Zionsville: Hip & Knee Pain With Running


MARCH, 2019


Your hips and knees are both extremely important joints in your body, especially if you are an avid runner, walker or hiker. Before you can understand how to prevent injury to these joints that are so crucial to your movement, you must first understand the anatomy behind them. The hips are the largest ball-and-socket joints in your body, meaning that the top of your thighbone (femoral head) fits perfectly in the acetabulum (cup-shaped socket of the pelvis).The joint is held together by several muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bursae that help the hips move comfortably and fluidly in several directions. The knees are hinge joints, meaning that unlike the hips, they are designed to move solely in forward and backward bending motions. Your knees are comprised of three main bones: the tibia (shin bone), femur (thigh bone), and patella (kneecap). They are held together by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and menisci that help bear your weight and control your movement. It may not seem like it, but the knees are actually the largest joints in the human body! Common causes of hip and knee pain – and how to prevent them: The hips and knees both play a crucial role in your movement and mobility. In physical therapy we test the joints for mobility, ligaments for their stability, and muscles for their strength and tone. Often we find that the hips are weak, and that knee pain can often be a result of a specific weak hip muscle or poorly coordinated core and leg muscles. Arthritic hips and knees can be hereditary, however strong musculature can keep painful arthritic joints frombecoming a bigger problem. In addition to arthritis, these large joints can be injured fromoveruse, over a prolonged period of time, or in a one-time accident or incident. Here are some other common hip injuries and how to prevent them. Inside, you will also find an article about common knee injuries and preventative suggestions. Some of the most common hip injuries in runners include: • Bursitis. The bursae act as cushions in the hips by reducing friction and allowing your muscles and tendons

to glide smoothly over bone. Bursitis occurs when the bursae become inflamed, making the pathway for movement much more difficult. This can result in pain, stiffness, and swelling. Hip bursitis can also be called trochanteric bursitis and is painful on the side of your hip, especially when you lie down on your side, and perhaps each time you rise from a seated position. It can be a result of overtraining with running or bicycling, a fall onto the hip, weak hip muscles or osteoarthritis. Decreasing the pain and inflammation is the first phase, then working on recruiting hipmuscles to restore normal hip motion, balance and gait are extremely important. • Hip flexor strains. Hip flexors, hamstrings, gluteals, adductors (inner thigh), rotators and quadriceps all move the hip in various directions. A hipmuscle strain (an over stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon) can occur with overloading with weight, overtraining with excessive repetitions, or with a sudden slip or twist of the leg. This time of year, slipping on ice can be a cause for muscle strains or falling episodes. Prevention includes watching your weight, resting between workouts, and avoiding slippery or dangerous surfaces. Proper training of the deep coremuscles, including the transverse abdominus and the pelvic floor muscles can also assist with proper “firing” and use of the hip musculature. Your physical therapist can test and determine what approach would be most beneficial for you.


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