By: Jeremy Neisser
Hip pain after running is one of the most common complaints heard by runners. While it can be hard to figure out the exact cause of your hip pain, there are some things you should know that could help point you in the right direction. Here’s a look at 11 likely causes and how to fix them:
Common Causes of Hip Pain After Running
1. IT band syndrome
The iliotibial band (ITB) is a thick band of fascia that runs along the outside of your thigh (by your thigh bone) from your hip to just below your knee. When it becomes inflamed or irritated—a condition known as ITBS—it can cause pain in the hip and lateral side of the knee. The best way to treat this kind of hip pain is to rest, ice, and stretch the area regularly.
Rolling your IT Band regularly is a great way to help prevent IT band syndrome. I had pain all the way down to my knee joint when I ran my marathon and luckily it was not arthritis or something major. Just a tight IT band.
2. Muscle tendon bursitis
Muscle tendon bursitis occurs when one of the bursae, or fluid-filled sacs that cushion and protect your muscles, tendons, and bones becomes inflamed. This can cause pain in the hip or groin area. To treat this condition you should rest, ice, compress and elevate the area regularly. You may also need to take anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.
3. Hip pointer
A hip pointer is an injury to the iliac crest, which is a bone located in the upper-outer portion of your hip. The pain from this kind of injury can radiate down the leg and cause severe discomfort. To treat a hip pointer, you should rest, ice, lightly stretch and take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation.
4: Hip Flexor Strain
Hip flexor strains are common in runners, and they can cause pain in the front of the hip throughout the hip joint. To treat a hip flexor strain, rest, ice, and stretch the area regularly. You may also want to take anti-inflammatory medications if needed.
Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that can cause pain in the hip joint and impact your knee. To treat osteoarthritis, it’s important to rest regularly and take anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy may also be beneficial for some people with this condition.
6: Iliopsoas Tendonitis
Iliopsoas tendonitis (or snapping hip syndrome) is an inflammation of a tendon in the hip flexor muscles, which can cause pain and tenderness in the front of the hip and it can radiate all the way down creating knee pain. To treat this condition, rest, ice, and take anti-inflammatory medications. You may also want to try physical therapy to help strengthen your hip flexors, improve your knee range of motion and decrease your pain.
7: Hip Arthritis
Pain after running can be a cause of acute arthritis. Hip arthritis is an inflammation of the hip joint that can cause pain and stiffness. To treat this condition, rest, ice, take anti-inflammatory medications, and use a compression wrap to support the area. You may also want to consider physical therapy for further strengthening.
8: Labral Tears
This one might be the worst pain in runners' hips and lower half. Labral tears are a tear in the cartilage of the hip socket, which can cause pain and instability. To treat this condition, rest and take anti-inflammatory medications. You may also need to consider surgery if the tear is severe.
9: Hip Stress Fracture
A hip stress fracture is a small crack that occurs in the bone from overuse or repetitive stress on the area. This can cause severe pain to the point you can barely walk. To treat this condition, you should rest and take anti-inflammatory medications. You may also need to wear a brace for support if the injury is severe enough.
10: Tendinitis of the Hip
Tendinitis of the hip is an inflammation of the tendons located near the joint, which can cause sharp pain and stiffness. It is one of the most common running injuries and it happens to a lot of runners, myself included. The repetitive motion of running can put strain on your hips creating a variety of issues that I mention below.
To treat this condition, rest, ice, take anti-inflammatory medications, and use a compression wrap to support the area. You may also want to consider physical therapy for further strengthening.
11. Hip Pain From Overuse
Oftentimes for us runners, hip pain can be caused by overuse of the area. This happens due to overuse or bad running form resulting in severe pain and muscle strains. If this is the case, it’s important to rest and take anti-inflammatory medications.
You should also make sure you are stretching properly before and after your run to avoid any further injury or pain. A sign of overuse is chronic hip pain, meaning you get hip pain ONLY when you run or days after you run.
How Are Hip Injuries From Running Treated?
There are several ways to treat hip injuries from running. The best way is to rest and avoid any activities that cause pain. Ice the area for 15-20 minutes at a time, up to three times a day, to reduce inflammation.
You should also take anti-inflammatory medications if needed and use a compression wrap for support. Stretching before and after your run is also important for preventing further injury. If the pain persists, you should consult a doctor to determine if surgery or physical therapy is necessary.
Physical therapy can be beneficial for hip injuries from running as it helps improve the range of motion and strengthens muscles in the area. Your therapist may use stretching, massage, ultrasound, and other techniques to help reduce pain and improve your function.
They can also provide you with advice for preventing future injuries. PTs will create a focused treatment progression plan that will help you increase motion. The initial evaluation typically goes through a ton of different tests, and questions, allowing you to share if you have hip pain, knee pain, sharp pain, muscle pain, and when the pain starts/stops as well as important information about your health and wellness.
Having worked in the PT space for three years, physical therapists are tremendous at assessing your issues and coming up with a treatment plan based on YOUR situation.
The best way to prevent hip injuries or severe pain from running is to make sure you’re taking the right precautions before, during, and after your runs. Make sure to warm up properly before each run and stretch afterward.
Incorporating strength training is also important for strengthening the muscles in your hips and legs. You should also make sure you’re wearing proper shoes that provide enough cushioning and support to avoid any unnecessary strain on your joints.
Finally, listen to your body - if something doesn’t feel right, take a break or reduce the intensity of your run.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should hip pain last with treatment?
It depends on the type of injury and severity. With proper treatment (rest, ice, compression, medications), most hip injuries will improve within 2-4 weeks. However, more serious injuries may take longer to heal. It’s important to consult a doctor if your pain persists or worsens over time.
Is it OK to run with a sore hip flexor?
No, it is not recommended to run with a sore hip flexor. It can worsen the injury and delay recovery time. You should take a break from running until the pain subsides and then gradually resume running as tolerated. Make sure to stretch before and after each run and wear proper shoes for support.
What exercises can I do if I have hip pain?
It depends on the type of injury. Generally, stretching and strengthening exercises can help reduce hip pain. You should consult a physical therapist or doctor for specific exercises that are best suited to your condition. Additionally, low-impact activities such as swimming, walking, and cycling are also good options for those with hip pain.
Does running make your hips tight?
Yes, running can make your hips tight if you don’t properly stretch before and after each run. Additionally, it’s important to wear proper shoes while running to ensure adequate cushioning and support for your joints. Make sure to incorporate some stretching and strengthening exercises into your routine as well to prevent any further tension in the area. With proper conditioning, you can keep your hips healthy and flexible.
How do I strengthen my hips for running?
Strengthening your hips for running is an important part of avoiding injury and improving performance. To do so, incorporate exercises such as squats, lunges, hip bridges, and lateral step-ups into your routine.
Work through a full range of motion with each exercise to ensure you are targeting all the muscles in the area. Additionally, make sure to stretch before and after each run to maintain flexibility in your hips. With proper conditioning, you can keep your hips strong and healthy while running.
Hip pain is a common complaint among runners. There are various causes for hip pain such as arthritis, stress fractures, tendinitis, and overuse injuries. To treat these conditions, rest and take anti-inflammatory medications.
You may also need to consider physical therapy or surgery if the injury is severe enough.
Additionally, there are several ways to prevent hip injuries from running, such as stretching properly before and after your run, wearing proper shoes for support, and using caution when increasing intensity. With the right treatment and prevention methods, you can keep your hips healthy and strong while enjoying the benefits of running.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Jeremy.
I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods