How to Prevent Hip Flexor Pain While Running

Submitted by Allan on May 24, 2013

Pain in the hip or pelvic region is a common occurrence amongst runners, especially those who are not careful and tend to overdo it. The main causes of hip pain while running are due to hip flexor strains, stress fractures, piriformis syndrome and IT band bursitis. Hip pain should be taken seriously and not ignored even if it is mild since further running may aggravate the injury.


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If you experience any pain in your hip region while running you should consult your physician immediately. The pain you experience may come from a number of sources including the muscles, tendons, bones, joints or the bursa. There are several muscles and tendons including the hip flexor muscles and the hip extensor muscles that may be affected since they are all involved with the action of running.

Preventive Measures

Preventing injury to your hip flexor muscles involves a common sense approach to running. You will need to keep within your limits and not over exert yourself. This can be done by paying close attention to the many warning signals that your body gives off. Any pain or discomfort may be a signal that you should ease up rather than putting an additional strain on your body. If you are a beginner, you will need to keep the length of your run short and the speed low, gradually increasing the tempo once your body has become used to the exercise.

Stretching and other warm up exercises prior to running are essential to preventing injury. Warm up exercises help to loosen the joints and increase the flow of blood to the muscles. Hip flexor muscles can be stretched while you are standing by bending one hip and knee backwards and grabbing the ankle with your hand on the same side. You can then slowly pull your heel backwards, thereby stretching the muscles. Repeat the stretch on the opposite side. Cooling down afterwards is also essential as it helps to relieve muscle tension.

Increasing Running Volume

Hip flexor injuries are commonly caused by overdoing things. Minor strains such as a sore hip are often ignored and these can pile up resulting in a major tear. Running volume, a measure of the distance run, needs to be increased very gradually to prevent injury due to overexertion. Beginners should aim to increase their mileage by not more than 5% every week while more experienced runners should limit themselves to a 10% increase. This will help lower the risk of these types of injuries.

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