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experience with hip stress fracture/reactions?

I'm halfway through a Learn to Run 10K program and last week began experiencing some hip pain after my runs that was worse after sitting a while. During my last run (yesterday), a fairly easy one of 5 minute run intervals, 1 min walking in between, about 5.2 km, the pain showed up while I was running (first time). It got better on the "downhill" part of my run (it's an old railroad so the grade is very shallow but noticeable), especially if I shortened my stride and if I focused on keeping my posture straight rather than slouching, which I tend to do (didn't know that until now). But after the run I was in a lot of pain, especially getting up after sitting for a while.

In researching my symptoms it appears I may be having a stress reaction that could lead to a stress fracture. While I don't fit the "risk" criteria of a sudden increase in activity (even before running I was cycling and walking regularly), or menopausal, nor do I have any bone density issues I'm aware of, the pain certainly fits the list of symptoms and, importantly, I totally fail the "hop test" (i.e. hopping causes pain).

I'm going to make an appt to see my doctor but I'm wondering if anybody else has experience with this and can help me figure out if this is the case. My next run is in 2 days and I was planning on doing it if I was pain free that morning, but it's a "big" one with 10, 15, and 20 min of continuous running. I'm worried that I will not be able to finish it, or that I will make my hip worse. I enjoy running so much and cycling in the rain really sucks (at this time of year we are heading into months of rain), and I don't swim well either.

Any advice? Any BTDT stories?


  • dondimitri
    dondimitri Posts: 245 Member

    The following is my comment from another thread from a while back on stress fractures of the femur. Here is a link to the thread:

    I had a stress fracture of the femur 40 years ago. It wasn't healing very quickly. I was a very impatient person at that point in my life and unfortunately listened to an orthopedic surgeon who indicated that "pinning it" would be the fastest route back to getting competitive.

    I have regretted electing that operation for the rest of my life. I have a huge stainless screw in my hip and a stainless plate running down the outside of the femur. I had no idea what "pinning it" actually involved. My fault for not asking more detailed questions. That hip is susceptible to pressure, I am uncomfortable lying on my right side for any extended period of time.
    I have other complaints associated with the decision as well but won't bore you with those.

    Bottom line advice: Do whatever you have to do to allow the stress fracture to heal. Do not go the surgical route.

    By the time I was done healing from the surgery and then rehabbing my hip: If I had just taken that amount of time to let the fracture heal naturally I would have been ahead of the game.

    Good luck.
  • jarrettd
    jarrettd Posts: 872 Member
    Definitely see your doctor. I have suffered with hip pain for the last 5+ years, and here's what I know:

    There is a TON of structure, muscle, tendon, etc in and around the hip. Any of it can create pain, ranging from stinging/burning, to throbbing. Also, lower back/tailbone/pelvic/groin pain can radiate to the hip.

    My first few visits resulted in appointments with a massage therapist (possible piriformis syndrome, a deep muscle that runs alongside and sometimes wraps around the sciatic nerve), a chiropractor (lower back possibly out of alignment, causing me to run/walk with an uneven gait, putting more pressure on the right hip), a podiatrist (possible leg-length discrepancy and/or arch issues causing the favoring of one side). Followed the advice and treatment of all these worthy individuals, with only minimal, temporary relief.

    I don't want to discourage you, just warn you that it may not be as straightforward as you hope.

    After lots of research, I suspect a labral tear, which could be determined my an MRI and repaired with surgery (and 6-9 months of recovery). I've decided that it doesn't hurt quite that bad yet, and I continue to manage it with yoga, strength training and just staying active. Like you, mine gets worse with inactivity.

    Good luck and don't give up!!
  • MelodyandBarbells
    MelodyandBarbells Posts: 7,725 Member
    I had pain in my hip similar to what you describe, OP, and it turned out to be a hurt muscle. Same thing with hurting worse after sitting for a while. I limped as though I had a sprained ankle and of course the area was very stiff. The urgent care practitioner didn't want me doing anything at all that involved moving the hip (I had switched from my regular classes to Aqua Zumba). She was very surprised I didn't take any ibuprofen or anything. When I did see the doctor, his diagnosis was bursitis and he said as far as he would tell, I could ease back into doing my thing so long as it didn't continue to hurt.

    What's a btdt?
  • jarrettd
    jarrettd Posts: 872 Member
    BTDT= been there, done that.
  • walleymama
    walleymama Posts: 174 Member
    jarrettd, thank you so much for the encouragement to keep at it. it is very discouraging as this is the first time I've had such an experience and I was so enjoying my running.

    Jane, your words gave me hope! Today I went for a walk and really focused on figuring out where the exact site of the pain was. I was reassured to find that the most sore spot was on the outside of my hip and right where my bursitis tends to give me trouble. The pain did not get worse throughout my 30 minute walk and I was able to complete my walk without much discomfort.

    I'm still going to forgo tomorrow's run and will cycle instead. Perhaps if the pain is gone by Thursday (my next run day after tomorrow) I will try and see what happens.

    thank you all for your input!
  • tfpdunn
    tfpdunn Posts: 68 Member
    Get thee to an orthopedic surgeon!!!

    I had similar hip pain when I got serious about running in 2010. I couldn't stretch it away and finally saw a doc. Turns out I had undiagnosed hip displasia and osteoarthritis. I had a total hip replacement in 2012 at 34 years old. It was terrifying, but I now feel incredible!