Staying active is one of the best ways to feel your best at any age. In fact, it’s proven that exercise is essential to keep arthritis at bay and to even prevent it from developing in the first place. Running, jogging, or HIIT exercises are some of the best for our body, boosting both our cardiac health as well as helping our joints stay mobile.
Hip pain is a real problem that tends to slow down many patients and prevent them from comfortably walking, sitting, or spending time doing the activities they love. When hip pain is present, many patients tend to stop their exercise routine due to discomfort. However, if you have been seen by an orthopedic specialist and have been given the green light, you should stay active with just a few adjustments to keep your hip comfortable while you run.
In this blog, we’ll be discussing the methods you can use to reduce hip pain while running.
Studies Have Found that Runners Have Lower Rates of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a common disease affecting older adults, and it occurs when your immune system begins to attack your joints. Unfortunately, this osteoarthritis typically affects joints symmetrically, making patients with osteoarthritis in their hips experience pain in both joints.
Since arthritis is the most common cause of hip pain, followed shortly by fractures, bursitis, tendinitis and tears, understanding how exercise can impact your hip pain is important.
In a study published in 2017, researchers found that people who ran non-competitively had a lowered risk of developing arthritis than those who ran competitively.
So, if you are currently including running in your exercise routine, it’s a great idea to continue that as long as you have been given the go-ahead by your physician.
What You Can do to Reduce Your Hip Pain While Running
If you’re experiencing pain in your hip while running, it’s important to listen to your body and find out what is causing the discomfort. However, the goal should always be to remain active – so many patients continue to run and exercise to improve or maintain their mobility.
Prevention is the Best Medicine: Stretch and Warm-up
If you are a frequent runner, or want to get into the habit of running, you’ll want to make sure that you’re actively working to prevent hip pain while running.
This means learning about the proper way to warm up to and cool down from your run. Stretches, massages, and protein-filled meals are all ways to keep your body in great working condition while you’re exercising.
Before you jump headfirst into a new exercise routine, you will also want to do some research about the proper form you should be running in so that you can prevent hip pain from developing.
See an Orthopedic Specialist
Whether you’re experiencing the sudden onset of hip pain, or if you’ve been living with discomfort for years, it’s important to see an orthopedic specialist to determine the cause of your pain as well as the best treatment and exercise options for you.
Treatment options such as physical and occupational therapy, corticosteroids, and anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce hip pain while you run without requiring surgical intervention.
If your pain is caused by a damaged or misshapen hip joint, your orthopedic specialist may discuss surgical treatment options, like a same-day hip replacement surgery, that can alleviate or stop your discomfort while giving you back your mobility.
Rest When You Need To
Besides a proper warm-up, you also will want to stretch after any burst of exercise of activity. There are a number of quad, hamstring, hip flexor, glute, stretch that can be done to help prevent and relieve hip pain.
Sometimes, when you are just starting to run, hip pain can be caused from overuse. If you have ever spent an entire day walking and felt sore or stiff the next day, you’ve experienced pain from overuse. Typically, this occurs when someone changes their exercise routine to make it more challenging or when someone suddenly increases their activity level for a special event.
Listening to your body is key. If you feel like the discomfort while running that your feeling is related to tired muscles, slow down and rest. Proactive recovery after exercise is an important step to help your body recover all while avoiding increased hip pain. Foam rolling, massages, and soft tissue treatments are all helpful.
If you are suddenly experiencing pain in your hip while running and you had a fall the day before, stop and see a specialist to check for a fracture.
Wear the Right Equipment
Sometimes, reducing hip pain while running can be solved with a simple change in what you’re wearing.
Everyone’s posture is different and variations in the way you walk could be the root of your hip pain. If you have flat feet, you may be more likely to over pronate when you walk – meaning your ankle tends to lead inward and shift your weight to the inner edge of your foot. In other cases, people may experience supination from a high arch in their foot, which shifts the weight to the outer edge of their foot.
In cases of pronation or supination, your legs may become misaligned and, ultimately, cause pain in your hip joints.
To solve this problem and get relief from the discomfort you’re experiencing, you may be fitted with special shoe inserts for everyday use as well as for when you run. Your specialist may also recommend specific shoe brands that may fit you better and give you the support you need to diminish hip pain while running.
Avoid Running on Dangerous Terrain
Many people think of running and jogging as a summertime activity, but there are a large number of runners who continue to run throughout the winter months. Though this is a fine choice, we always recommend runners to be cautious when running on wet, sleek, or icy roads.
If you are already experiencing hip pain, running on unsafe surfaces could cause you to change your running stance (to decrease your likelihood of slipping) and, ultimately, cause more hip pain because you are now running without the right form.
Similarly, runners who are out on snowy, icy, sandy, or rainy may be more likely to slip and fall. Falls are a common cause of hip injury and fractures, making safe running habits all the more important.
For runners who want to be cautious and maintain the correct running stance throughout the year, indoor running tracks or treadmills could be safer alternatives to control and prevent hip pain from running.
If you’d like more information about what you can do to reduce hip pain while you run, or while you go about your daily activities, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Vigdorchik to find the best option for you.