3 Simple Strategies to Reduce Hip Pain with Walking and Running
Do you experience hip pain during or after walking or running?
If so, you are not alone! Hip pain associated with walking or running is one of the most common reasons people visit our Hip Pain Professionals. The hip joints, muscles and tendons must absorb not only the load of your bodyweight during these weightbearing activities, but also the acceleration and deceleration forces imposed by gravity and movement. There are many factors that may influence the amount of force your hips are exposed to and the ability of your joints and muscles to absorb these forces without pain or injury. In today’s blog we are going to share 3 simple strategies that we find helpful for people with many different hip conditions.
How can you reduce your hip pain walking or running?
In this week’s blog we are going to share 3 simple strategies to decrease your hip pain while running/walking, that we find helpful for people with many different hip conditions.
1. Shorten your stride.
Are you an overstrider? Do others struggle to keep up with you, stride for stride?
Overstriding is a term used to describe walking or running with a particularly long stride or step length.
Key reasons for overstriding:
- Power-walking – often when walkers are trying to get their heart rate up, stride length is increased excessively
- Walking or running with a taller exercise partner and trying to match their stride length and pace
- Being in a hurry – to get somewhere or to get to a finish line!
- Walking on a treadmill – as a treadmill pulls the foot backwards, this may result in the hip moving into more extension (behind the body) before the foot is lifted.
2. Walk and run quietly
Have your family or housemates ever commented on what a noisy walker you are?
Hitting the ground with a noisy, heavy heel strike is often linked to overstriding, but not always. Even if you are not an overstrider, take a moment to listen to yourself walking or running. A harsh heel strike can result in higher forces being transmitted to the hip. If you are hitting a step target of 10,000 steps a day, these forces add up. The great news is that changing these forces when you walk or run, can make a huge and rapid difference to types of hip pain that are related to impact forces.
So, listen to yourself as you walk or run and if you hear yourself thumping the ground each time your foot hits the ground, walk or run more softly by simply trying to decrease the sound of your foot falls.
3. More flats – Less hills
Do you find your hip pain is worse during or after taking to the hills for your walk or run?
Why? Well, for a start, hills are harder. In the same way that you get more out of breath when walking uphill, your legs must work harder to push you up a hill, particularly the muscles of the buttock (gluteals), back of the thighs (hamstrings) and calves. Particular body, hip and thigh positions and actions during hill walking can also increase some of the more challenging loads for tendons of the hips and pelvis. This may for some people result in pain aggravation. Gluteal and hamstring tendon pain around the sides of the hips and lower buttock, can both be especially irritated by uphill walking. So, try sticking to the flats for a while and see if it makes a difference to your hip or pelvic pain.
So, don’t just sit on the couch! Complete rest is rarely the answer. Try our top tips and visit one of our Hip Pain Professionals here.
How a Hip Pain Professional can Help
Hip Pain Professionals involved in rehabilitation and exercise prescription such as physiotherapists/physical therapists or exercise physiologists can:
- Perform a walking or running assessment. This may involve collecting video footage of your walking or running style for analysis.
- Take you through a physical assessment to find our whether there are factors such as weakness, tightness or reduced coordination, that might be contributing to hip or pelvic pain during walking or running.
- Design an individualised walking/running conditioning program for you. This may include technique changes, specific exercises, walking or running drills and a progressive plan to help you with your walking or running.
- In some cases, provide or recommend a walking aid to assist with managing pain and keeping active, either in the shorter or longer term depending on the problem. Short term use of an aid often helps provide a quicker recovery and avoid developing pain in other areas that are overloaded by limping or walking poorly. Remember an aid doesn’t have to be a walking stick, you can use a crutch or Nordic walking poles – keep an eye on our weekly blogs to learn more on this topic.
Visit one of our Hip Pain Professionals here.
Don’t miss our next blog……
From this blog, you can appreciate that there are small changes that you can make to everyday things you do, with often powerful effects in reducing your hip or pelvic pain. If you are struggling to put any of this into action don’t forget that you can discuss this blog with your Hip Pain Professional who can help guide you through the changes in what you are doing when you walk or run.
In our next blog, we’ll look more at “load management”, including more on hills. Load management examines what types of activities you are doing, how you are doing them, how much to do in one session and how often. Careful consideration and planning of your activity levels can also be extremely effective in making your hips happier. – Check out next week to find out more!
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