to recover. You should take a break from running if these problems have been caused by running and may opt for another activity that may not be as intense as running. Make sure you choose an exercise/activity that would go easy on your condition and may not exaggerate it.
- Apply ice packs and it would reduce swelling and pain to a large extent. Do icing on the affected area for 15 minutes and repeat it at least 3-4 times or more throughout the first few days. Do not apply ice directly on your skin.
- Heat therapy is another effective treatment method. You can use a hot water bottle on the paining area but make sure that there is no swelling.
- Massage therapy over the paining area can also prove helpful in relieving pain and it would also enhance flow of blood along that area of your body.
- Use of Anti-inflammatories: These should only be used if needed. If you consult a doctor he will advise you anti-inflammatories depending upon your condition.
- Encourage Movement and Stretch: Another good piece of advice for pain sufferers is to try to move their hip muscles and joints and stretch them each day in order to avoid stiffness. This can be done with movement, light exerciseand stretching.
Although complete healing would be possible in some weeks or it may take longer but these self-treatments would give you relief to a great extent.
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Prevention against Hip Pains:
In order to avoid hip pain and injuries, here are some prevention tips that you must consider to practice. These tips would reduce the risk of these pains and injuries.
- Enhance your flexibility with the aid of varied stretches.
- Strengthen your weak muscles and joints by regularly practicing strengthening exercises such as lunges, squats etc.
- Ensure a proper diet plan that gives you adequate levels of proteins, vitamins, carbs and minerals.
- Not only with running but as you stand, sit and walk; keep a close eye on your posture and make sure that you sit in a position that is not stressful for hip movement and function.
- Maintain a proper running technique and it will prevent you from most of the pains and injuries.
- Always wear an appropriate pair of shoe so that you remain comfortable throughout your run.
- Make sure you replace shoes as and when needed. Running shoes may lose their shock absorption feature and may become less effective and supportive for running. So if you find that you need a replacement, quit that shoe and buy a new one.
- Make sure you warm-up before running.
- Avoid overtraining and do not make a sudden increase in distance, duration and intensity of your run.
- If possible try to run in the middle of a road where the surface is usually flat. Avoid running at alternate sides if possible.
- Go for a regular massage therapy in order to prevent excessive tightening of muscles.
How to Enhance Hip Strength?
In order to strengthen your hip abductors and rotators, you just need to follow some simple exercises and doing them regularly as part of your routine would enable you to become stronger. If you are suffering from one of the hip problems described above or any other, you may seek help of a physiotherapist, massage therapist or a sports chiropractor to make initial efforts with these exercises for your body. Hip strengthening exercises would not only improve strength but would also work on imbalances, alignment problems, motion range, tightened muscles and other aspects.
One of the most popular and effective hip strengthening exercise is:
- While placing your fleet flat against a wall, lie down on your back.
- The leg that has misalignment or other problem should be forced to thrust quickly against the fall using its foot flat.
- Using your hand, push down same side hip while holding the foot against wall using your hands.
- Remain in that position for around 10 seconds.
- Repeat same steps around 8-10 times.
You can perform this exercise anytime and can even include it as part of your warm-up routine. With continued exercising, you will feel better with your hip pain and will witness reduce in soreness too. Over time gradually, your hip will get back in to the form of running properly.
If you begin to face any hip pain or have symptoms of other hip problems, immediately have a look at your technique, posture, footwear and other aspects of running. If you can’t diagnose problem or its root cause, you can consult your physician, a professional therapist or your coach for their advice and recommendations. Prevention and self-treatment may work most of the time with hip pains and prevents from problem to become big but it would not be the case always. If pain and problem doesn’t subside with self-treatment, you should consult a medical professional. Avoid running for some time and give your body time to relax and recover.