Hip Clicking When Running

author : AMSSM
comments : 0

Member Question

In June of 2006 I was in a car accident and received multiple injuries. I now have titanium rods in my right femur and tib/fib. I also have multiple pins in my hip knee and ankle. I have noticed that while walking I have a normal gate, but when I run my right leg seems to rotate inwards. By the end of three miles I can almost feel a clicking in that right hip. Not painful...not comfortable...just weird. I also have difficulty stretching that right hip. I can't seem to get past a certain point no matter how much I stretch.  Are their other exercises/drills that I can be doing to fix this gait issue and to loosen up that hip joint?

Answer from Dr David Westerdahl
Member AMSSM

Congratulations on challenging your body with a triathlon after that severe accident and traumatic injury to your right leg!  I’m always amazed at the physical challenges triathletes overcome to compete.  Your mental and physical toughness is outstanding.  Regarding your clicking hip, based on your description, I suspect this is a soft tissue (musculotendinous) problem.  With the orthopedic surgeries you had to internally fixate your fractured femur and tibia/fibula bones, you may have some scar tissue and even calcifications in the soft tissue area surrounding the surgically fixed bones.  This can result in intermittent soft tissue clicking that is painless but noted when running. 

The tendency of your right leg to rotate inwards when you run may have to do with how the bones of your right leg healed after surgery.  The bone and surgical hardware may have healed in a way that resulted in a mild amount of rotation.  This can occur after severe bony fractures.  It may be related to your right hip click, especially if the bony rotation results in a muscle tendon rubbing along bone.   

It's interesting that you are having difficulty stretching the right hip as this problem could be related to how your fractures healed after surgery or could represent early post traumatic arthritis involving your right hip.  This limitation is probably a bony restriction and unlikely to improve significantly with regular flexibility exercises. In fact, I would advise you against trying to push the hip joint past a comfortable range of motion.  There are some medical treatments that can help with joint stiffness, and I would encourage you to talk with a physician trained in sports medicine or orthopedics about the options that are best for you.

Painless hip clicking is usually not something to worry about.  Many runners and triathletes experience intermittent painless clicking or popping in their hips and knees.  However, since you’ve previously sustained severe trauma to your right leg, I would encourage you to get seen by your local sports medicine physician for an opinion and maybe an xray. 

Keep training and come race in South Florida sometime where you can leave your wetsuit home.


Dr David Westerdahl is a sports medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic Florida where he is the Director of Medical Sports Medicine.  He is a triathlete and marathoner.  He is also the Team Physician for the Florida Panthers NHL hockey team and Consultant Physician for the USTA Development Center.
Rating

Click on star to vote
5935 Total Views  |  45 Views last 30 days  |  11 Views last 7 days
date: August 29, 2012

Author


AMSSM

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

Author

avatarAMSSM

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

View all 354 articles