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Published on: 25-Jan-2023

While running is a great way to improve your overall physical fitness and health, you do have to be careful when embarking on this sport. Great as it is for cardiovascular fitness, if you’re not used to it, you can actually damage some of the tissues, muscles, and bones within your body.

The joints are often the most affected as unexpected overuse can trigger various problems. Commonly, hips can become afflicted becoming tight and inflexible when running for a long time, overuse, and without the proper preparation.

Of course, hip problems can occur from age, not just from running. So, to help you out and ensure you’re prepared when you head out, let’s take a look at all you need to know about getting a hip injury from running.

Is it common to get hip injuries when running?

Yes, it is quite common to get hip injuries when running. This is because the muscles and tissues in your joints come under strain when you run. You can tear these muscles through overexertion or simply suffer general wear and tear if you’re older.

You can get hip injuries from most kinds of sports, one recent example is the Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields who missed the Week 18 game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a hip injury.

There are a number of different hip injuries you can get too and these include infection of the hip joint, inflammation, and even arthritis. As such, it’s a good idea to learn about the most common causes of hip injury from running.

Most common causes of hip injuries when running

When running, there are a number of causes of hip injuries. We’re going to take a look at some of the main causes of hip pain:

  • Muscle strain: Often referred to as tendinopathy, this is where you get a strain in your hamstrings, quad muscles, or adductors to name a few. Commonly, this is caused due to an imbalance in your strength and running ability. If you aren’t working out or strengthening these muscles, you’re more like to get this type of hip injury from running.
  • Osteoarthritis: Commonly referred to as wear and tear, if you’re an active runner, then this is less likely to be the cause. However, it can affect you if you have structural abnormalities in place and as such, you can end up putting more stress on your hip joint when you run. It’s noticeable by a poor range of motion or a deep ache even when sitting for extended periods of time.
  • Impingement: While this is generally considered genetic, it can be problematic. This is when there is a mismatch in the shape of the ball joint of your hip in the socket. Over time, you can wear each of the parts of the joint down and this can actually contribute to osteoarthritis.
  • Bursitis: This is when you run with poor form and this repetitive motion can cause inflammation of the soft cushion-like sacs that sit between your hip bones and the surrounding muscles. With a bad running technique, these can get inflammed and cause problems and pain. It’s more common in women than men.
How to prevent hip pain when running

Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to prevent hip pain and injuries when running, you can read our full article about it here. Take a look at these preventative measures:

  • Balance your exercises: Running is a high-impact sport which is where these injuries can often occur. It’s therefore important to not focus only on this high-impact exercise. To mitigate hip injuries, you should also intersperse your running with low-impact exercise to keep your muscles looser. Yoga, for instance, can help improve your flexibility which reduces your chances of injury.
  • Stretch properly: Following on from the above, you should also have a proper stretching routine before and after you run. This means warming up and cooling down correctly. You can focus on your hips to ensure they’re not strained.
  • Strengthen your hips: Stretching is key, but so are strengthening exercises. However, while the muscles in your hips are important here, you should also be strengthening the muscles in your buttocks, upper thighs, and lower back. Improving your core strength will also help you as it improves your stability and balance when running reducing the chance of injury.
  • Stop running if you feel pain: You should always pay attention to your body whenever you work out. If you feel any pain when running, stop. You may be overexerting yourself or simply running incorrectly.
  • Wear supportive shoes: As balance and stability are key, it’s a good idea to make sure you purchase proper shoes. You can also reduce the high-impact nature of the sport by getting proper shock-absorbing shoes that properly support your ankles and feet.
  • Slowly increase running duration and intensity: Make sure you don’t overwork your body by gradually increasing your running time. Start off slow and gentle and over a period of weeks increase your distance and speed so that your body gets used to it.
How can I treat a hip injury?

The best way to treat a hip injury from running is to rest. You should stop exacerbating the problem and take some time off. If there is some swelling, you can take anti-inflammatories to reduce this. Of course, the best way is prevention in the first place. So, always make sure that you’re running within your capabilities and warming up and cooling down properly.

Should I run if my hips hurt?

Yes, it is bad to run if your hips hurt. If you continue running, you may well exacerbate the problem and what may have been a simple tear could become a more problematic inflammation. Recovery time is essential so avoid running until you aren’t in pain. Then, ease back into running gently.

When should I seek medical help?

You should seek medical help if your hip pain persists even when you’ve stopped running or putting strain on your hips. If this is the case, get in touch with a chiropractor, orthopedic doctor, or physiotherapist. They can assess the injury and give you a better plan moving forward. If you have pain and obvious swelling, severe pain, or even infection, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a doctor but do it right away.