What Are the Best Shoes to Help With Running Hip Pain?

athlete on the starting blocks
IT band syndrome causes pain on the side of your hip. (Image: nautiluz56/iStock/Getty Images)

One of the most common causes of hip pain when running is iliotibial band, or IT band, syndrome. The IT band consists of a tough group of fibers that run from your hip to below your knee. Overpronation raises your risk for this syndrome. This occurs when your feet roll in too far after striking the ground as you run. Fortunately, there are shoes designed to address such foot biomechanics. If you have hip pain while running, visit a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, including recommendations for shoes.

Motion-Control Shoes

Shoes that address varying biomechanical needs, such as overpronation, are commonplace. Look for motion-control shoes if you are a severe overpronator. Not all shoe manufacturers use the same lingo when it comes to running shoes, however. Motion-control shoes may also be called “maximum stability” or “structured cushioning” shoes, for example. That makes consulting a doctor and a knowledgeable shoe salesperson important, note “Basic Marathon Training” authors Don Garber and Chip Mitchell.

Foot Arch

Also consider your foot’s arch when you purchase running shoes. Use a wet footprint to determine your arch type. If you have a high arch, the area connecting the front and rear portions of your foot will look thin or be nonexistent on your footprint. If you have a normal footprint, this area will be about one-third the width of your heel. If you have a low arch, this area will be very wide, perhaps even the same width as your heel. Having a low arch raises your risk for overpronation.

Other Shoes

Not all overpronators need motion-control shoes. These are recommended if you have flat feet, need extra arch support and overpronate. If you overpronate, but just slightly, and have high or normal arches, seek a cushioned shoe. If you have flat feet but overpronate only mildly, look for a stability shoe. If you overpronate slightly, have a normal arch and want a lightweight shoe, seek performance training shoes.

Considerations

Factors other than overpronation raise your risk for hip pain due to IT band syndrome. A lateral pelvic tilt, a leg-length discrepancy, bowed legs and tight quadriceps or gluteal muscles are other risk factors. You may need orthotics, which are custom-designed shoe inserts, to address biomechanical issues that lead to IT band syndrome. Visit a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis of your hip pain, along with an accurate analysis of the underlying problems causing it, and a good treatment plan that includes recommendations for footwear.

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