7 Ways to Relieve Hip Pain After Running

July 18, 2022

How to Relieve Hip Pain After Running

hip stretch

Running is a high-impact sport that puts a lot of stress on your hips. In fact, one study found that a force of up to five times a person’s body weight can be exerted on the hips while running. Over time, that stress can cause pain, discomfort, and even injury. Thankfully, there are ways to relieve pain and reduce your risk of injury. Our sports medicine specialists are weighing in with seven ways to ease hip pain after running.

7 Ways to Reduce Hip Pain from Running

Depending on your injury, your doctor may recommend or prescribe the following treatments to relieve hip pain:

 1. Get Some Rest

Rest days are an essential part of any running plan. Even when you’re healthy and pain-free, you should take two to three rest days per week to focus on light, low-impact exercises or stretching, instead of running.

If you’re dealing with a mild muscle strain or tendonitis in your hip, your doctor might suggest you take a longer break. For these injuries, one to two weeks “off” from running can give your body the time it needs to heal and recover.

2.  Apply Ice

Ice decreases pain by reducing inflammation and dulling the nerve endings that send pain signals to the brain. You can apply ice to your hip for 15 to 20 minutes every one to two hours, depending on the pain.

3. Use Over the Counter (OTC) Pain Medication

Anti-inflammatory medication, as the name implies, can relieve inflammation and swelling, and reduce pain. Over-the-counter medicines like naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin are available without a prescription and can provide relief.

Keep in mind that these medications are designed for short-term use. You should contact your doctor if your pain does not subside after a few days.

4. Stretch Before and After Your Run

Stretching promotes flexibility and strength and can help reduce joint stiffness to increase mobility and ease pain.

Try incorporating light hip flexor stretches with 3 to 5-second holds for 3 to 4 repetitions before and after running. Stretching may cause slight, temporary discomfort, but it should never worsen pain. If it does, you should stretch at a slower pace or see a doctor if the pain persists.

5. Train Your Hip Abductors

A recent study showed that runners with weak hip abductors are at greater risk for hip injury—especially when running longer distances. A hip abductor is a group of muscles, including the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and tensor fasciae latae (TFL). Working together, they help rotate and move the leg away from the body.

Training and strengthening your hip abductors can strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint, relieving your pain and increasing your stamina.

6. Build Up Your Endurance

Overexerting yourself during your workout can cause pain. If you’re experiencing hip pain, try running at a slower speed or lowering your mileage until you no longer have pain after running. Then, slowly increase your pace and mileage, as tolerated, over time.

You can apply this approach to elevation as well. Try running on flat terrain, which is less stressful on your hips. If you enjoy running on an incline, you can gradually re-introduce elevation over time, giving your body time to adjust.

7. Go to Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a common treatment for many athletic injuries. Your physical therapist will create a treatment plan to ease pain, build strength and improve function.

At Orlin & Cohen, our physical therapists also complete movement screenings for athletes, like runners, to identify weaknesses, limitations, and imbalances that can put you at higher risk for athletic injuries. After evaluating your movement, our physical therapists can create custom rehabilitation plans to correct movement deficits with simple exercises that help you improve your form and decrease your risk of injury.

8. When to See a Doctor for Hip Pain from Running

Most runners know the phrase, “run through the pain.” But the truth is, you shouldn’t. If you do, you risk doing more harm depending on your injury. When you feel pain while running, hip pain, or otherwise, you should stop running and see a doctor—especially if the pain is persistent for a couple of days or more.

At Orlin & Cohen, our top-ranked orthopedists include hip and sports medicine specialists, who have successfully treated athletic injuries for runners and active individuals across Long Island and the tri-state area. As the region’s premier orthopedic practice, our fellowship-trained specialists work with our in-house diagnostic team and licensed physical therapists to develop and implement a treatment plan to get you up and running without the pain. Request an appointment.

Related Reading: Learn more about reducing the risk of sports-related injuries.