5 Common Hip Injuries You Can Fix

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Hip injuries can be tricky — just ask Clint Verran, a 2:14 marathoner who struggled for months to resolve his mysterious hip pain (and he's a physical therapist). That's because the symptoms of different injuries can be very similar, he says. Here, Verran sorts through the hip issues that strike runners most.

You Feel

A pain on the front of your hip that travels to your groin, back, or leg

It May Be a Stress Fracture

A fracture occurs when the bone can't handle the forces placed on it or if it's weak from lack of calcium or poor bone density.

How to Fix It

Three months of rest and physical therapy. Pool running and swimming are the best cross-training options.

Anatomy 101: Knowing about the runner's body can help you stay injury-free.

You Feel

A stab near your leg crease while running and it hurts if you lie down and pull your knee to your chest

It May Be a Hip Flexor Strain

The hip flexors lift your thigh when you run. A tear in the muscle (strain) or an inflamed tendon (tendinitis) is often from an abrupt increase in mileage or speedwork.

How to Fix It

At the first sign of pain, rest and ice for a week. When symptoms are gone, stretch the hip flexors (see "Knee Lean"), and gradually rebuild your mileage.

You Feel

An ache in the front of your hip or near your groin. It worsens postrun.

It May Be Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI)

FAI occurs when the ball of the hip joint doesn't fit into the socket; the grinding tears the cartilage lining the socket.

How to Fix It

FAI usually requires eight weeks of physical therapy; sometimes surgery is necessary.

You Feel

An achy, burning sensation on the side of your hip during or after a run

It May Be Bursitis

This occurs when the liquid-filled sac (bursa) that separates your hip bone from the iliotibial band is inflamed. It's confused with ITB syndrome, but ITB's main symptom is knee pain.

How to Fix It

Ice and strengthen the gluteus medius (Hip Hike) and hip abductors (Leg Raise) found in the Never Get Hurt Workout.

You Feel

A sharp pain in your buttocks during a run and it lingers afterward

It May Be Piriformis Syndrome

When the piriformis — a muscle deep in the hip — is tight, it rubs against the sciatic nerve. The result is pain deep in the buttocks, or radiating pain down the leg or back.

How to Fix It

Rest for two weeks, and ice the area. After the first week, get deep-tissue massage to help relieve tightness, or do self-massage by sitting on a tennis ball. When the pain lessens, stretch the muscle regularly (Yoga Pigeon from the Yoga for Runners Workout). If this doesn't help, a strain may have occurred, which will require more rest and physical therapy.