Member Case Study: Hip Flexor Pain

author : AMSSM
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I have noticed an occasional pain in my left hip flexor. The pain is most noticeable when running uphill. Is there a way to fix the problem without taking time off from training?

Question from KLM 104


Over the last month or two of training, I have noticed an occasional pain in my left hip flexor. It feels like the tendonitis I had about five years ago, so I am assuming it is the same thing. The pain is most noticeable when running uphill. While I am not perfect, I do try to incorporate stretching and foam rolling into my training regimen.

 

I generally appear to be reasonably flexible throughout the hamstrings, quads, hip flexors and IT bands, although my glutes seem to be quite tight. Could this be the cause of the pain? Is it OK to continue running, even uphill, through the pain? Is there a way to fix the problem without taking time off from training?
 

Answer from Dawn Mattern, M.D.

Member AMSSM

 

Hip flexor issues are very common, yet there are many different causes of pain around the hip. Flexibility is half the problem, the other half is strength. The most common weakness is in the gluteus medius. If you feel that the glutes are tight, most likely they are working hard to keep you going. If you continue to run with the pain, your glutes will be at risk for a more severe strain that can put you on the shelf for a significant time.

 

I would recommend focusing on the gluteus with hip abduction exercises either against gravity or using an exercise band. Lay on one side with the knees bent and lift the top leg up, squeezing your glutes together. Hopefully you will begin to notice less pain and can increase your runs back up to your desired training.

 

If this simple exercise does not seem to help with your symptoms, please check in with your local sports medicine physician to further evaluate your hip pain.


Dawn Mattern, M.D.
Trinity Sports Medicine, Minot, North Dakota

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date: January 14, 2008

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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