How Chiropractor's Treat Runner's Hip Injuries
The hip and pelvis areas of the body are especially susceptible to injury for runners. The problem most often develops over a long period of time, due to repetitive micro trauma from the shock which runs up the legs and into the hip and pelvic joints when running feet strike the hard ground over and over. A closer look at what is known as the biomechanics of the kinetic chain that leads to these injuries helps with prevention.
Successful recovery is most likely when the treatment is focused on bringing balance to misaligned parts of the body in the kinetic chain of actions that lead to swelling and inflammation in the hips and pelvis, as opposed to trying to treat the swelling and inflammation directly. This is because getting straight to the cause of the problem is more effective than treating its secondary effects. Outmoded approaches to treatment emphasized stretching, but this has been found to be ineffective in the long term rehabilitation of runners afflicted with this pain. The most effective solution to the problem is to evaluate the biomechanics of the legs, ankles and feet, which will reveal where the specific imbalances in muscle strength, asymmetry, and misaligned gait are located.
The most common muscle imbalances in runners was the focus of recent study, which studied 30 uninjured volunteers from a running club with 30 injured runners. The results showed that the uninjured runners showed no difference in muscle strength between either side of the hips. For the injured runners, however, there was an imbalance. The side of the hip that felt the most injured showed a significantly greater amount of strength than the muscles on the non-injured side. The study concluded that strengthening the hip muscles through exercise, so that both sides of the hip are equally strong, is the key to avoiding injuries.
Chiropractor’s will help runners to rehabilitate their hip injuries by recommending various exercises. This include weight lifting exercises that force stabilizing muscles of the hip to contract simultaneously with hip muscles. In the initial stages of rehabilitation of hip injuries, however, heavy weights are avoided in favor of exercises that get the foot and lower leg swinging freely, which reduces stress on the hip muscles. These free swingging leg exercises are most often done against the resistance of elastic tubing. When the runner is prepared to return to full activity, weight training for the hip can begin.