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16721 Views 23 Replies Latest reply: May 12, 2014 11:57 AM by BethLewis92 1 2 Previous Next
BethLewis92 Rookie 6 posts since
Dec 19, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Mar 5, 2014 11:57 AM

Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

Good Afternoon Runners,  

I'm 48 years old, 130 pounds, and recently decided to train for my first half marathon coming up on April 26th in Ocean City, Maryland.   I'm retired Army (since 2007) and have always been in great shape and injury free.    I was unemployed for a few months so needed to motivate myself to get moving, thus the sign up for the half marathon.    I'm using a great 12 week training program, doing my long runs on the weekends and increasing the long runs by one mile each week.    I've been watching my diet, increasing proteins and water and such, even dropped about 8 pounds over the last 4 weeks, but I still can't stretch enough to overcome this nasty hip pain that I have after my runs.    The long runs are painful afterwards, yes, but even more are the shorter 3 mile runs two days after!     I'm popping anti-inflammatory meds like they were M&M's, which I don't like to do.   I'm using the hot tub nightly, sleeping with a large pillow under my knees (now sleeping on my side is a bit painful at times), rotating my shoes, run on both sides of the road, do treadmill work at least once a week, hit the pool weekly for laps, even took three days off last week to rest up.  But the first little 3 mile run put me back into the same deep muscle pain in my hips and glutes.  


I've read articles that talk about hip pain due to one leg being slightly shorter than the other, but wouldn't that result in pain on one side only?    I'm so excited about this run, I don't want to stop training for this, but I just can't find the right solution; other than going to see a sports medicine physician (who will probably tell me to stop running).   I do daily yoga stretches that include the downward dog and one that involves bringing one leg forward, then bending it, leaning over as far as possible, to stretch the hammy and glutes.    These feel great, but still not helping much.   Should I give it a few more weeks with the yoga stretches or are there other stretches I should be trying?    Should I be doing more leg exercises on my off days?


I'm Army tough, I WILL finish this race, I'll run through the pain, but I'd rather not.  I want to finish this race and be comfortable enough to walk up right and not be couch-bound for the next few days to recover (my girlfriend did this and she was miserable.   She didn't train properly).   any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated!



  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
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    1. Mar 5, 2014 4:38 PM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    Honestly, I don't think stretching will help much.  Strengthening may very well though.  Hip pain has a number of possible causes depending on where it is.  The other thing is you don't say what your running experience was prior to beginning training for the half-marathon.  Hopefully you had at least 6 months of progressive running experience before starting your plan, starting short and slow with at least one rest day between running days, and building up over several months.  Taking a lot of anti-inflammatories is not the greatest idea (it has a whole lot of downside), nor is running through the pain.  You need to determine and address the cause and probably should take a break until you can do that.  You may have to give up the idea of running the race if you want to be able to run comfortably for the rest of your (hopefully long) life.


  • bbee42 Pro 78 posts since
    Aug 8, 2011
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    2. Mar 6, 2014 4:34 PM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Re: Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    As unfun as it sounds, you might try doing an ice bath, within an hour of the training runs.  I'm a total hypocrite on that one though.  I hear they are great.  I haven't quite brought myself to try one.

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  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Mar 7, 2014 8:12 AM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Re: Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    Ice baths have similar effects to taking ibuprofen.  They reduce immediate muscle soreness, but according to recent studies, do little or nothing to promote healing.  And may even inhibit healing.  They tend to work short term for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), but it doesn't sound like that is your problem.  DOMS is usually due to overdoing it in a workout and goes away in a couple days.  


    You can get an effect almost the same as an ice bath by turning your shower on cold and aiming it at the affected area.  There are possible side effects including rapid heartrate and increased blood pressure.


    Anyway, I think you would be better off trying to strengthen the muscles that are being overstressed.  Here is one brief article.

    This article has stretches and strengthening exercises.


    Massage or use of a foam roller may help as well.


  • singingsharon Rookie 2 posts since
    Apr 6, 2009
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    6. Mar 12, 2014 6:38 AM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    Try a foam roller and definitely add strength training. You can find some good youtubes on how to effectively use your foam roller. Sometimes it's actually knots in the quads, hams, or glutes that menifests as hip pain.

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
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    7. Mar 12, 2014 7:00 AM (in response to singingsharon)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    I do a set of rope stretches after I run and believe that help my hips a lot.  You can search rope stretches!  Foam rollers will also help, I also take ice baths in the heavy part of my training I think they help me recovery faster but I don't think they will help your issue!  Some correct strength training would also help.  Best advice see a PT who deals with runners and have them set you up with a program!

  • DupysMom Rookie 1 posts since
    May 30, 2007
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    8. Mar 12, 2014 7:13 AM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    I my self suffer from hip pain. When you mention not being able to sleep on your side this may be a sign that you have bursitis, caused by over use. I know this since I developed this my self. You should see your doctor to get the correct diagnosis and treatment. See a sports doctor and let them know that you will not give up your running but instead need treatment. I have been running for 3 years now, I'm 56 and love the sport. I have run 12 full marathons and 15 a 1/2's. My doctor gave me a cortisone shot, sent me to physical therapy. I did end up taking 8 weeks off from running....I almost went stir crazy but I would rather take off 8 weeks than have to give up running all together!  now I use a heating pad 20 minutes before my run to warm up my muscles around the hip area. After my run I immediately stretch then apply an ice pack for my ride home. My PT gave me a series of stretches to do 3 times a day without fail. Bursitis takes a long time to heal, I developed mine in October and can still feel it but I'm managing it. Also and most importantly I can still run. You mentioned running a 1/2 marathon, that's great but if you have to run the race in excruciating pain I would recommend getting better first and sign up for another race in the future. Running is so much fun and even better pain free.....Good Luck.

  • rhonda rhonda Amateur 10 posts since
    Sep 14, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Mar 12, 2014 8:05 AM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    A few things stood out to me in your question:


    1) you are a new runner and going straight from a 5k to a half marathon. This suggests to me that you might be trying to ramp up too fast.


    2) running through the pain. Don't. I know you're army, but don't. That's how you do permanent damage. Take a break; it might need to be a few months, but bodies take time to heal. When you start again, start slow and easy and build up slow and easy. (I'm in the rebuild phase right now. it's FRUSTRATING. But I don't want to re-do my injury and have to stop running again. Since I can't push distance too fast, I'm pushing speed right now. I should have my best ever 5k by a wide margin when I race next! And I'll get back up to half marathon one day. If I do this right, I'll run a half next year.)


    3) you list a couple of stretches you're doing to try to relieve the pain. How flexible are you? a) standing with legs straight, can you touch the floor and if so, with how much of your hands? b) is your glute/hamstring stretch one of these?  If so, which one, and how far can you go in the stretch?


    The reason I ask is that I had to take a few months off running for hip pain. My answer to the stretching questions above was a) palms flat on the floor, and b) in "seated spinal twist" on the link, I could put my knee in my opposite armpit. It turns out I'm excessively flexible and the ligaments around my joints aren't strong enough to keep my joints in line. (I would also have knee pain when cycling up a hill; if I made a conscious effort to activate the muscles around the knee while pushing the pedal, the pain went away.) Rehab specialist banned me from stretching at all. I'm allowed basic range-of-motion warmup dynamic "stretches", but nothing that is intended to increase flexibility. (That includes yoga, unfortunately.) I was also given a set of exercises intended to strengthen the muscles around my joints, and when I'm doing those and when I'm running (and when I'm doing everything, actually) I make a conscious effort to keep my joints in line. It's helping.


    If you are also very flexible, this might be something you should look at. Go talk to a sports doctor either way, it could be something else too.


    Pain is the body's way of saying something is wrong; ignore it at your peril.


    (Note: DOMS and that tired heavy muscle ache from a hard workout do not count as pain to me, therefore "no pain no gain" is 100% wrong in my eyes.)

  • JeffreyWang3 Rookie 3 posts since
    Aug 4, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Mar 12, 2014 8:19 AM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    I am having the same pain as you since last sunday after i ran 18 miles first time ever according to my training plan. this happened once about half year ago 2 weeks before I ran my 1st 1/2 marathon. so i am not as panic as last time, even though it's still hurting lightly today (the 3rd day). I would say it's because you run TOO FAST TOO LONG and your glutes (or the musle group on butt) are not strong enough. With very patient stretches, and more important, rests & sleeps, they can recover in 3 ~ 5 days. I could finish my 1st 1/2 marathon without feeling pain at all last time. I am sure you have enough time to heal for your Apr. 26th race. Eventually I will run my 1st full marathon on the same day.

    I was thinking swimming is good for recovery after long run, but it might not be correct. my pain this time happened after I swam 1000yd on Monday when I felt ok after sunday long run. then on Tuesday, it became painful from sore on my left butt. so I only do stretch & walk (don't sit too long).

    I have been running for 1 year and am at the same age as you. I do cold water shower on my legs after intensive trainings. I think it works very well for recovery and makes me feel comfortable on second day after long run.

    Happy running!


  • FranBridges Rookie 1 posts since
    Aug 27, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Mar 12, 2014 1:34 PM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    I have had similar issues. This is what works for me:


    - foam roller 2/day

    - focusing on core strength and low back, hamstring stretches

    - on runners world .com there is a hip strengthening video. I have tried to incorporate these exercises as well with good results


    Best of Luck



  • cegger53 Rookie 2 posts since
    Nov 5, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Mar 19, 2014 8:14 AM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    I was having pain in my hips a couple of years ago too.  So much so that it would wake me at night.  I dumped my wore out old running shoes and started running barefoot.  Not in 'barefoot' shoes, but barefoot, skin touching the ground, barefoot and I haven't had any hip pain since.  It took me 2 year to make the transistion complely.  Now I can't stand wearing shoes, but I'm not hear to advicotate barefoot running to anyone unlees you really want to do it.  The important thing to know, for me it completely changed the way my foot was striking the ground.  I was a bad heal striker with shoes, now my foot strikes mid to fore foot almost directly under my body.  It has increased my speed and made running long distances much less tramutic on my body.  I don't streatch much or warm up much and don't own a foam roller.  I'm 47 and weigh a lot more than 130....


    My advice would be to look at how you foot strikes the ground and where is strikes the ground in relation to the center point of your body.


    The human body was built to run, just not with modern running shoes.

  • AlekGr Rookie 1 posts since
    Feb 11, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Mar 19, 2014 8:52 AM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain

    Hi Beth,

    I am a yoga teacher and I don't know if these will definitely help, but here are a few hip stretches you could try. Make sure you are warm when you do these.. maybe do them shortly after your run before you've cooled down.  Hold them at least 30 seconds, working your way up to two minutes each.  And make sure you do both sides...(:

    1.  Runner's lunge or low lunge- one foot in front of the other, very wide, front knee bent at about 90 degrees and directly over front ankle.  Back leg stretched behind you, back heel directly over ball of foot.  Hips sinking toward floor.  Bend back knee to soften, straighten back knee and squeeze your quads to make it more intense.  Good for stretching the front hip/hip flexor region. 

    2.  Twisted Runner's Lunge- from runner's lunge, turn front foot 90 degrees out to side, flip back heel out to the ground.  You'll be on the outside edge of your back foot and all ten toes should be pointing in the same direction.  Walk your hands toward the front foot until you feel the stretch. Experiment with raising and lowering your hips until you find the best place for you.  This is great for your outer hips, thighs and IT bands. 

    3. Seated Pigeon- have a seat on the floor or sit on the very edge of a folded blanket.  Cross your Right ankle over your Left thigh.  Make sure your right foot hangs over a little bit, you should feel your ankle bone on the outside of the thigh.  Keep your right foot flexed.  Slide your left foot toward you, bending your left knee, until you feel your right hip start to stretch.  Press your hands into the floor behind you and sit very tall, from your sitting bones to your head.  You might start to slightly lean forward toward your legs, just keep your spine tall.

    Hope these help.  It's also usually helpful to strengthen your core, as a weak core can lead to all kids of issues in the lower body.

    Good Luck and hope you're feeling better soon!

  • justinw11 Rookie 2 posts since
    Oct 23, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Mar 19, 2014 11:45 AM (in response to BethLewis92)
    Need help with stretches to prevent hip pain


    Sounds like maybe muscle weakness, hip flexors, or ITB. Finding a good doc is probably the best idea. Recovery days are good too.


    Here are my other suggestions: foam roller, yoga (which you are doing), and strength training. These are of course in addition to your running program.

    RW web site can give you foam roller and strebngth exercises.


    I have a similar background -- retired Marine -- and try to focus on a long future of running, even if I must skip some races. Had to defer the MCM last year due to injury, but am happily training for this year's. I'm 74, and retired from the Marines in 1986. Good luck.

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