Very sore leg/hip - advice please?

Hi all, just wondered if any of you have experienced anything like this and can offer a bit of advice? I've had a really painful hip/thigh for the past few weeks. At first I kept running through it, thinking it would go away, but it got worse, to the point where it hurts first thing in the morning as soon as I get up and is painful when I walk. I stopped running just over a week ago, thinking it would improve with rest, but it hasn't got better. It seemed to be more the hip than the thigh at first and now it seems to be more thigh than hip. Painful right over the front of it and down both sides. I think I had overdone it as I upped my distance from 5 km to 8 km all of a sudden and was having less rest days (graduated in March). I have learned my lesson, but am DESPERATE to run again asap!!! If anyone has any ideas of what the problem might be or what I should do, I'd be grateful for any tips. Very fed up not to be out there!

35 Replies

  • I have been having the same problem. I have a bad right ankle in which I have had for a while, but lately I have been getting numbness and aching in my hip and have no idea what it is. I have stopped running also, I have thought maybe it could be circulation problems as my legs go very numb in the night and I get pins and needles easily x

  • Hope you can get back to it soon too - very frustrating, not running!!

  • It sounds like your ITB bands which are a common problem and, yes, are a sign that you have been overdoing it.

    There a lots of strengthening exercises (squats and lunges) but it might be an idea to see your GP first.

  • I feel a bit silly going to the GP for this, but will if it doesn't improve. Thanks, Dunder. When I can get back to it, I'll definitely take it slower and incorporate some strengthening into the regime - haven't done any of that.

  • Probably ITB bands as Dunder says. I had an ITB band problem in my R hip which came on after a run, no warning, and suddenly I was in intense discomfort and could only limp.

    I was already seeing a sports masseuse regularly and she really helped BUT I couldn't run for 3 months. I was able to speed walk, swim and cycle but no running.

    My own GP has never been any use for sports aches and pains so I would recommend a physio or sports massage therapist. You definitely need to rest, as tough as it is when you're desperate to get out there.

    I've learnt it's one of the downsides of running: injury!

    Take action quickly so you're out for as short a time as possible.

    Good luck GLudwig.

  • Thanks for taking the time to reply - mine came on shortly after my longest run to date and I have certainly been limping since. I really hope I don't have to wait 3 months before I can run again!! I think I will go and get it checked out so I at least know what I should and shouldn't do and hopefully get it right as quickly as possible. Are you back to normal now?

  • Yes, back to normal after a very gradual start to running again. But it was probably my fifth injury after 18 months of running! So now I just accept injury is part and parcel and running will always be there!

    Someone told me that it takes 2 years for the body to get used to the strain running places upon it and in that period injuries are rife.

    That's been my experience but I see a sports massage therapist regularly and she keeps me ticking over.

  • I'm not a doctor, but I think you should see one, I say that because you say it hasn't improved when resting it. Try swimming maybe and see how it feels then, at least you'll be keeping in shape until it feels better.

  • Yes. I'm swimming, but that doesn't feel all that marvellous either to be honest. Better than the walking, though!

  • Youll be surprised how good walking is for you. I think one of the reasons ive done ok with c25k is because id walked about 800 miles before running. Hope you feel better soon

  • Hi again. Yes, I don't drive so walk a lot - I love it usually, it's just really painful right now! You're doing really well, aren't you? I think I've seen some very speedy times from you!

  • I Glud, I'm sorry to hear of your injury, I know how I would feel if I couldn't carry on now, so how I know how frustrating this must be for you. Still, you don't lose your fitness overnight and with rest I'm sure your hip will recover. I know when I first switched to running in November, I got discomfort from my right hip and so far now I haven't felt anything more from it. I used kettle bells for a while whilst laying on the floor, kept lifting my knees and legs, not sure if it did the trick, but so far I'M OK. I'll message you a link to the park run I do and you can have a look at the pictures if you like?

  • I was wondering what you were up to - not much obviously :( Sounds horrid - obviously I have no idea but sounds to me like you need strengthening exercises and a dose of physio. I think we new runners maybe think we can run without allowing time for our muscles to strengthen and should incorporate more exercising. If you think about it - all athletes train (ie 'body build) AS WELL as doing their actual sport, whereas we are just doing our sport, ie running, without any of the additional 'body building. Good luck - thinking of you.

  • Hi Buffy, nice to see you :) I'm trying not to moan, but I'm most fed up!! Are you alright? Hope things are going well. Are you still doing your weekly-ish run? I should have followed your plan, rather than the obsessive maniac plan :D Can't see me bodybuilding, but yes, need to do some other stuff I'm sure at some point. My legs went from totally wobbly with no muscle at all to rock hard in just a few short months, so no wonder they're protesting I guess!! x

  • I'm still going a bit - just to try and avoid losing all the good hard work. Went on a very minimilistic 7 mile bike ride today - would normally have gone in the car to see this elderly lady - at least this running lark has changed our general attitude to fitness in general. Good luck. I thought PP would be the one to put you back on the straight and narrow - sounded just like her symptoms - as she said, its all curable. Good luck. Just stop trying to keep up with those youngsters of yours!

  • 7 miles isn't 'very minimalist' in my book. Good for you, and well done for keeping up the running. I'm sure you're doing enough to keep your fitness. You can keep it ticking along like that and gradually add in a bit more when you want to. Nice day to be out and about today, I should think. I will get off this computer soon and get a bit of sunshine :)

  • Oh Glud, I have had this problem on and off since January...... It is not nice and I totally sympathise with you .....

    I went to the Docs first and he sent me for an XRay to rule out any fractures. I could have gone back to the docs for a referral for physio but I was desperate so I went to see one privately where I was diagnosed with Hip Bursitis. This is caused by a number of things, eg overuse, increases distances too quickly etc.

    My physio also said that my ITB on my right side was very tight and knotted and needed to be loosened. He described it has similar to having long hair and you need to brush it to keep it smooth or it will become tight and knotted . Hence the massage with his elbow on my thigh which had me screaming the place down . I was told not to run for 2 weeks and given some strengthening exercises to do . It can also be caused with a weak muscle imbalance , my right side is definitely weaker than my left and when I was tired my hip used to drop and this causes the strain and then the pain. Also I had a very hard , tight muscle in my bum cheek which was causing me a lot of pain. I had 3 massages all in all. They certainly did the job, very very painful though , take something to bite into :-)

    I know this is very frustrating for you Glud, and Im sorry there is no instant solution but the good news is that you can be fixed, its just a matter of time and patience.

    If anything I have learnt a valuable lesson , in that I am going to take it soo slow and steady this time .

    Good Luck and I hope you get sorted soon xxx

  • Good luck to you PP. Your return to running must feel amazing now after all that. What a wait you've had. I hope it's not going to take that long for mine! I think I will go and get it checked though after reading all this. I had lower back trouble pre-running and was told my pelvis was a bit out of line, so I guess this could be why I'm having problems one side down from my hip. Maybe I'm still wonky! Thanks x

  • Thanks Glud and all the best to you xxx Running is amazing , but I think it does tend to highlight any weaknesses we have and bring them to the fore if you know what I mean and that's why we need to do other things as well, to build our strength up overall.

    Sorry I am rubbish at trying to explain things :-)

    Good Luck xxx

  • No, that made perfect sense and sounds exactly right. Thanks again x

  • Hi Glud, just like Pops here I have had similar hip pain issues, started last October - it's really nasty and frustrating. I initially went to my GP (who was very sympathetic and pro-running btw) and he immediately referred me to an NHS physio, though I had to wait a few weeks for the appointment to become available.

    So it turned out I was weaker in my right glutes and leg than my left, which was causing a very slight twisting and dropping motion on that side, repetitive nature of running therefore caused tight ITB, inflammation, pain, yadda yadda. This seems to be extremely common, and it's particularly an issue in women because of our wider hips that puts our legs at a slight angle.

    Strengthening exercises did the trick, and I actually kept on running while I still had niggly pains, but a few weeks of exercises every day got rid of that and I've had no more trouble from the hip, not even a whisper. Unfortunately my knee is now giving me a bit of gip (the other end of the ITB!) because I'd been concentrating so hard on the glutes I'd neglected to engage my quads... so I bit the bullet and saw a private physio the other day who gave me a whole other lot of extra exercises to do. I'm not too worried because I know what it is now and what I need to do to fix it, and I have no doubt I will!

    I would also stress don't feel it's too minor a thing to consult your GP about. GPs see so many people with illnesses brought on by self-destructive habits (fags, booze, overeating etc) that it's a breath of fresh air for them to help people who are doing something as positive and healthy as running - a few physio appointments now costs the NHS so much less than treating chronic obesity, diabetes etc in the future! That's my take on it anyway.

    So take care, don't try to run while the pain is bad, definitely see your GP, and if you can bear it, it's also worth paying for a private physio consultation to start you off. You are definitely not alone in this!

  • In your case, I reckon you haven't been brushing your hair properly before tying it up in that ponytail.

  • Am I right in thinking you changed your shoes a little while ago? If they are correcting a problem you previously had, you may find other muscles are having to work harder because your gait has changed. That, combined with upping your distance / frequency, could well be the problem.

    I do recommend the knee strengthening exercises on NHS choices, they work on more than just your knees. I personally find I need to work on my hip abductors too, as I get a lot of problems with my right leg in the groin area if I don't (an issue that pre-dates running). It's the main reason I do aqua classes and I also use fixed weight machines in the gym on them, my back and my shoulders. If you have a way of building some strength resistance work into your routine, it will help build core strength.

    I am not sure a doctor would be of much help but a sports physiotherapist would be able to tell you what the problem is and give you some exercises to help it. Your local running shop might also be able to give you input (so long as they are the sort that give you a full biomechanical assessment rather than just briefly look at you on a treadmill).

    It's probably a case of rest and work to strengthen whatever it is you are straining. Perhaps also try using the old shoes to see if there is a difference?

  • You have a good memory, Cod! Yes. Changed shoes - actually had sore knees not long after that and now this. Good thinking - will try the old shoes when I get back out, and yes, definitely need some strength! Thanks for that. How are you getting on?

  • Sorry to hear that Gludwig, that must be devastating. Fingers crossed it gets sorted soon.

  • Really sorry to hear you are suffering Gludwig , I know how frustrating it is , definitely doc or physio , there are lots of exercises you can do but need to find right ones that will help your problem,.

    Hope you are recovered soon :D

  • No-o-o! How frustrating! I know how crap that feels, having been forced to duck out with shin-splints and not run for 5 weeks. You poor thing, grrrr.

    I went to Studio57 and saw a physio called Matt in the end, (my Doc sent me away with a flea in my ear!) they're based at The Agora Building near Hove Station. He was great, it did cost a bit but I was on the verge of giving up. Came away with lots of advice and exercises, and it got me back on my feet. He does have a website (sportinjurymatt) so there may be some good blurb on there too.

    Hope you get back on it soon :-)

  • Yes, I remember you had all that time off - so annoying!! Thanks for the info - actually just emailed someone a bit nearer, New England, to see how much they charge. Will bear your one in mind, although it's a bit further to hobble :( Did you notice much of an impact on your progress after five weeks off, by the way? Did you go back a bit? Joe did the first junior parkrun at the weekend, by the way - there were 84 kids, great atmosphere, he loved it :) Did you do Parkrun last week?

  • I didn't notice much to be honest, because like you I was really hobbling! I went back a week on the program and took it really easy. Actually feel like I've turned a bit of a corner now which is great, but I don't think I'll ever be doing much more than a 10k (never say never!) I did Parkrun last week, getting slowly stronger. Glad Joe did the junior one, what a lot of kids, brilliant! :-D

  • Sorry to hear that. Had something similar last year which gradually came right after physio referral and many exercises. Everything is fine now so it will get better! I think you need proper help and diagnosis though.

    Good luck!

  • I only just saw this GLudwig! Wishing you lots of luck getting to the bottom of this and finding out what's causing/how to fix the pain. Stories of injuries are a common theme on this forum, so it just seems like part and parcel of running. Who's to say you wouldn't have suffered this if you'd done all the right things anyway (such as not increasing to 8k!). It's just bad luck I think. You've definitely done a lot for your core fitness by regularly walking and swimming, so you have a good base to return to when you're better. I've been off running this week because of a stupid cold, and that's driving me mad too. I'm also planning to take I easy when I return to try to avoid the massive cough I always end up with after colds, which would just slow me down even more. it's so counterintuitive isn't it, needing to slow down to get better sooner. I hope rest and some well-judged exercises get you on the mend soon, and keep us updated :)

  • Thanks for your lovely message, Ruth :) Hope your cold's better and you're back in action. I'm still not running unfortunately and really missing it. Cannot wait until I can get back to it, I'll be so grateful! Are you still biking etc too? I've kept the swimming going, so that's been good for now..

  • Hey GLudwig. I'm still not running too, although am better, but really trying to avoid getting the cough that usually follows my colds, and that keeps threatening to surface, and which then takes weeks to get rid of. As long as I feel completely better I'm planning to do my next run on Thursday morning (or poss tomorrow eve). I haven't been biking either, although I may cycle into town tomorrow... if it isn't raining... Glad you're keeping on swimming and hope you're at least not too far off getting back to running. Did you see Paula Radcliffe's comeback from injury at the London Marathon? She may be slightly superhuman but it's still inspiring :)

  • Intermittent 'phone fault so I may not reply - I just grab a quick forum fix when the going's good on the line ....... anyway, wanted to ask how the pain management is going?

  • Ah, thanks Buffy :) I haven't been on here much either. I've been avoiding it as it's a bit depressing when you can't run! I still can't, but it's definitely getting better, just a bit slower than I would like. Walking's easier but still sore - don't know what I've done, but didn't go and find out when I discovered how much an appointment would cost! Hope all well with you and you get your phone fixed soon. That must be very annoying x

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