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Left Hip Pain When Walking
brunosbud posted:
Within the last several weeks, I've developed some nagging hip pain on my left side...It's deep in the joint. The feeling at its most intense is like "bone-on-bone" friction.

I am not overweight, 54, male. Walking is my primary exercise and I do a lot. 6 mi/daily on average. I eat very clean.
I've walked, religiously, for over 10 years; 2000/yr pace for about the last 2 1/2 years. My family history includes Type 2 Diabetes on my father's side. My A1C is 5.4%. I am in good health.

The pain begins after roughly one mile into my morning walk. It gradually builds to the point where I'm visibly hobbling after two miles. I stop. After resting/sitting for a bit, the pain subsides and I can do normal daily activities, pain free.

The pattern repeats itself when I go on my evening walk. Walk a mile or so, pain free, and then a dull ache appears, etc, etc,...

I do notice that the pain is somewhat decreased when I slowly jog, instead. Again, no pain after periods of rest (2-4 hrs).

I suppose this could be due to normal and wear and tear but, deep down, I find it hard to accept.

I've tried increasing water consumption, before and during my walks. I've tried different shoes. I've tried walking in perfect balance and posture. The pain continues to persist.

I've ordered some orthotic inserts for my shoes; we'll see if this makes a difference next week.

Bayer aspirin does not work. Ibuprofen helps but does not relieve pain, entirely, only dulls. Ibuprofen can never be a long term solution for me...Too many adverse side effects, long term. I use to take glucosamine a few years ago; It does little for me...

At 5'10", 166, I'm tempted to lose another 10 #s if it means not having to go under the knife. I know that hip surgery has come a long way in the last 10 years but I want to avoid it until the very last option.

Despite all the miles, could I still lack strength on my left side? Could the use of hands free leash while walking a dog (< than 25 lbs) cause this pain? Does this sound more like osteoarthritis?

Any helpful hints or advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
Hi brunosbud,

Check out the Sports Medicine Community at

Take care,
brunosbud replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Thanks for your reply, Rich.

I will check it out...
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to brunosbud's response:
You're very welcome.
brunosbud responded:
A follow-up on my hip pain reported last month...

After careful consideration, I decided to work (exercise) through the pain rather than back off and rest...

My friend, who's slightly older than I, is experiencing almost identical symptoms. The pain is not present when he rides his bike but when he walks for extended distance (> 1/4 mile), he feels sharp pain in his left hip, just as I do.

His solution. Advil and rest. He rides his bike for exercise, almost exclusively, now.

He has gone to see a pain management specialist, orthopedic surgeon, two physical therapists and his GP, many times. No improvement. No diagnosis...

"Here, take Celebrex...."

Just a waste of time and money, if you ask me.

Joint pain in hips, knees and back is so common among baby boomers that I believe most doctors don't waste too much time in treatment. In other words, if it (pain) gets too bad, surgery is the best recourse. Especially if you are overweight (which, as I said, I am not)...

I'm happy to report, the pain has subsided, greatly. I can walk (maintain proper posture and balance) almost 3 miles (45 mins) with only a slight ache in the hip, now.

It's gradually going away. My body is healing itself through rest and more exercise (both strength and cardio). Additional Squat and lunge work has helped strengthen the joint even further.

In conclusion, I believe that strengthening muscles supporting painful joints can help reduce pain when exercising.

It is a tricky and delicate process, though. If you start to move in a unbalanced fashion in an effort to alleviate joint pain this can cause further damage and injury. I've seen this type of collateral injury (and experienced it myself) occur many times when people try to recover too fast from arthroscopic knee or ankle surgery. Hobbling/limping is not good for the body and cause all kinds of problems.

I mentioned dog walking, previously. I am pretty convinced, now, that this may have played a part in my injury. I think you have to be careful not to allow your dog to pull you (or lag too far behind) because this can cause, again, unbalanced movement that I spoke of, above. Even though my dogs are small (25 #s), if you walk long distances with dogs that are not tracking your steps, this can be a problem, particularly, your back.

To guard against injury, think posture, posture, posture!
Amelia_WebMD_Staff replied to brunosbud's response:
Glad you are feeling better, brunosbud!

This is great news! There can be a number of reasons for hip problems, so I'm glad that yours seems to be resolved. If you do have any trouble in the future, this WebMD Hip Problem Overview might help you with speaking to your doctor.

Please take care and enjoy yourself! :)
brunosbud replied to Amelia_WebMD_Staff's response:
Good article, Amelia. Based on what I read, I am not arthritic.

Instead, I was injured due to diminished flexibility in my left hip.

The solution: Increase flexibility in hips.


7 Tips to Increase Hip Flexibility and Range of Motion:

1. When sitting for prolonged periods, make sure your hips are higher than your knees.
2. Do squats*
3. Practice sitting down on the ground and getting up without using your hands*.
4. When choosing a chair for your computer desk set up, select a firm, flat surface over any padded and contoured seats.
5. Take extra deep breaths.
6. Practice dynamic joint mobility — taking each hip joint through a series of repetitive movements designed to increase the range of motion.
7. Stretch your hip flexors, especially after long car or airplane trips.

As we age, our bodies are changing all the time...Doh! Common sense, really. Problem solved.

Thank you Rich and Amelia!
Amelia_WebMD_Staff replied to brunosbud's response:
More than welcome and hope that you keep us all posted!

Be proud of your research and hard work to better yourself and keep that body going strong! We definitely do change as we age, but can still have fun and work to stay healthy. :)

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