A Strained Hip Flexor

I put off writing this post, skipping what should have been training plan updates on my path to the Oakland Half Marathon in 5 weeks.  I kept hoping everything would right itself, and I’d be able to post a great update and mention off hand that I’d taken a few days off for some pain in my hip, but now all was well.

Sadly, that’s now what this post is about.  I haven’t run in two weeks.  Three Thursdays ago now, I did a killer workout.  6 long hills (0.2 miles each) at 5k pace, straight up into the Berkeley hills.  The whole workout totally kicked my butt, but in a good way, I thought.  I wasn’t able to hold 5k pace for the whole of each hill, but I definitely pushed my hardest on each repeat.  When I woke up the next morning I was super sore, but in a good “hey you worked really hard!” kind of way.

Friday is always a rest day for me, and I was grateful for the couch time.  I was still sore on Saturday, so I moved my long run to Sunday and took two rest days, all the while thinking I was being very responsible.  I ran my 11 miles on Sunday, and everything felt fine.  My run was no kinds of fast; I did it in just under 2 hours, but I felt perfectly comfortable.

Then Monday morning, I woke up limping.  I felt like my left hip (the villain in this story) was an inch higher than my right hip.  Just walking felt strange.  My hip hurt, and pain radiated down my left quad.  I knew there was no way I’d be running, so I went to yoga, and spent the next few days stretching, icing, and foam rolling.  When it seemed no better days later, I went to my doctor.  She diagnosed me with a strained hip flexor and sent me home with some stretches. 


(My cats like to bite chunks of foam out of the foam roller and bat them around the house.  I’m constantly picking up blue foam everywhere I go.  I never said my pets were normal.)

Since then, I’ve been stretching and using all kinds of other recovery techniques.  An A.R.T. session helped a lot, but I still feel crooked.  I have an appointment this morning for some more A.R.T. and an evaluation with a physical therapist that I hope will solve my problem. 

In the mean time, I’ve been riding my bike a lot more, and heading to spin class several times a week on top of that.  The bike doesn’t seem to bother my hip or quad, and I’m grateful for that.  With any luck I won’t lose too much fitness during this period.  Oakland is still five weeks away, and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to run it.  I am sad though; knowing my training was going so well and then having to halt it is incredibly frustrating. 

I’m just trying to remind myself that this is the right, responsible thing to do.  I’ve run through injuries before, never with good results.  This is also the first injury where I’ve known positively I shouldn’t be running on it.  These days the most running I’m doing is 6 steps down my hallway to assess the situation.  When those six steps feel unstable, I know 6 miles would be a really bad idea.

Have you ever recovered quickly from a freak injury?  Please cheer me up with your story!


A Strained Hip Flexor — 6 Comments

  1. so sorry to hear about this. i’ve had some hip flexor discomfort lately too. i’ve been trying to do a lot of strength exercises, like the ones from physical therapy, so hopefully they will share some with you. i think as long as you’re keeping you fitness up, you should probably still be fine for oakland, but perhaps with managed expectations? also, have you tried pool running? i tried it a few times and its super hard but its still running. i know a few others who have done it to keep running while injured.

  2. Sorry to hear about that! I got injured a few years ago but didn’t treat it fast enough so I wasn’t able to run the full marathon like I hoped. But you’re doing the smart thing and respecting your body. Hope your hip flexor feels better fast!

  3. Ugh….You’re right, stuff like this is SO frustrating, in no small part because you (or at least I) feel like there’s nothing you can do about it, except literally do nothing. Like you I’ve tried the running through stuff a few times, never with good results. So now I’m a little gun-shy & always err on the side of too much rest when something like this doesn’t go away in a few days. That’s been working for me for the last year or so and I haven’t had anything major since then. Hope that’s at least a little encouraging? <:)

  4. GAH this is not good news! I hope its something you can get over quickly – you are taking all the right steps. I had hip issues for a good month after Big Sur last year and massage was FINALLY what made it go away. I hope you get your answer very soon.

  5. Ugh, so frustrating. I’ve had hip issues off and on and stretching helps, but the biggest thing that’s helped me is lying face down with my hip crease on a tennis ball (or probably even better one of the balls like you have in that picture up there!) and seeing if I can really dig into the spot that’s hurting.

    I get randomly injured all the time, and I just raced after 3 weeks off and was surprised how much fitness I was able to retain from swimming and biking. My gym has an arc trainer and I can use that without pain, so I’ve been using that to supplement as I’m coming back. When I was dealing with IT band issues last year, though, the arc trainer killed, so your mileage may vary, so to speak.

  6. So sorry to hear this ;( I had a tight hip flexor last year (which is admittedly much different than a strain) and bikram yoga cured it in 3 sessions. ART and massage helped, but the yoga kicked it to the curve after months of pain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *