Running is a form of exercise that many people utilize to stay in shape, lose weight, and reduce stress, among other reasons. While many avid runners do their best to ignore hip pain while on the road, trail, track, or treadmill, there is a point when their pain forces them to seek care. Let’s discuss the most common causes of hip pain seen in recreational runners…
There are two main categories of hip pain: intra-articular (within the joint itself) and extra-articular (outside of the joint). The most common causes of intra-articular hip pain are osteoarthritis and labral tears. Perhaps the most common cause of extra-articular hip pain is bursitis.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is caused by wear and tear often tied to sports and/or weight bearing occupations, and it is more common in the elderly. Your doctor of chiropractic is well-versed in identifying those with OA-related hip pain and can manage the disease up to the end-stage when “bone-on-bone” contact occurs. At that point, hip replacement becomes the standard of care.
Labral tears can be trickier to identify because advanced imaging such as MRI is often needed since the labrum does not appear on standard x-rays. If a tear is present, then care will focus on improving range of motion and flexibility, as well as addressing muscular imbalances in the hip and associated areas.
Bursitis occurs when the bursa—a fluid-filled sac that lubricates areas where friction is common such as at muscle-tendon attachments to bone—becomes inflamed, which can cause pain and affect joint motion. In the hip, there are two major bursae—one at the greater trochanter (the bone that sticks out of the side of the hip by our pants front pocket) and the other at the ischial tuberosity (the “sitting bones” in the buttocks). Another hip bursa is the iliopectineal located in the front of the hip in the groin area in front of the hip and under the hip flexor muscle. Chiropractors frequently manage bursitis using a combination of manual therapies, physical therapy modalities, activity modifications, and home instructions on ice massage and exercise training.
Doctors of chiropractic are well versed in managing many common conditions that affect the hip, as well as conditions in the low back, sacrum, buttocks, pelvis, and lower extremities that can contribute to or co-occur with hip pain. For runners, as with most patients, one of the primary goals of treatment is to reduce pain and restore function so that they can resume their normal activities as quickly as possible.