Top Four Ways to Minimize Hip Pain While Running

Over the past few years I have seen an increase in the number of distance runners, as well as recreational runners I see in my practice. This also coincides with the increase in entrants to large marathons like the Boston marathon and New York marathon.

Commonly, patients who run for exercise, and especially who run more than 15 miles a week will come in complaining of hip pain.  Below are my top 4 tips to minimize pain in your hip when you run.

  1. Stretching– Many runners don’t understand how important this is. After puberty every year we become less and less flexible. Stretching, especially dynamic stretching have been shown to decrease injury and muscle soreness.  Just touching you toes and holding it is no longer the best way to stretch. Dynamic stretching is stretching that is done while you are moving.  Here is a link to great video on a quick warm-up.
  2. Foam Rolling The foam roller is a great tool to get your muscle warm before running. This is basically a long foam cylinder that you can roll on top of. Many people who run have pain on the outside of their hip over the boney portion called the great trochanter. The pain is caused by having a tight IT band. The IT band can be stretched by laying on your side on a foam roller and rolling up and down.
  3. Avoiding roads with a Camber – Most roads are built with some camber. Camber is when the center of the road is higher than the sides. You may not realize it but if you run on a cambered road you are running on a slanted surface. Furthermore if you run a loop, you are running on the same side of the road the whole time. The slanted surface of the road will put one of your hips higher than the other and will put access strain on the downhill hip. This can cause tendinitis in the hip. If possible run on a flat running trail or run “there and back” instead of a loop so your downhill hip switches.
  4. Cross train- If you are an avid runner and love to run long distances you should be careful. Studies have shown that running over 40 miles a weak will add little to your strength and endurance, but will increase your risk of injury significantly. You should takes days off of running and substitute them for lower impact excises like biking, or swimming.

If you are having pain in you hip from running you should make an appointment to see your Westchester orthopedic surgeon so you can continue to do what you love.  

Dr. Michael Gott is a Westchester orthopedic surgeon who is fellowship trained in sports medicine. He has also been an active member of the National Ski Patrol as well as a Member of the Windham Mountain Ski Patrol for 18 years.