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Relationship Between Hip Strength and Running Injuries

Running can put a strain on all aspects of your body, especially on your hips. With common injuries such as patella tendonitis, many runners contribute their injuries to knee problems when that might not be the case. Most of the injuries experienced by runners have been shown to start at the hip. Though these injuries may not be located in the hip, it is often hip weakness that leads to injuries in other parts of your body.

There have been studies done to further find out what the exact connection is between hip strength and running injuries. One of the studies done showed that hip injuries can be linked to an injury known as “runner’s knee.” Of the patients who had “runner’s knee,” it was shown that they also had weak hip abductors and weak hip external rotators. The study went as far as to prove that those who had knee injuries had weakness in five out of the six major hip muscle groups. Another study was done on patients who had suffered from IT band syndrome. This study had the subjects do a six-week gluteus medius strengthening program. The gluteus medius is the main hip abductor and external rotator, so after the subjects worked these muscles out for six-weeks, almost all of them were able to return to their normal training routines.

Working out and strengthening your hip muscles is easy and extremely worth it, especially for distance runners. There are various exercises that can be done to help strengthen your hips such as the side leg lift, the “clam” leg lift, and the back bridge. Depending on your prior hip strength you will be advised to do about one to three sets of these exercises.

Before going on a run, or doing any physical activity, it is important to take care of your hips just like you would any other muscle. It is important to work out and stretch your hip muscles prior to running because these muscles can be the source of many injuries for distance runners. By building up your hip strength you will prevent any further injuries. Before your next run make sure to talk to your physical therapist about any suggestions that they may have about how to strengthen your hip muscles and reduce your chance of getting an injury!


We feel like we have the best physical therapists around. Did you know you don’t need a referral to get help from a Physical Therapist? Direct access is available for you, please call us and set up an evaluation so we can help get you back on your feet. In Orange County we offer Physical Therapy in Chester, Goshen, Monroe, Port Jervis, and Montogmery. Westchester County has Physical Therapy in Armonk, Bedford, and Hawthorne. In Ulster County we offer Physical Therapy in Wallkill, while in Sullivan County you can get Physical Therapy in Ferndale. To round out our 12 locations in New York, those living in Rockland County can go to Physical Therapy in New City as well as Pomona. If you happen to live in PA, we also have Physical Therapy in Milford and Dingmans Ferry of Pike County. Give us a call today!