Feel My (Hip) Pain

Hi folks. I’m new here, but an avid reader of, and subscriber to, RW magazine, and looking for some help.

I’m a regular long term runner. 20 – 22 miles per week average.

Recently I started experiencing some pretty severe pain in my left hip which came about as follows:

A couple of months ago I didn’t do much running for a period of about three weeks due to holiday. Not a problem I thought. I could do with the rest. After the holiday I then did a couple of weeks at my average mileage and following a Sunday ten miler woke the next day with the hip pain.

It’s a constant ache but with stabbing pain deep in the hip joint when loading the leg through walking or running. Stairs are almost impossible, especially downover. I can’t stand on one leg to dress. I can’t find any muscle or tissue pain through pressing or prodding.

After the pain first started I gave it ten days rest, which helped a fair bit, then attempted a short run. This immediately put me back to worse than square one. I then gave it twenty days rest. Again, the pain subsided but another attempt at a run a couple of days ago caused a relapse and that’s where I am now, walking with a pronounced limp!

I saw a physio yesterday evening who, after much twisting and pressing, had no idea what to diagnose. He deferred to a senior physio and ditto, he had no idea either, so I threw in the words ‘stress fracture.’ This was dismissed out of hand because I’m ‘not seventeen stone and have just taken up running.’

At this point I lost confidence in these people and their suggested action was a six week course of generic physiotherapy with the option of an MRI as soon as I wanted it (at a cost of £250 – or a few months wait on the NHS).

I feel like I need to take the weight off that leg for a while with crutches or something but the physios dismissed this too ('we need to strengthen the hip etc. etc.').

So what to do?

Anybody out there with similar experience, or just some good advice?!


  • I'd go for the MRI scan personally so you can see what's going on.  I had one and have subsequently had an op on my hip last year.  I was in constant pain until the op had been referred to various physios who did nothing.  The scan was the only thing that identified the cause of the problem which was an impingement - many months of faffing around were saved...
  • PipesPipes ✭✭✭
    I second what NGUG has just said. I have the same thing she mentioned, having initially been diagnosed as having a strained sartorius muscle, then a suspected stress fracture (I'm not a new, 17 stone runner either). I've had your sort of pain for 10 months and have surgery in October. There are lots of things that can be wrong with the hip, though, so we are probably quite extreme cases. Best get it checked out by MRI to remove the guesswork.
  • I had loads of different diagnosis too and I am not a 17stone beginner either I think the problem is that the hip is a very deep cavity so lots of gubbins in there that could be going wrong MRI scans are fantastically detailed so well worth a few months wait on the NHS if need be.
  • Thanks for the replies.

    The pain seemed to get worse yesterday and I think the course of action I've decided on is complete rest for two weeks at least before I start any sort of treatment.

    In the meantime see my Doc (appointment tomorrow) to find out how long I'll have to wait for a scan on the NHS. If it's months I may have to stump up the £250 to get to the bottom of the problem a.s.a.p.

     I'll keep you posted!

  • Good plan Mr T - I paid for mine just didnt want to be out of action too long - good luckimage
  • Hi.  Haven't been here for a while but still plodding the streets!

    Mr T, Your symptoms you describe sound very similar to mine a few years ago although injuries show up in all sorts of ways so it may of course not be the same as mine.

    I ended up with a stress fracture at the neck of the femur (classed as a hip fracture) after completing the Leicester half marathon back in 2007.  I couldn't walk without crutches after the event, (still can't understand how I managed to finish the course!) and the doctors just advised rest etc.  An X-ray two days after the event didn't show anything wrong but after 2 weeks of agony I paid out for an MRI scan and it was as clear as anything that the bone had a crack approximately 2/3rd's the way accross just below the ball at the top of the femur.

    Before having the MRI, I made contact with a physio who catagorically would not even look at me if there was any possibility of me having a stress fracture due to the risk of doing further damage.

    My advice would be to put your mind at rest an go for the scan ASAP, at least you will find out one way or the other.

    Good luck.

  • Thanks RTSS

    I know it can sometimes be unwise to self diagnose on the basis of what you read on t'internet but everything I've experienced seems to tick the boxes of a FNSF.

    • Common in long distance runners – check.
    • Onset usually after an increase in mileage – check.
    • Involves a constant ache deep in the groin – check.
    • Sharp pain when walking – check.
    • Relieved after rest – check.
    • Pain returns when returning to activity too soon – check.

    I've been referred by my doctor to the musculoskeletal department of my local hospital and I'm waiting for them to get back to me with my first appointment.

    I have a feeling it'll be +4 weeks and if so I can't wait that long, and more.

    Paying for that MRI is looking increasingly likely.

    One other thing RTSS, what sort of mileage were you doing in the run up to your half marathon and for how long? I keep being made to feel that it couldn't possibly be a stress fracture as I wasn't doing 75 miles a week, or I'm not obese, or I wasn't regularly carrying a 50lb pack.

  • Mr T.  When I got the SF I was 43 years old, average build, approx 11 1/2 stone and not doing excessive mileages by any standard.

    I had done one marathon (London 2003) and am just a medium/slow club runner getting out once or twice a week.  I had trained for a local half marathon 2 weeks before Leicester and finished in about 1:50.  Having done the training for that I thought I would also do Leicester as it is quite a good course for pb's.

    My weekly mileage has never been above about 20 miles maximum so definately not overtraining!

    I was treated under the NHS once I was able to show the GP the scan pictures (which you get to keep if you pay yourself!) and did have a bone density scan which indicated that I was borderline osteoporosis, i.e I have relatively low bone density.  The consultant said that the fracture was very unusual although not unheard of and that I had been unlucky to get it, but lucky it hadn't gone completely!

    There was no treatment other than rest and time.  I can't rest, so continued working etc and got about on crutches for a few weeks.  I could bear weight on the leg again after a few weeks and was relatively back to normal (i.e walking without a limp) after a few months.  I started running again after 6 months but continued to have a few twinges for about a year.

    I have no indications now of it ever happening and complete in local races etc and at least one half marathon a year, although it is always in the back of my mind and I wouldn't try another marathon!

    As you say, it's best not to self diagnose, but only you youself knows what it feels like. When I look back, I think the one thing that I should have taken more notice of was the fact that the pain was just a dull ache with the occasional sharp stab when I was sat down, but any weight bearing (even enough just enough to break an egg!) was excrutatingly painful.

    As always, there are different grades af any ailment, you may remember that Paula Ratcliffe competed in a marathon when she was said to have had a stress fracture, she wouldn't have it she had had the same one as I did!!!

    Good luck!

  • I have had a mild hip pain for about a month.  Did a run a couple of weeks ago and it started hurting, so went to see the doctors who sent me for an xray and blood test.  I have been told I will have to wait 3 weeks for the results of my xray.

    The pain reduced significantly so I decided to do the half marathon that I had been training hard for.

    It wasn't too painful during the run but last night I couldn't even get into bed.

    Like people say I am having trouble walking and standing on one leg, but the most pain seems to come when I have to move my leg out, e.g getting into bed or getting out of the car.

     Does this sound familiar?

  • Emily

    Certainly the pain when putting weight through the affected leg sounds familiar, but for me personally it hurts more when moving my leg in and over the other one (adduction?).

    My pain has reduced significantly, but is still there, but not through treatment, purely through rest and I just know and can feel that if I attempted to run it would go again.

    I see an NHS orthopaedic specialist this Friday, so will hopefully start to make some progress.

  • Emily

    My experience was vey much that it was just adreneline during the race that hid the pain from the fracture and that the pain was excrutiating immediately at the finish line!  i.e. It didn't come on slowly over the next day or two.

    I would have thought therefore that if it were a fracture, it would have been more painful during your run and immediately afterwards, rather than coming on over a period of time later. I would guess it was more of a muscular injury that you have but I'm not a medical person so would suggest you get yourself checked out.

    As far as moving around is concerned, getting in and out cars etc, I could not take a single step without crutches and the only way up and down the stairs was on my bottom!

    Fingers crossed it's not as bad as you think.  All the best.

  • The more you describe your symptoms RTSS the more it fits what I've been experiencing!
  • I finally gave in to hip pain in Jan and had to stop regularly running could hardly walk the dog. Self refered myself to NHS physio who after 6 weeks of exercises sent me for hydrotherapy which hurt and didn't seem to do anything. Diagnosis hip impingement but no XRay or MRi offered as no operative solution available on NHS anymore. Over 10 thousand for private op. Tried running 5K on sand in April crippled for two days afterwards but no pain whilst running. Have been tentatively running 5K but no faster than 28 min!! Hip locks and clicks and feels like it can't support me on a bad day.On a good day can walk dog bout 3k before start to limp.Sitting for long time painful getting out of car painful. Throughly depressed to think can't run cycling hurts too breaststroke a real no no.

    Begininning to think should just take Brufen and keep running if I am going to get OA anyway!!!

    Sorry to sound so neagtive but it is depressing.

  • Woo hoo,

     I think I am nearly ready to run again.

     I got my xray and blood results back with no problem.  The doc is to arrange physio for me but my pain has almost gone.

    I went out and did a mile on Sunday after watching the GNR and apart from looking an idiot running (limping) I have felt great since.

    I am knocking it up to 3 tonight and 5 on Thursday both at slow pace without my GPS.

    Cant wait to get back down the club.  Thanks for your help and good luck sorting your own injuries out.

    P.s ill probably be back on here in a couple of weeks with it flaring up again.

  • Don't know whether to give a sigh of relief or just cry. My symptoms are just like Mr T's and came for the first time this week. At the weekend I upped my mileage from 8 to 10 with no problem. Then on Wednesday I did 10 again and the problems started.  Discomfort slowly subided bu today I went running again and the pain started immediately. I was only doing 6 miles anyway because it was almost dark and inthe forest it's hard to see the trail at dusk. Since I finished this evening I can hardly move and stairs are difficult.

    I googled this site to see if anyone else had experienced the same and although in a sense I'm relieved to know that it's a relatively common problem, I'm very concerned at the length of time recovery can take and getting the right diagnosis straight off and getting the right treatment. Guess I need to see a doctor asap, to get referred to a physio.

    Don't know what I'll do if I can't run. I really need to do it. You guys will know what I mean


  • Hi everyone, I know it's been a long time, but could you give us an update of what were you actually diagnosed with?

    I myself have very similar symptoms but the MRI doesnt show anything

    Thanks !
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