There are a lot of reasons why hip injuries from running tend to crop up. This is one of the injuries that runners don’t welcome into their lives simply because of the fact that you may be out of the sport for some time to come. There are different levels to this kind of injury.

You may have done a little bit too much training one week and that would add some strain, but there are a lot of serious cases as well where this can become an ongoing saga.

The Causes of Hip Pain

IT band is a common complaint which is hooked up with the hip, but it can also include things like stress fractures, strains or even a sign of arthritis coming on. This is why x-rays and scans are important to be able to give you the evidence you are looking for and tell you where the problem is.

The pain can come from the joint, the bone, the muscle or a tendon. Bones and joints associated with the pelvis will come into play here. The hip flexors do a big job when you are moving around. They attach and flex the hip. There are a group of muscles which are responsible for pulling the leg away.

These are the gluteus medius and minimus. When it comes to the hip extensors, their job is equally important because they are responsible for pulling the leg across the midline.

Knowing the exact position of where the pain is coming from you will be able to pin point this a whole lot better. For example anterior hip pain comes from the hip joint or one of the hip flexors. If you have lateral hip pain then it is most likely associated with the IT band.

You may even feel a pop on the side of your hip. Posterior hip pain comes from piriformis syndrome where the sciatic nerve rubs against the muscle. This is something that can be really painful, but you basically need time to recover.

A stress fracture can also cause hip joint pain from running where the runner is usually not running properly. This may be because the duration was increased suddenly or the intensity of the training was messed up somewhere along the way.

hip injury

Different hip injuries from running

  • Hip Bursitis – Bursa is a sac filled with fluid which surrounds the joints, which gives it lubrication and prevents friction with the bones. When this become inflamed then it becomes really painful and you will feel it every time you take a step when the tendon moves over the bone.

If you have a pain like this on the outside of your hip or a swelling at the top of the hip then make sure you get it attended to because a lot of runners will just ignore it and keep on running. This is where the real trouble starts to kick in.

The way to treat this is with plenty of rest and some medication prescribed for anti-inflammatory. If this is severe then you may need to get it drained with the addition of cortisone into the sac, which is not harmful.

Physical therapy with the appropriate stretches are also the order of the day for this kind of treatment once you have been attended to by a doctor. If you know that it was caused by change your training program then you must start out slow again.

  • Snapping Hip – This is one of the more painful and nasty injuries to the hip. This is when you sometimes feel the noise, hence the name,”snapping” is quite appropriate. This is where tendons are catching on the bones close to the hip. It can be because of either, the IT band snapping, which surrounds the hip joint.

When this happens and it is not attended to then it can lead to hip bursitis. The Iliopsoas Tendon Snap is not as common as the IT band snap, but it still happens. This is where you usually find the hip joint catching on the pelvis. The hip lateral tear is something which is quite rare amongst all hip injuries associated with running. This is when the cartilage tears in the hip area.You will probably feel the snap every time you move your hip.

With the right anti-inflamatories you should be back on your feet, unless is more severe then you will need more injections. In severe cases, cartilage will have to be removed, so we hope as runners that we won’t have to get to this point. Always attending to every niggle in your body is the best start to a healthy running career! Don't think you are brave and think by running through your aches and pains that they are going to get better - they are just going to get worse.

hip diagram

  • Iliotbial Band syndrome - This is when the IT band becomes inflamed. The IT band runs down the leg as well, from the hip to the knee, so you can imagine how painful this can be when you are running. The more you persist with this without doing anything, the worse it can get.

This is usually caused when the runner is training at a frequency higher then what they are used to and this can set the syndrome off. If a runner has a different type of gait, which is not the norm, you may find that this will develop. The first step is to find yourself the right pair of running shoes.

You can use the RICER method – getting plenty of rest, applying ice and keeping yourself relaxed, without a run in your mind. Massaging the area also helps. If it persists then you will have to take yourself off to the doctor and you may end up getting cortisone injections. There are specific exercises you can do for this so make sure you see a physiotherapist. Anti-inflamatories are also in order here.