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So I finally have the piriformis syndrome in my right hip under control after taking 4 weeks off of running, while continuing to stretch, and take a lot of advil. I had simultaneously been diagnosed with hip flexor tendonitis in the same hip so I had a pain in the A** as well as pain in the front! Ugh! The problem is that as soon as I started running again the hip flexor started to flair up with a vengeance! It seems as if nothing is really helping at this point and it is very discouraging. I thought taking a whole month off would have really helped, and it did until I started running again and then BAM! it came back. I am a pretty flexible person for my age (44 yo female) and I do make it a point to stretch my hips really well several times a day but I have read as many people think that you shouldn't stretch with this condition as those who think you should! It's all so confusing. I want to know if anyone has had this condition, how long did it take to recover and what helped you the most? What did I do/not do to get both of these conditions at the same time? Any ideas?
In my experiences, those who sit all day at an office job tend to have very weak and inflexible hip flexors that contributes to hip flexor tendonitis and pain. While being flexible is important, have you tried strengthening your quads, hip flexors, and glutes? Strength is just as important as flexibility, and I may even argue it's more important if it's functional. Try dynamic/active stretching before your runs and squats/lunges for strength. It might be beneficial for you to hire a personal trainer, get a professional massage, or a coach that can help you out. Good luck working on your hip flexors!
Cheers, - Jason.
Well, you hit the nail on the head when you stated that people who sit at a desk all day are prone to this! I was sitting at a desk or in car all day for two years with little to no exercise. I had been a pretty serious runner previous to that stretch of inactivity, and never had any type of injury other than an occasional shin splint. When I started to get active again it never occurred to me that other than starting to run short and slow that I may have developed other problems. It makes perfect sense, I will start a program of strengthening my hips and glutes. Can you describe to me what active and dynamic stretches are? Should I still continue to run shorter distance and slower pace or can I start to slowly build my mileage again? Thanks so much!!
I suffered with hip flexor tendonitis this past spring. I lost about six weeks of running but was allowed by my PT to ride a bike instead. All told I did a month of twice-a-week weight and balance sessions at the PT's gym.
The weight work started with stretchy bands attached to a pole and progressed to more intense work with the glutes, adductors, abductors, quads, and hamstrings. Each exercise was performed standing on one leg while working the other. The idea is to make sure that one leg isn't compensating for the other. Also, staying on one leg improves posture and balance. Often it was the standing hip was more fatigued than the one actually lifting the weight.
You'll need the balance work because your proproiception is almost certainly going to be off due to the injury. In my case this included things like standing on one foot atop a Bosu Ball for a minute at a time and dynamic motions in an exaggerated walking gait. It varied from week to week, getting a little tougher each time.
Now I go the gym twice a week for a 20 minute weight sessionon the various lower body weight machines. Besides lots of stretching I also use a foam roller to keep the quads and hamstrings from developing any new knots/trigger points that could cause the hip flexor to strain again; it's certainly cheaper than hiring a massage therapist.
Smurph - Chuntley described a great process for recovering from nearly any injury: consistent, targeted strength work that develops your weak area without developing any additional imbalances. I swear by my foam roller - inexpensive, effective, and it feels great. I use it three times a week.
I can't say whether you should continue running easy or building your mileage without knowing more of your history, but generally speaking if the pain is dull then you can run. If it's sharp, then stop immediately because you're doing more damage.
A simple action plan for you might be to start using the foam roller on your hip flexor, quad, and any area that is sore. Add in strengthening exercises such as pistol squats, one-legged theraband work (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTJPb4-YOmc), and a good general core routine that will build your abs, lower back, quads, and hamstrings. Once this becomes easy after a few weeks or months, think about going to the gym or hiring a personal trainer.
As always, it's difficult to give you sound advice without knowing more about your history and current goals/fitness level. But I hope this helps!
Cheers, - Jason.