CLINIC: Should I Keep Running?

Tue, 6 Dec. 2011 - 1:22 a.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association


QUESTION:
For the last five or six years, I've run 25-30 miles a week. I’m 46 and weigh 180 lbs. I've noticed in the last year or so that when my regular, non-running shoes wear down, I experience hip pain while walking. I don't think it's an iliotibial band problem because stretching doesn’t help.
 
I've always walked with my feet pointing out and wear out my shoes on the outside heel.    When I buy new shoes, the pain goes away. I’m concerned that the running is somehow accelerating the deterioration of my hip, since the pain is recent and the running relatively so also. However, I do not experience the pain while running. What do you think, and what can I do to prevent further damage?
 
Ted Ralicki
North Platte, NE

ANSWER:
Occasionally, adolescent hip problems will begin to exhibit symptoms around the age of 35 or 40 and become progressive. Asymmetry of range of motion needs to be evaluated.  An orthopedic surgeon would typically give you a physical for this kind of evaluation.  The doctor might request an MRI of the affected hip. The fact is that your history of hip pain could have multiple causes. You could have a cartilage tear, misshapen femoral head or joint space, circulatory disorder of the hip, a partial slipped epiphysis, or some cystic lesion of the femoral head or neck. If the examination doesn't find an anatomical abnormality, then an orthotic might be worth considering.
 
Paul A. Lunseth, MD
Tampa, FL
 
ANSWER:
It's good that there's no pain while running, but the recurring hip pain while walking demands that you get a good medical examination. Running does not cause arthritis, but if you have arthritis, it will certainly aggravate the problem. Get a good physical and structural examination. Your family doc may then refer you to an orthopedic specialist. It’s not the running per se that is causing the trouble, but only after the underlying cause is discovered can you determine whether continuing to run may be harmful.
 
Joseph Cerimele, MD
New York, NY
 
(RUNNING & FITNEWS® January / February 2011 • Volume 29, Number 1)
 
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The American Running Association (ARA) and its Clinic Advisory Board disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any consequences suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. ARA does not endorse specifically any test, treatment, or procedure mentioned on this site.


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