Hurting hips are a sign that you need to take several days off of your treadmill walking routine. The pain may be caused by an inflamed bursa, an irritated tendon, a strained muscle or a strained ligament. If you continue with your exercise program, you will cause damage to surrounding tissues. This means it will take longer for your injury to heal and you will be forced to take a prolonged break from your treadmill workouts.
First Things First
Start your recovery by resting your hips and applying an ice pack over the hurt area to reduce the pain and swelling. Refrain from any exercise which causes pain. Apply an ice pack to your injury for 15 minutes, three times a day for three days. Then, apply a heat pack for 15 minutes, three times a day for two days. If pain persists, seek advanced care from a physical therapist.
Warming up gradually increases the circulation to and the temperature of the tissues around your hips. Warming up the area loosens the muscles and connective tissue and primes them for more intense activity without injury. Placing a heat pack on the once-painful area for 10 minutes enhances circulation and raises the temperature. Moving the hip through gentle extension, flexion and rotation will also limber you up. Incorporate these motions by moving your leg forward, backward and in a circle at your hip joint. An easy treadmill walk for 10 minutes further prepares your hips for a more challenging treadmill workout.
The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and inner thigh muscles surround your hips. Stretching these muscles -- along with the ligaments and tendons surrounding your hips -- will limber your joints, preventing pain while you walk on a treadmill. Stretch your hips after your warm-up, performing each stretch two times and holding each stretch for no more than eight seconds. The posterior and lateral sides of your hips are common sites of pain. Stand and balance on your uninjured leg, bending it slightly into a semi-squat position. Then, cross the lower leg of your injured hip across the opposite thigh. Press your injured thigh toward the floor to stretch the outside of your hip or hug your injured thigh toward your chest to stretch the back of your hip.
Weak muscles around your hips cannot absorb the forces on your body efficiently -- instead, the structures of your joints bear the weight. Incorporating dumbbell and barbell exercises to strengthen the muscles in and around your hips can help reduce pain while walking. Do squats, deadlifts and lunges at the beginning of your leg workout, saving leg extensions and leg curls for the end of your workout to optimally strengthen the muscles of your hips.
Complete a warm-up and a pre-workout stretch before all your treadmill walks and before all your leg weight training sessions. This helps prevent recurrence of hip pain while you walk on the treadmill. Stretch and strengthen both legs to ensure your healthy limb does not succumb to hip pain.
- “Examination of Musculoskeletal Injuries”; Sandra Shultz, Ph.D., Peggy Houglum, Ph.D., and David Perrin, Ph.D.; 2005
- “Therapeutic Exercise for Musculoskeletal Injuries”; Peggy Houglum, Ph.D.; 2005