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Ask the Trainer: how to reduce hip pain

Chris Freytag

Fitness expert Chris Freytag

Hip pain after running is a common complaint, especially among female runners. In this week’s Ask the Trainer article, Chris Freytag addresses a question about hip pain from a runner who is concerned that her jogging days may be over as a result of post-workout symptoms.

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Get Your Rear in Gear Reader: I’ve developed a pain in my hip from running. It is at the top at the same level as by navel, not in the joint. What is this from? What exercises can I do to recover? Are my running days over?

Chris Freytag: It is estimated that 70 percent of runners sustain an overuse injury each year and hip pain is a common complaint.  Without knowing exactly your running habits, stride, etc.  I couldn’t pinpoint your problem and often the best first line of defense is a chiropractor or a physical therapist.

That being said, the hip muscles are responsible for stabilizing the leg during running and if they are weak, strengthening your hips is also a good place to start.  Hit the gym and find an abductor machine to work your outer hips. Use exercises like squats, lunges and leg lifts to strengthen the hip flexors and work the gluteus medius muscle, which is the hip stabilizer.

And don’t forget to stretch your hip flexors.  As important as strengthening the hip flexors is stretching them.  A runners lunge or pigeon pose are my favorite stretches for the hip area.   Stretch your hips after every workout and hold each stretch for at least 20-40 seconds.  Healthy hips will hopefully help prevent injuries in the future.

Chris Freytag is a nationally known fitness expert on NBC-TV, the fitness expert for Prevention magazine, and author of 3 books. Chris holds a BA in Journalism and is a certified Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle and Weight Management consultant.  Visit her website for more information about her products or exercise DVDs.

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