Hip pain after running can have one of multiple possible causes.

And one of them is arthritis – -something that every runner dreads hearing.

What are those several causes of hip pain after going on a run?

But first, my advice to anybody suffering pain in the hips during or after going for a jog or run, is to ask yourself if one side of your body — the side with the pain — was stressed more than the other side.

Years ago I actually had a problem with hip pain after running. In my case, the discomfort resulted from doing wind sprints while holding onto the leash of my German shepherd.

He loves to run full speed, but I wouldn’t let him, and thus, the resulting muscle strain.

He’d be ahead of me, restrained from full speed by my grip on the leash.

But his pulling caused my hip, on that side, to absorb a lot of tension and stress, and hence, the subsequent aching muscle in my hip area that persisted for about 10 days.

Jogging while keeping a steering hand on a “Baby Jogger” can produce a similar result.

Another culprit can be holding onto a treadmill with one hand while jogging; this will throw things off-kilter. Release that hand and swing both arms naturally.

Most Common Benign Causes of Pain in the Hip after Running

“The most common benign causes include trochanteric bursitis; iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITB); and piriformis or gluteal muscle strain,” says Dr. Joseph J. Ruane, Medical Director, McConnell Spine, Sport & Joint Center, and Head Team Physician, Columbus Blue Jackets.

“More serious causes include stress fracture, pinched nerve in the spine referring to the hip area, and a labral tear or arthritis of the hip joint.”

Trochanteric bursitis: This is hip bursitis, and inflammation of the bursae (plural of bursa, a fluid-filled sac that subdues friction between two uneven surfaces) will cause discomfort.

ITB: The iliotibial band is a thick fibrous band of tissue that runs the length of the outer part of the upper leg to just below the knee.

It begins at the hip, and hence, why inflammation of this structure will cause pain there.

Piriformis muscle strain: Also called piriformis syndrome, this involves the piriformis muscle, located behind the hip.

The piriformis’s tendon may encroach upon the sciatic nerve, causing the pain.

Stress fracture: This is a hairline fracture that, if present in the hip, will cause pain, and running can result in a stress fracture, due to its impacting nature.

Pinched nerve: A nerve that feeds hip movement can become pinched at the spinal column.

Labral tear: Labral tissue is cartilage, and when torn, will cause hip pain. Surgery is the option only when physical therapy has failed.

Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, when it occurs in the hip, means trouble. It’s a degenerative condition and over time, cartilage that normally resides between bones to prevent bone-on-bone friction, withers away, until you have bone-on-bone joint action.

But it need not progress this far to result in a lot of pain during or after running.

Other causes of hip pain after running: weak back muscles, leg length disparity and over-pronation (when the foot rolls inward with each strike on the ground).

Overuse (too much running at once) can simply strain the muscles that act at the hip joint.

If you’re new to running or jogging, proceed gradually. Listen to your body.

If hip pain develops during or after running, don’t try to work through it. Your body is trying to tell you something.

Dr. Ruane’s practice is dedicated to comprehensive, nonsurgical musculoskeletal care. He is active in clinical research and is a nationally recognized speaker and educator.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, health and personal security topics for many years, having written thousands of feature articles for a variety of print magazines and websites. She is also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


Top image: ©Lorra Garrick