Hip tightness in runners is a very common occurrence. Hip tightness can occur through our hip flexors which include the smaller muscles that cross from the hip into the pelvis/back and our quadriceps which cross the knee joint also. Tightness can also occur on the side and back of our hips which relates to the glute muscles and muscles that help stabilise our pelvis when we run. These muscles are susceptible to tightness due to the action of running as well as weakness around the hips and pelvis being a common finding in runners and the general population.
It is important to identify tightness around the hips to address any restrictions in movement through the hips and pelvis that negatively influence a running stride. If we are unable to extend our hip and leg as we push through the ground, our glute muscles are less able to engage to work effectively to propel us forward which is important. When we land, the force of our body weight and gravity place a demand on our hip stabilises, particularly the side of our hip, to hold the weight of our body and swinging leg even through our pelvis. This is important as it is a mechanically more efficient way for our body to work when we run. It also takes away the excessive load placed on the structures of our hip joint, bursa, tendons which can lead to other injuries around the hip and further down the leg.
Hip mobility is something most runners will have to maintain during their running life and can be managed through regular stretching, rolling and massage.