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Jogging & Running/Proper running form to prevent hip pain?

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Question
Hi there,

I'm a new runner (26yo F) who has recently experienced hip and thigh pain when I tried to increase my distance from 3 to 5 miles (have historically run shorter distances like 2 miles in conjunction with interval training, without issues). I was told it may be my IT band, so I'm doing some stretches for that. However, I am (evidently) too stubborn to NOT run for 4 weeks, so I googled proper running form, looked at some videos, and went on another 4-mile run yesterday. I tried my best not to put my feet down in front of my hips, land on the balls of my feet first, and kick my legs out behind me instead of in front of me. Today, my calves are very fatigued, but I have almost no joint pain!

My question is, is it safe to run with this new form if I have no additional hip pain? Have I got the form right, and is this the most joint-healthy way to run?

Thanks for your time!

Answer
Great question Rachel.  I have 2 answers for you.

1) Yes, I believe that forefoot running is the best. It is natural for your calves to be very tired and sore from this. Over time this will improve. Be careful to not push yourself too much while you are adjusting to this new form or you may cause other injuries.

2) I believe that you should vary/tweak your form often to avoid excessive stress on any joints. You can tweak it by what point of your foot hits the ground first, how you roll your foot once your foot hits the ground, how high you pick up your knees each stride, and much more. Basically, you should always try to avoid pain. Do what feels good.  You should feel light when you run. It should feel easy.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Good luck in your quest to be a better distance runner.

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Nick Rainey

Expertise

I can answer questions about pain and training program. If there is a question about running that I don't know then I'll do some research and make sure I provide you with an answer.

Experience

I'm a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I'm a track and cross country coach. I train clients throughout the year. I've helped prepare athletes for their NFL Pro Days. I've written articles on running. Finally, those that I work with have less pain and run faster.

Organizations
American Physical Therapy Association- Sports Section

Publications
The 6 Week Workout Program- I'm the author of this book Research Made Simple for Physical Therapists- I'm the author of this Kindle book

Education/Credentials
Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy BS in Exercise Science NSCA- CSCS and CPT USA Weightlifting Level I NPI- Certified Posture Specialist Total Motion Release Level II Certified Dry Needling

Awards and Honors
National Posture Institute's International Perfect Posture of the Year Award 2011 Clinical Excellence Award- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Aegis Therapies Scholarship recipient

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