If you are a runner you are likely to have experienced pain or discomfort on the lateral side of your hip. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint that consists of the head (ball) of the femur articulating with the acetabulum (socket) of the pelvis. It is a multiaxial joint which means there should be a wide range of motion allowed. It is a similar joint to the shoulder joint but is designed for more stability and weight bearing.
The prominent anatomical point along the outside of the femur is called the greater trochanter, which is where most people vocalize their lateral hip pain is located. There is a bursa (fluid-filled sac) right over the greater trochanter so this is thought to be the source of the pain but it is most of the time a secondary cause of their pain due to another dysfunction. The most common cause of lateral hip pain in runners is Gluteal Tendinopathy. Most people think of the big Gluteus Maximus but this muscle inserts and contributes to the IT Band. The Smaller Glute Medius and Glute Minimus are the villains here. They both insert onto the greater trochanter (remember how I mentioned the bursa is located there as well earlier?) and can overload the gluteal tendon causing tendinopathy.
Symptoms commonly include pain during:
-Palpation of the lateral hip
-Walking or running
-Climbing steps, hills, stairs, etc
-Standing on one leg for more than a few seconds
That last symptom is super unique to runners in the fact that running is a single-leg sport and demands the hip to be stable in single-leg and lateral movements. Early on in treatment, my first approach would be to use shockwave therapy and myofascial release of the muscles that have become overloaded and painful. Dr. Cameron also utilizes acupuncture and dry needling in the area, which has been proven to have great results as well. Running shoes, running surfaces, and sleeping positions can all be considered or modified. Running intensity and/or volume may have to be temporarily decreased until you can regain the function and stability of the affected hip. Once the pain is decreased and the hip range of motion is increased you can start with exercises like isometrics that do not aggravate the patient’s symptoms. As you progress you can incorporate more weight-bearing and single-leg exercises to strengthen the hip and what the tissue is able to handle. This will not only get you out of pain but also decrease the chance that it will return since your hip is more resilient!
If you're interested in seeing some examples of hip exercises we recommend to patients, don't forget to check out our YouTube Channel. All you have to look up is Strength & Spine Chiropractic and you can see all our recommended exercises. Don't forget to check out our Instagram where we post helpful tips daily!
Are you interested in how we can help you along your running journey or want more information about your lateral hip pain? Give us a call today at 727-228-3030 or schedule an appointment online at strengthchiro.com