HIP HIP HOORAY—TIPS FOR BANISHING HIP PAIN
I’ve had pain in my hips during and after running for years but always just took it as part of the game. Yet, now I’m also waking in the morning to hip pain (in addition to my lower back pain!) and I thought it about time to find out how to get rid of it. I’ve been searching online for answers. But it seems each article or site I land on has it’s own “reason” for the pain and its own solution. So I’m distilling all this into what I can see are some answers that I can share with you.
Hip Arthritis—a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions your hip joints. Many people develop arthritis in their hips as they age.
Bursitis—an inflammation between your thighbone and nearby tendons
Tendinitis—an inflammation of the tendons that connect the gluteal muscles in your buttocks to the hipbone. It develops from muscle imbalance.
Overuse Injury—this especially happens when you increase your running or jogging distance too quickly. (The recommendation is not to increase by more than 10% per week.)
Spine Problems—spine arthritis, a pinched nerve, or bones in the spine rubbing together can create pain in the side of your hip.
Pain, from whatever the cause, will hopefully disappear with targeted exercise and stretching. Here’s some advice from Laura Newcomer in her December 21, 2018 Silver Sneaker article The Best and Worst Exercises for Bad Hips:
The Best Workouts for Bad Hips
The first step in fighting hip pain is simple: Move your body. If you sit a lot, even small amounts of movement or standing throughout your day can be beneficial. [Also, I’ve read you shouldn’t cross your legs.]
When it comes to your workouts, low-impact aerobic exercises are generally best and least likely to cause issues, says Kelton Vasileff, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “I recommend swimming, walking, elliptical, cycling, and stationary biking for general exercise,” he says. All of these are great ways to move your body without pounding your joints.
Strength training is another key part of the “do” category, Dr. Vasileff says. “It’s a good idea to focus on quad, hamstring, and glute strength,” he says. These muscles surround your hips and provide support, along with your core—which is another area to focus on. “Strengthening your core helps to normalize your walking pattern and stabilize how your pelvis and hips move,” Dr. Vasileff says. That translates to less pain and better hip mobility.
I’m including a couple of Dr. Vasileff’s “best” exercises in the specific stretches below. However, if you read the entire article, I don’t completely agree on what he considers the “worst” exercises. I think walking on uneven ground, hiking, squats and lunges, if done in moderation, should all be fine.
Also, try using a foam roller on both your hips and your glutes to help soothe your pain. Works for me!
Here are some stretches for hip pain that I’ve come across in my research and which I’ve tried myself. Better than me attempting to explain each one (probably resulting in your getting twisted in knots), just see how they’re performed on YouTube.
Figure 4 stretch
Mini squat using a chair
Knee to chest stretch
Side leg lift
For a terrific presentation of what hip pain entails, please watch this Your Aching Hip video by Dr. Jordan Metzl. It was filmed for Runner’s World, but is essential information for everyone. I also think the first stretch demonstrated here—the Figure 4 Stretch—is the best and I perform it each morning before I do much of anything else.
Also, don’t forget YOGA, probably the ultimate hip pain relief practice.