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hip pain in runners

4 Common Causes of Hip Pain in Runners

by Paige Gibbens, PT, DPTLeave a Comment

Running is a common form of exercise that people of all ages can and do participate in. Mobility, strengthening, running mechanics, and stabilization are critical factors to consider when beginning a running program. Without proper mobility, strengthening, and stabilization, one can develop hip pain.

Hip pain is very common in runners, can vary from the front, side, or back of the hip, and has many different causes. Hip pain specifically could be caused by poor movement patterns and weakness in the hip, but also could be caused by poor core strength or an old injury to the low back, knee, or even ankle. Below you will find the four most common causes of hip pain and what you can do about it.

1. Weakness & Reduced Range of Motion

Running puts a lot of force on the hips – in fact, up to 5 times a person’s body weight.1 With this amount of force being exerted through the hips with each running step, the muscles of the hips, core, and legs must be strong to help take some of the force off of the hip joint itself. If running is performed without proper strength, compensatory patterns can be adapted causing pain from improper muscle use.

When running, the hips need to be able to move through a specific amount of motion. If the hips do not move adequately, something else has to in order for running to be efficient. This could cause increased stress on the hip joint due to the lack of mobility causing pain.

2. Overuse

A lot of running injuries come from overuse. While running is a fun and enjoyable form of exercise for all people, it puts a lot of stress on the body. It is important to perform different kinds of training methods to reduce overuse injuries. Incorporating cross-training with cycling, swimming, weight lifting, and high intensity interval training can help to reduce overuse injuries and improve muscular strength and range of motion as discussed above.

3. Dysfunctional Tissues

A true tissue dysfunction could cause hip pain and could include but are not limited to labral tears or stress fractures. If there is a true dysfunction, this is when it is very important to seek professional advice from a physical therapist. While these can heal, it important to consult an expert to ensure proper healing and treatment to get back to running without furthering the damage/dysfunction.

4. Other Body Parts

The whole body is involved in a task like running, which means the whole body could be a cause of hip pain. It is important to have mobility through the middle of the back, stability at the lower back, mobility at the hips, stability at the knees, and mobility at the foot/ankle. Making sure you are taking care of your whole body is very important to prevent hip injuries when running.

Meet with an Athletico Endurance or Hip Preservation Expert

Preventing injury with proper technique and different training methods is an effective and efficient way to improve physical fitness and prevent injuries for runners. Building an all-inclusive program is the key to success for runners.

If you notice abnormal soreness, aches, or pains with a cross-training routine or during your running, start at Athletico by scheduling a Free Assessment. An Athletico expert will assess your pain and provide recommendations for a treatment plan which may include starting physical therapy the same day. Free assessments are available via telehealth or in-clinic.

Request a Free Assessment

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Giarmatzis, G., Jonkers, I., Wesseling, M., Van Rossom, S., & Verschueren, S. (2015). Loading of hip measured by hip contact forces at different speeds of walking and running. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 30(8), 1431–1440.
2. Hip pain while running. Memorial hermann. (n.d.).
3. Landis, J. (n.d.). A Runner’s Guide to Hip Pain . Women’s running .
4. Nmortho. (2018, December 8). Everything You Need to Know About Hip Pain Caused by Running. New Mexico Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.

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About the Author:
Paige Gibbens is a physical therapist specializing in lower extremity treatments and is certified in dry needling and Graston. She is also the Missouri & Southern Illinois regional coordinator for Athletico's Endurance Program.

Read more health resources related to these topics:

EnduranceHip PainMarathonRunninghip pain in runnersrunning injuries

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