Taking Care of Your Hips While Running

The older I have gotten and the longer distances I’m running, I’ve noticed the importance of healthy hips.

With my SI Joint issues, and other prior injury woes, I’ve learned the importance of mobility.

Today Jennifer is taking over RunMum and talking about the importance of taking care of your hips while running.

Running & hips

The number of Australians that jog or run in 2012, whether as sport or recreation, has almost doubled since 2006 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Andrew Middleton. ABS Director of Culture Recreation and Migrant Statistics said that the running undoubtedly increased in popularity and that nearly 8% of Australians over the age of 15 participated in the sport over the last year, up from just over 4% in 2006.

Runners are prone to all kinds of injuries with hip pain being one that can cause significant amounts of anguish. If you are lucky and your hip pain is minor, simply resting can make it go away. Unfortunately, not everyone is this fortunate. Runners are very familiar with knee injuries but hip problems can also pose big problems. There are many things that can go wrong and underlying problems can be amplified by running. Each cause of hip pain has a different reason, making it important to pay careful attention to it and try figure out why you are experiencing pain and discomfort.

Minor injuries

Take the time to stretch sufficiently and listen to your body. If you experience any pain, stop.  Most running injuries are minor and easy to fix. If you experience pain and continue to run you will just make your injury worse. One of the most common causes of hip pain is overuse. It is possible that you run too much and regardless of whether you enjoy it, it can put too much strain on your body. Overusing the muscles can lead to bursitis which results in an ache or burn and a rubbing or popping sensation on the outside of your hip.  These are all tell-tale signs that you need to slow down and take it easy.  Ice your hips and take an anti-inflammatory for no longer than 5 days. If the symptoms persist, see a doctor.

Strength imbalance problems

Strength imbalances in your hips can cause a number of problems. Just about everyone has one leg that is slightly longer than the other and although generally harmless, it can make itself known during long-distance running.  It can also be a result of an old injury or unusual running conditions. You will need to enlist the help of a professional to determine whether there is indeed an imbalance in the hips.

Strength exercises and in particular those that will make your hip flexors stronger, together with massaging to relax and loosen tense muscles, can benefit you a lot. Having a good running posture is also very important, especially as far as keeping your hips in line is concerned. Yoga is a great way to improve your posture and because it is a low-impact exercise it will help counter the high-impact of running.

Stress fractures

If you find that the pain is radiating from the inside of your hip and you are prone to running on hard road surfaces, the pain could be caused by a stress fracture.  If you suspect a stress fracture you need to have it seen as soon as possible. Like any broken bone, recovery time is generally between 6 and 8 weeks. During this time you will be unable to run but you can do some swimming or even easy biking if cleared with your doctor first.

The first thing you should do when experiencing pain during or after running is to stop running.  A lot of people may have the need to run through the pain or ‘walk it off’ and although it may help in some instances, it will, more often than not, simply aggravate the injury. The sooner you rest and seek medical assistance the less time you are bound to spend off your feet and the sooner you will be on the road running again.

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