Why Does My Left Hip Hurt After Running

Why Does My Left Hip Hurt After Running?

Running is a popular form of exercise that offers numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, weight management, and stress reduction. However, it is not uncommon for runners to experience discomfort or pain, particularly in their hips. If you have been wondering why your left hip hurts after running, this article will provide you with some insights and possible explanations. Additionally, we will explore five interesting facts related to hip pain after running, followed by answers to 14 common questions at the end.

1. Overuse and muscle imbalances: One of the most common causes of hip pain after running is overuse. Repetitive motions, such as running, can lead to muscle imbalances and strains. If you have weak hip muscles or tight hip flexors, it can cause increased stress on the joint, leading to discomfort or pain.

2. IT band syndrome: The iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh, from the hip to the knee. When the IT band becomes tight or inflamed, it can cause hip pain. This condition, known as IT band syndrome, often occurs due to overuse or running on uneven surfaces.

3. Bursitis: Another possible cause of left hip pain after running is bursitis. Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints. When these bursae become inflamed, typically due to repetitive motion or excessive pressure, it can lead to hip pain. Bursitis can be especially common in runners who have tight hip muscles or improper running form.

4. Stress fractures: Although less common, stress fractures can occur in the hip joint, leading to pain after running. Stress fractures are small cracks in the bone caused by repetitive stress. Runners who suddenly increase their training intensity or mileage are more susceptible to stress fractures.

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5. Hip impingement: Hip impingement, also known as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), is a condition where the bones of the hip joint rub against each other, causing pain and limited range of motion. This condition can be exacerbated by activities such as running, particularly if there are anatomical abnormalities in the hip joint.

Now, let’s address some common questions related to hip pain after running:

1. Should I continue running if my left hip hurts?
If you experience pain while running, it is generally recommended to take a break and allow your body to heal. Continuing to run with hip pain can worsen the condition and potentially lead to more serious injuries.

2. How long should I rest if my left hip hurts after running?
The duration of rest depends on the severity of the pain and the underlying cause. It is advisable to rest for at least a few days and gradually reintroduce running once the pain subsides. If the pain persists, consult a healthcare professional.

3. Are there any exercises that can help prevent hip pain?
Strengthening exercises, such as hip bridges, clamshells, and lateral leg raises, can help improve hip stability and prevent muscle imbalances that contribute to hip pain. Stretching exercises targeting the hip flexors and IT band can also be beneficial.

4. Should I use ice or heat for hip pain after running?
In the acute phase, when the pain is intense, ice can help reduce inflammation. Applying ice for 15-20 minutes several times a day can provide relief. Heat therapy, such as warm baths or heating pads, can be used in the subacute or chronic phase to relax tight muscles.

5. Can running shoes affect hip pain?
Yes, running shoes play a crucial role in preventing hip pain. Worn-out or improper shoes can lead to poor shock absorption and faulty biomechanics, increasing the risk of hip injuries. Ensure you have appropriate running shoes that suit your foot type and running style.

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6. Will losing weight help relieve hip pain?
Losing weight can potentially alleviate hip pain since excess weight puts additional stress on the hip joint. However, it is essential to address any underlying injury or condition causing the pain for long-term relief.

7. Is it normal to experience hip pain during long-distance running?
It is not uncommon for runners to experience hip pain during long-distance running. However, if the pain becomes severe or persists even after rest, it is advisable to seek medical advice.

8. Can a chiropractor or physical therapist help with hip pain?
Yes, chiropractors and physical therapists can play a significant role in diagnosing and treating hip pain. They can provide targeted exercises, manual therapy, and advice on proper running form to address the root cause of the pain.

9. Should I try running through the pain to build tolerance?
Running through pain is generally discouraged, as it can lead to further damage and delay the healing process. It is crucial to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs.

10. Can running on softer surfaces help prevent hip pain?
Running on softer surfaces, such as grass or trails, can reduce the impact on your joints and potentially alleviate hip pain. However, it is essential to gradually transition to these surfaces to avoid other injuries.

11. Can tight hamstrings contribute to hip pain?
Yes, tight hamstrings can contribute to hip pain, as they can alter the mechanics of the hip joint and increase stress on the muscles and tendons around the hip. Regular stretching can help relieve this tightness.

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12. When should I seek medical attention for hip pain?
If your hip pain is severe, persists for an extended period, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as swelling or difficulty walking, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

13. Can hip pain after running be prevented?
While it is not always possible to prevent hip pain entirely, certain measures can reduce the risk. These include proper warm-up and cool-down routines, gradual increases in training intensity, adequate rest periods, and maintaining good running form.

14. Should I cross-train if my hip hurts after running?
Cross-training, such as swimming or cycling, can be an excellent alternative to running when experiencing hip pain. It allows you to maintain cardiovascular fitness while giving your hip joint a break from the repetitive impact of running.

In conclusion, left hip pain after running can have various causes, including muscle imbalances, IT band syndrome, bursitis, stress fractures, or hip impingement. It is crucial to identify the underlying cause and address it appropriately to prevent further injury. If you experience persistent or severe hip pain, consulting a healthcare professional is advisable to develop an individualized treatment plan. Remember, listening to your body, taking proper rest, and incorporating strength and flexibility exercises can go a long way in preventing and managing hip pain after running.


  • Laura @ 262.run

    Laura, a fitness aficionado, authors influential health and fitness write ups that's a blend of wellness insights and celebrity fitness highlights. Armed with a sports science degree and certified personal training experience, she provides expertise in workouts, nutrition, and celebrity fitness routines. Her engaging content inspires readers to adopt healthier lifestyles while offering a glimpse into the fitness regimens of celebrities and athletes. Laura's dedication and knowledge make her a go-to source for fitness and entertainment enthusiasts.