How to Prevent Hip Pain After Running

There are 3 changes a runner must implement to their biomechanics to prevent hip pain after running. They are: increase your step frequency, decrease your stride length, and land with a forefoot strike.

Click here to see what a forefoot strike looks like!

Hip Pain After Running

How to Prevent Hip Pain After Running

Increase Your Step Frequency

Luckily, landing with a forefoot strike naturally increases step frequency because it forces you to take smaller steps (i.e. shortens your stride), resulting in smaller hip extension moments at touchdown [1].

What is so safe about a higher step frequency during forefoot running?

When step frequency is higher, the musculoskeletal system behaves better as a spring and allows more energy to be absorbed at the hip [1]. A higher step frequency also reduces peak hip adduction during loading response shortly after touchdown [1].

  • Low hip adduction corresponds to less strain on the knee-joint [2], which accounts for the low prevalence of knee injury in habitual forefoot runners.

An Easy Tip for Increasing Your Cadence
A highly recommended method for increasing step frequency is through auditory queuing with the use of a metronome. Through practice, the timing of the metronome helps habituate motor learning that controls cadence.

Shorten Your Stride

Forefoot running reduces stride length which causes the torso (center mass) to pass through a smaller horizontal area relative to initial foot strike position, resulting in less compressive forces on the hip.

  • Essentially, the hip endures less mechanical work to pull the center of mass forward in forefoot running

How to Shorten Your Stride
A method to decrease stride length when forefoot running is to land with a more flexed (bent) knee at touchdown. This also allows for a more plantar flexed ankle at touchdown (shown below) which reduces peak hip adduction also.

Running hip injuries
To shorten your stride, bend the knee and keep your forefoot relaxed and do not lift it up at touchdown, rather just let the forefoot fall to the ground effortlessly.

Don’t Heel Strike! – Research shows that heel striking is a major pitfall for runners.

Barefoot Running – It’s not a fade. It’s actually one of the best ways to improve the sensory networks in your feet and joints.

Shoe Reviews – A forefoot runner’s guide to minimalist shoes.

When Your Knees are Out of Whack – Learn how to avoid runners knee.


References:

[1]. Heiderscheit BC, Chumanov ES, Michalski MP, Wille CM, Ryan MB. Effects of step rate manipulation on joint mechanics during running. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43:296-302.

[2]. Schubert et al. influence of stride frequency and length on running mechanics: a systematic review. Sports Health, 2014, 6(3):210-217.

Bretta Riches

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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