Running places a great deal of stress on multiple joints in your body including your hips. Your hips include a network of muscle and connective tissue that attach from both the trunk and the legs. Running can result in pain not only in the muscles and tendons in the area, but also the hip joint itself.
Pirifomis syndrome results from the inflammation of one of the gluteal, or butt, muscles. When this happens, the muscle impinges on the large sciatic nerve that courses through the area, causing pain in the affected buttock itself and, in some cases, causing sciatica, which can manifest as shooting pains anywhere in the leg. Piriformis syndrome can manifest simply from repeated running strides or from running hilly terrain that forces you to engage the glutes for long periods of time. Rest, ice and anti-inflammatory drugs can alleviate pain and swelling, while stretching and physical therapy are important for correcting the underlying cause.
A bursa is a fluid-filled sac in a joint that reduces friction. According to the Sports Injury Clinic, the trochanteric bursa of the hip is the most common site of bursitis in the human body. This kind of bursitis is an overuse injury resulting from the repetitive sliding of muscles and tendons over the bursa. Treatment consists of resting and icing the area. When you are able to start running comfortably again, stick to flat surfaces until you are sure that your bursitis has fully healed.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body and usually sets in relatively late in life. As a "wear-and-tear" condition characterized by cartilage loss, it is distinct from rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder. With hip OA, the head of the thigh bone rubs painfully against the acetabulum of the hip. While running is not believed to cause OA, it is certainly hindered by it. Medications to reduce inflammation and physical therapy often provide pain relief and improve mobility.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
The iliotibial band, or ITB, is a tough band of connective tissue that originates on the top of the hip and inserts on the outside of the knee. It is a common cause of pain in both the hip and the knee. The ITB helps stabilize the pelvis when both feet are off the ground during the running stride. It also helps the quadriceps extend the leg at the knee. Running in circles or on uneven terrain can lead to tightness and pain on the affected side. To prevent or relieve ITB, avoid roads that slope laterally, running too many laps of the track in the same direction and extremely hilly terrain.