How Do Runners Understand And Treat Hip Pain?

hip pain

How Do Runners Understand And Treat Hip Pain?


If you love running, you might know how tough it can be on your body, especially your hips. Many runners face hip pain at some point, and it can really slow you down. But understanding why your hip hurts and knowing what to do about it can help you keep running without pain.

In this guide, we’ll look at why hip pain happens to runners, what it feels like, and how you can fix it. We’ll also discuss how to keep hip pain from returning so you can enjoy your runs without worry. 

Whether you’re a beginner or have been running for years, this guide has helpful tips to keep you moving smoothly and pain-free. Let’s get started on the path to understanding and treating hip pain.

Anatomy Of The Hip 

The hip is a big ball-and-socket joint that handles a lot of movement when you run. It’s where your thigh bone (femur) meets your pelvis. Around the hip, muscles, tendons, and ligaments work together to keep you moving. You can run, jump, and move smoothly when everything is working right.

3 Common Causes Of Hip Pain In Runners 

When runners get hip pain, it’s usually from doing too much, too fast, or without enough rest. Here are a few common reasons why your hip might hurt.

  • Overuse injuries

These often happen from repeating the same running motions. They can make your muscles or tendons tired and sore. Examples are stress fractures (tiny breaks in the bone) and tendinitis (when tendons get irritated).

  • Acute injuries

These are sudden injuries like a muscle pull or a tear in the labrum, which is the ring of cartilage around your hip joint.

  • Mechanical issues

Sometimes, how your body is built or how you run can put too much stress on your hips. Problems like not having your feet hit the ground the same way each step can hurt your hips over time.

Signs And Symptoms To Watch For 

It’s important to know what signs might tell you there’s a problem with your hip. Here are some things to look out for:

  • Pain in your hip, groin, or thigh.
  • Stiffness or less movement in your hip.
  • A feeling of catching or clicking when you move your hip.
  • Swelling around your hip area.

If you notice these symptoms, taking a break and checking what might be wrong is a good idea. 

Diagnosing Hip Pain

When to See a Doctor 

See a doctor if your hip pain doesn’t go away with a few days of rest or if it worsens when you run. Also, if you feel sharp pain, can’t put weight on your leg, or see a lot of swelling, those are signs you need to get checked out. A doctor can help you determine exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it.

Expected Diagnostic Tests 

When you visit the doctor, they will probably do a few things to learn more about your hip pain:

Physical Examination. The doctor will look at your hip, move it around to see where it hurts, and check your muscles’ strength.

Imaging Tests. These can include as below.

  • X-rays. These show the bones and can help spot fractures or changes in the joint.
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This is good for seeing soft tissues like muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It helps find injuries that X-rays can’t see.

These tests help the doctor understand what’s causing your pain and how to treat it. With the right diagnosis, you can start getting the right treatment.

Treatment Options For Hip Pain

Conservative Treatments 

Most of the time, you can treat hip pain with simple steps at home. Here’s what usually helps:

  • Rest and Recovery

Stop running or doing other activities that hurt your hip. It gives your body time to heal.

  • Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can teach exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles around your hip. Physical therapy for hip pain can help reduce pain and prevent more injuries.

  • Pain Management

You might use ice packs to reduce swelling and heat pads to relax and loosen tight muscles. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help ease the pain.

Advanced Treatments 

If your pain is really bad or doesn’t get better with simple treatments, your doctor might suggest other options:

Surgery: Sometimes, surgery is needed to fix serious problems inside your hip. There are different types of surgery depending on what’s wrong.

Injections: Some people get shots of medicine right into the hip area. These can reduce inflammation and pain.

Alternative Treatments 

Some runners also try other ways to get better:

Acupuncture: This is where tiny needles are put into your skin to help control pain.

Chiropractic Care: A chiropractor can adjust your body and may help relieve hip pain.

All these treatments can help your hip feel better, but it’s important to choose the right one with your doctor’s help. 

Prevention Strategies

Keeping your hips healthy is key to running pain-free. Here are some strategies to help prevent hip pain:

Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements are products designed to supplement nutritional deficiencies in the daily diet. It includes vitamins, minerals, herbs/plant extracts, amino acids, and other nutrients. They are available in tablets, capsules, powders, liquids, gummies, etc. Their functions support various areas such as cognition, weight loss, sports and fitness, hair, skincare, and anti-aging. It also has ingredients that support pain relief.

For example, White willow bark extract contains salicylic acid. It is a natural precursor to aspirin. It is commonly used to relieve headaches, muscle pain, etc. Echinacea extract is commonly used to boost the immune system and is also believed to help reduce pain and inflammation. Chamomile extract, St. John’s wort, Ginger extract, etc., are just a few examples.

Melatonin ingredient plays a key role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythms. However, in fact, in addition to its sleep benefits, it has also been found to be associated with pain relief. Melatonin acts as a pain modulator in inflammatory and neuropathic pain models through binding to its receptors (MTNR1A and MTNR1B). It enhances cytokine production and release by activating specific receptors in immunoreactive cells, possibly affecting pain perception.

There are many more ingredients like these that can help with pain relief. As a result, there are a variety of dietary supplement ingredients to choose from before and after exercise to relieve pain in areas including the hips, joints, shoulders, and neck.

Proper Running Techniques

Mind Your Form

Keep your posture straight and avoid leaning forward too much. Ensure your steps are even and you’re not favoring one side.

Strengthen Your Core

Strong core muscles help stabilize your hips. Exercises like planks and bridges can make your core muscles stronger.

Equipment and Support

Choose the Right Footwear. Running shoes that fit well and offer good support can prevent hip pain. Make sure to replace them every 300 to 500 miles.

Consider Orthotics. If you have issues like flat feet, orthotics (custom shoe inserts) can help correct your foot position when you run.

Cross-Training and Rest

Add Variety: Include other types of workouts in your routine, like swimming or cycling, to give your hips a break from the impact of running.

Rest Days Are Important: Regular days off from running allow your muscles and joints to recover and strengthen.

Runner’s Recovery Plan

If you’ve had hip pain and are getting better, here’s how you can safely get back to running:

Start Slow: Begin with walking and gradually mix in short periods of running. For example, start with 1 minute of running and 5 minutes of walking, and slowly increase the running time.

Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your hip feels during and after exercises. If you feel pain, back off and give yourself more time to heal.

Increase Gradually: As your hip strengthens, slowly add more running days and distance to your routine. Avoid increasing your mileage by more than 10% per week.

Keep Up With Exercises: Continue with the stretches and strengthening exercises your therapist gave you, even after you feel better.

Following this plan can help you avoid re-injuring your hip and enjoy running pain-free.


Hip pain doesn’t have to stop you from running. Understanding what causes, how to treat, and how to prevent it can help you keep your hips healthy. Remember, taking care of your body and listening to its signals is the best way to enjoy running for a long time. Keep moving, and stay healthy!

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