Causes & Relief For Hip Pain After Running

If you experience hip pain after running, it can make getting that crucial exercise even more difficult, discouraging you from getting your workout in. The last thing you want when trying to stay healthy is injuring yourself in the process.

But, even worse, this type of pain in your hips can interfere with your other hobbies or even your work. Lucky for you, we are going to explain why your hip flexors hurt after running, and give you a timeline for how long it should persist.

 After that, we’ll cover how to relieve hip pain after running. Whether you prefer the open road or a treadmill, let’s get you back to running and burning those calories!

Can Running Damage Your Hips?

When you first notice your hip hurts after running, you may wonder if running can actually damage your hips. After all, this is supposed to be one of the most beneficial exercises one can partake in, right? You may even start comparing walking vs running.

Benefits of Running

It’s no secret that running has benefits both physically and mentally. From cardiovascular health to keeping depression and anxiety at bay, here is a non-exhaustive list of the benefits of running:

  • Increases bone & joint strength, preventing impact injuries
  • Strengthens muscles – both raw strength wise and endurance wise
  • Burns calories, melting fat off your body and sculpting your physique from head to toe
  • Improves cardiovascular health, keeping your heart ticking as intended
  • A completely natural form of stress relief, allowing you to keep your mental health in check

These are just a few of the benefits of running. When you look for drawbacks to taking a run every morning, you really can’t point your finger to anything in particular.

That is, if you exercise correctly – understanding proper running mechanics, ensuring you warm up and cooldown properly, get enough rest, maintain proper posture, and have your nutrition and supplement game optimized.

But, people who check off each of these boxes are far and few between. Thus, over time, you may notice your hip hurts after running.

This is typically the result of overuse and comes on over time. Sometimes, though, it’ll be an immediate injury.

How Long Does Hip Pain Last After Running?

The duration which your hip pain will last after running depends on the type of injury, severity of injury, and what you do about it.

If you ignore the pain, and continue your typical running routine, you’ll only aggravate and prolong the pain.

But, if you take the time to rest and actively treat the injury, you can recover and get back to running pretty quickly. Let’s look at some specific causes now.

Why Do My Hip Flexors Hurt After Running?

We just briefly mentioned that hip pain after running can be the result of an overuse injury, such as hip bursitis, or an immediate injury, such as a hip impingement.

The truth is, it’s tough to pinpoint why exactly your hip flexors hurt after running. However, by knowing the most common causes, you can look at the big picture, evaluate secondary symptoms, and get down to the root cause of your hip pain after running.

Hip Flexor Tendonitis

One of the most common reasons your hip hurts after running is hip flexor tendinitis. This is an overuse injury, and is essentially a condition where your hip flexors become very inflamed.

It can cause aching pain, tightness in your hips, and feels worst while actually running. However, the pain will persist after your run as well.

This is a relatively easy injury to treat, though. Most often, you can clear it up with the RICE method, and at the worst case, physical therapy.

IT Band Syndrome

If your outside hip hurts after running, it is very likely you’re suffering from IT Band Syndrome (Iliotibial band). Also known as ITBS, this condition causes tenderness not just in the hip flexor – but the entire outer region of the thigh, along with the knee in some instances.

Your IT band is a connective tissue running along the entirety of the outside of your thigh, and it can become aggravated from prolonged overuse. You may feel a popping or clicking when raising your leg, or lifting your hip to your chest.

Again, this condition can be treated with simple rest, ice, and NSAIDs. However, to fully recover from IT band syndrome, you should stretch the IT band and even seek out massage work to loosen up the fascia there. Physical therapy is a great option for this.

Hip Bursitis

Similar to how we have our discs to act as shock absorbers for our spine, we have bursa in our hip to absorb force and cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles of this complicated joint.

When these bursa become aggravated and inflamed, it is known as hip bursitis. This is pretty common in situations where the hips are put under repetitive stress, such as running.

Along with the hip pain after running, you can expect swelling, redness, and overall irritation. While this injury is a bit more serious than any we’ve mentioned thus far, it too can heal with rest, ice, and NSAIDs. However, there are instances where you’ll need steroid injections to help break up inflammation.

We also recommend you see a physical therapist for this, as they’ll help you strengthen the hip joint and show you how to undergo the motions of hip flexion properly. This will take some of the pressure off your bursa in the long term, preventing a future flare up.

Hip Labrum Tear

While every cause for why your hip huts after running thus far has been related to overuse, a hip labrum tear can occur instantaneously, leaving you in pain and wondering what happened.

Make no mistake though, this injury is the result of overuse – it just may not present itself slowly over time.

You’ll have severe hip pain at the site of the tear, and your mobility will be drastically compromised. Other symptoms of a hip labrum tear include clicking or a catching sound when you move.

While surgery is not off the table for a labrum tear, you may be able to fully recover with some initial RICE protocol, followed by physical therapy and periodic steroid injections.

How Do I Relieve Hip Pain From Running?

As you can see, there are no shortage of reasons your hip hurts after running. But the common theme across all these ailments is that you should give yourself time off.

After a period where you rest, ice, and clear up inflammation, you can incorporate some hip stretches and strengthening exercises for the glutes. This will help prevent more hip pain after running in the future.

Then, slowly work your way back into your running routine, starting with walks, then jogs, and ultimately, hitting the road with full intensity!

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Stevie Compango, CNSC, CPT

Stevie is Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for the past 10 years. He specializes in mobility and chronic pain management. His methods have helped thousands of clients improve the quality of their life through movement.

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