The importance of hip alignment for runners.

Last week I talked about the benefits of chiropractic for runners, and how we have to take care of our spine and pelvic alignment. Today, I will focus on one of the most important factors for runners to focus on, in order to avoid the most common runner’s injuries.

As runners we all know about IT Band syndrome, hamstring strains, piriformis syndrome and runner’s knee. All of these injuries which are the most common amongst runners are caused by hip alignment issues and tightness. Having instability and misalignment in the hips can cause major pain during and after a run. As I mentioned in the last newsletter, the role of the pelvic is crucial in the biomechanics and three planes of motion (frontal, sagittal and transverse) for runners. Often people are diagnosed with poor running form and biomechanics and are prescribed with orthotics, when in fact the issue is only the misalignment of the pelvic and hips which can be fixed with proper physio treatments.

Causes of hip misalignment:

Strength imbalances: Our body and brain always tend to favor one side; the result is an imbalance in the hips. One side will have the tendency to take over and pull the hip out of alignment, which will eventually cause injuries.

Injury history: Runners who have suffered from previous injuries, often the body will have problems finding the proper balance unless the right treatment, recovery and strength training was performed.

Hip tightness: With our current lifestyle of sitting at a desk for hours a day, our hip flexors tend to get very tight and shortened, and our glutes get very weak. All these issues have a big impact on hip alignment and flexibility.

Best treatments for hip alignment and flexibility:

Massage therapy: Active release and deep tissue release can be very beneficial to release the tension in the hips. Just make sure you see a proper massage therapist who is knowledgeable in sports therapy.

Chiropractic: This will ensure alignment of the spine and pelvic, as well as release of the hips with deep tissue release. Again always deal with a chiropractor that is an expert in sports therapy.

Acupuncture or dry needling: This treatment is one of the most efficient for hip flexors, TFL, glutes and piriformis release, all these muscles are quite difficult to release.

Strength and mobility training: Single leg exercises such as single leg pistol squats, lunges, deadlifts and core exercises are very good to strengthen the glutes so that we don’t overuse our hip flexors.

How to prevent hip alignment issues:

-Perform a dynamic warm up before each run.
-Foam roll and stretch regularly
-Get massages regularly to keep loosening all the muscles.
-Watch your posture not only when you run but during your everyday life
Make sure you don’t carry heavy bags always on the same side.
-Try to alternate the side of the road you run onto balance the surface.

Hip misalignment is easy to develop, as runners it is a very common issue, so we have to really pay attention to our form and take care of our body.

Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!