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Last week I started noticing some pain building in my right hip after my morning runs, culminating on last Wednesday when I could barely walk without severe pain in the afternoon. I took a few days of rest and went to the doctor yesterday, where he told me the most likely cause was trochanteric bursitis.

I'm still ok to run, although I'm supposed to take it easy, and he gave me a list of hip stretches and exercises to help with my hip strength and flexibility.

I'm trying to run the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back in June, and I'd like to still be able to do that. Is there anything else I can do to keep the pain down (or get rid of it) so as to be able to train effectively for the race?

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Same issues a few years back when I was training for my first TriA. Runs started fine but afterwards hip got stiff and sore.Thought it was tweaked muscles.Sports Doctor sent me for a bone scan of my hip.Scan showed I had the start of a compression fracture (more of a bruised bone as it didn't actually break or crack) on the tibia ball. Was told to stop impact workouts for 8 weeks and then start back slow. I changed my workouts to heavy bike/eliptical/swim and included aqua jogging. I didn't loose that much running fitness because of it. Might want to get a 2nd opinion if it doesn't go away. –  Chef Flambe Sep 12 '12 at 18:50
    
This was actually last year... It turned out that it was bursitis, and taking it easy, stretching, and light cycling twice a week on "rest" days did the trick. –  alesplin Sep 12 '12 at 22:33

4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

In case the inflammation/bursitis isn't very serious, you could still workout, though sufficient rest until its gone would probably be 'healthier' and you shouldn't feel any pain when working out. Because the bursitis occurs due to repetitive strain of the gluteal muscles on the trochanteric bursa you should work on your hip joint strength and stabilty. I'd suggest cutting back on the intensity of your workouts until your pain free and built up sufficient strength, so you won't be overusing the structures around the bursa. As Physioadvisor.com suggest:

Ignoring symptoms or adopting a 'no pain, no gain' attitude is likely to lead to the condition becoming chronic. Immediate, appropriate treatment in patients with trochanteric bursitis is essential to ensure a speedy recovery. Once the bursitis is chronic, healing slows significantly resulting in markedly increased recovery times and an increased likelihood of future recurrence.

Therefore, you should start doing the exercises the doctor gave you on regular basis, preferably several times a day, so you can spread the load. The exercises will help you improve the strength and coordination of the hip, which according to E-Orthopod.com will help reduce friction on the bursa.

Some of the exercises you can perform according to Buzzle.com:

  • Iliotibial Band Stretch - Side Leaning: This iliotibial band stretch is nothing but side leaning on a wall. Stand at a foot distance from the surface of the wall, with your injured side near the wall. Lean on the wall by placing your palm on the surface of the wall. Cross your uninjured leg over the other leg and lean gently on the wall. Repeat the same for the other side.
  • Leg Raise: Lie down on an exercise mat on your unaffected side. Use your hand to support your head. Now, tighten the muscles of your upper thigh of affected side and raise that leg above the floor. Raise the leg 8 to 10 inches above the floor and ensure that your knees remain straight, while raising the affected leg. Hold the position for few seconds and repeat the exercise. Perform 3 sets with each set having 10 repetitions.
  • Iliotibial Band Stretch - Standing: Stand in an upright position. Now, cross your unaffected leg over your injured leg, as in the first iliotibial band stretch. Bend down and touch your toes with your fingers. Hold the position for 30 seconds and get back to the initial position and repeat the exercise for three times.
  • Hip Extension: Lie down on an exercise mat on your stomach and place your hands besides your sides. Now place your palms, such that, they touch the exercise mat. Now, slowly raise the affected leg above the floor by tightening your thigh muscles. See that your knees remain straight when you lift the affected leg. Hold the leg in raised position for few seconds and bring it down slowly. Perform 3 sets with each set having 10 repetitions.
  • Wall Squat: Stand in an upright position with your face opposite to a wall. Place an exercise ball or basket ball behind your back and lean against the wall. Keep your body straight and squat down slowly to make your thighs parallel to the floor. Hold the position for ten seconds and slide up on the wall. Repeat the steps 10 times, 3 sets. Read more on, bursitis hip exercises and hip pain.
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I've been doing all of these but the wall squat, and the pain and stiffness had pretty much leveled out. I've also found that cycling makes a good rest-day cross-training workout and keeps my hip from getting stiff and sore on the days I don't run. –  alesplin May 19 '11 at 17:58
    
Good to hear they're working out for you :-) –  Ivo Flipse May 19 '11 at 18:05
    
@alesplin - when you say "leveled out" do you mean you still have pain but no additional pain or its reducing? –  Chef Flambe Sep 12 '12 at 18:52

Often it's not just the hips that are the problem, but merely the symptom. If other muscles have shortened (usually due to prolonged sitting), they will cause pulling on your hips and pain.

Yoga is great for ensuring that all your muscle groups are regularly stretched. You can do these stretches in sequence morning and night and it will quickly eliminate hip pain. Google the poses below - instructions are quite easy to find.

  • Baddha Konasana (Cobbler's Pose)
  • Paripurna Navasana (Full Boat Pose)
  • Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose)
  • Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
  • Sucirandhrasana (Eye of Needle Pose)
  • Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
  • Natarajasana (Dancer's Pose)

Another one, which I suspect is yoga but am not sure, is to lie on your back with your hips less than one foot from the wall, and your legs pointed straight up, resting on the wall. Slowly and controlled, spread your legs open while letting gravity pull your legs down. Don't overdo the angle, repeat the exercise frequently, and progress.

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My "cure" for bursitis in my right hip as a runner in peak fitness was to stop running on land for a couple of weeks and instead "run" in the water. I ran in deep water while wearing a flotation vest. I started with ankle weights of little weight and slowly added weight with each workout. I was amazed not only at the recovery from bursitis but also at making a personal record time on a particular hilly race event I had done in prior years. The bursitis in the right hip returned in later years during intense training and is probably due in part to not having good alignment of the right leg/foot.

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I would really like to know more about your workout. How did you simulate the running movement, what kind of weight, what kind of flotation device. Really interested in this for training athletes with both knee and foot issues too. –  DMoore Aug 6 '13 at 3:15
    
DMoore, The knee bend, stride length and cadence are varied to target the muscles differently. The feet are kept somewhat rigid with toes pointing straight ahead. The back of the life vest is tethered to an anchor point so the runner remains in the preferred deep location. The boating life vest has a nylon exterior and zips up from waist level. The ankle weights have multiple slim pockets that enable you to add or remove the metal weights. It doesn't take much weight to put all but your neck and head below water, which seems to provide the best workout position in the water. –  stephen Aug 7 '13 at 15:53

I am a half marathon runner and had this recently, this is what I have done:

  1. Ice packs for 10 minutes at a time, a few times a day.
  2. Take a good few weeks off running and racing in events.
  3. See a good chiropractor (my hips and pelvis were out of alignment) each week for 4 weeks, then once a month till problem is gone completely.
  4. You can still exercise to keep up strength and core strength, this is vital for recovery - lower intensity swimming, cycling, yoga and body balance classes, squats with no weights, abdominal work, weights for your upper body etc.
  5. Foam roller twice a day for the tibial band covering the bursa to the knee.
  6. Drink extracted fruit / vegetable juice a few times a week with a big chunk of fresh ginger in the mix (ginger a good anti-inflammatory)
  7. Fish oil capsules and glucosamine capsules also good for injury recovery and joint health.

I don't take any painkillers, I don't want cortisone injections and at all costs want to avoid any expensive unnecessary scans.

Rest from running and taking things a little easier is the key as the problem will become much worse if you keep running on it and you will do more damage than its worth. Icing the area is better than any pain killer and results almost instant in reducing inflammation and pain. I now see why top marathon runners do the "ice bath" after a race and heavy training to stop any injury in its tracks. I ended up with a winter bug in the midst of this so it was a good reason to totally rest for 10 days and let the area heal.

Good luck, GP's and unnecessary scans a waste of time and money unless the problem does not go away with what I suggested. Then other nasties would need to be ruled out.

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