Road back to running – Recovering from a hip injury

Howdy folks, Luke from Hunter Podiatry Services here. 

Are clinicians the worst patients? I guess we’ll find out over the next few weeks as I battle through a niggling hip problem. So to fill you in, here’s a quick back story.

I was never a huge fan of running through my teens or early twenties but have recently found a love for it about 12 months ago. I’ve started to increase my running throughout the year, but specifically in the last few weeks since our latest bout of lockdown. I started off running between 10-15 km’s per week and have ramped up to 30-40 km per week over an 8 week period. This would consist of 3-4 sessions per week varying from 5 to 15km at different speeds. In my last two runs I felt some localised pain in my hip after 3-4 km’s of running. 

So I did some thinking. Does a 3 year old have better hip strength than me? Have I increased my kilometres too early? Does my running technique need some adjustment? I’ve consulted the local hip gurus at Terrace Physio Plus as to what I’ve done wrong and how to fix it. Join me over the next 6 to 8 weeks as I combine the latest research with a tailored rehabilitation program. 

 

Let’s get down to business

 

The diagnosis: low-grade gluteal tendinopathy (an overuse injury that affects the gluteal muscle/s)

Possible causes: Poor glute strength, sharp increase in volume too soon – both of these in conjunction with a narrow foot strike when running. 

 

How to fix it: 

  1. Routine exercises that focus on strengthening around the hip joint with progression into running specific exercises. 
  2. Slight readjustments to my running technique, especially when initially returning to run. 
  3. We’re going to try some left field treatment as well. There’s been recent research that supports the use of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) in the treatment for tendinopathies.  

 

The plan for the first 4 weeks:

  1. 4 x glute exercises using a theraband and exercise ball, 4 times per week
  2. No stretching of gluteal muscles
  3. 1 x  500m-1km runs, 3 times per week (on the off days of rehab exercises)
  4. 1 x shockwave session per week
  5. Increase the width of my strike when running (not by much, approximately 5cm) to avoid overloading the outer aspect of my hip.
  6. Run on flat ground only

 

So it seems like I’ll be strapped to a theraband for a few weeks. We’ll catch up again in 4 weeks and see how compliant I’ve been, what my pain is like throughout the day, and where I’m up to returning to run. If you’ve been struggling with running injuries, please reach out – let’s challenge each other to get our rehab done as effectively as possible and get back to full exercise.

 

Cheers!

 

Luke Webster

Podiatrist

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