Hip Pain – a Physiotherapists Personal Perspective

Two weeks ago, on Sunday, I woke up and couldn’t bear weight through my right hip. The pain in my Sacroiliac joint was excruciating, and I had to use my hands on the bed, the drawers, the banister, tables, chairs, kitchen worktops, you name it, I used it, in order to get around.

What the heck?!

Had I done anything in the past 24 or 48 hours that was out of character? Apart from going to a CPD conference and a short 6 mile run, no, not really.

However, I was due to be going to Chamonix on Thursday to recce some of the TDS – a race which I have been looking forward to since January. Would I be OK for that?

As the week went on it became apparent that no, I really wouldn’t be, but I was still going to go anyway.

Despite the hip pain I managed to get around a 20km recce, but on the next day, the planned run got about 2k down the road before it was just too painful to go on. The hobble back to the car was horrendous.

What, the. Heck?

A couple of days off, and back to the UK – a week of work and now, here I am, two weeks after the original pain and…. Yes, it is still there. I can’t run, I can barely walk 200m without pain, and although I walked about 3km at the weekend, I was limping after 1.5 of them.

Not entirely great.

Being a physio, one would think it would be a relatively easy fix to get me back together again. Hah. Not so fast.

First things first – What is making it hurt?

Muscles? They’re the easy ones – what movements make it hurt? Well…. None of them. The issue is not muscle related. (I’m now getting a marvellous amount of compensation issues and related amusements, but they are as a result of the original issue- not the cause).

Tendons? Ditto.

Ligaments? The pain does not come from joints being stretched, and ligaments hurt when they are stretched. So no.

Which pretty much leaves Bone – and the Sacro-iliac joint.

A lot has been written about the Sacro-iliac joint, some of it informative, some of it rubbish, but working out which bits are what is a real challenge.

What I have to say is the real challenge at the moment is staying positive.

I know, as a physio, what pain is. I know where it comes from and that it doesn’t necessarily mean harm. I know about pain science, I know about healing times and all of that, yet you can’t stop that small voice at the back of your head saying… “what if this is it? I have seen loads of people in chronic pain. Pain that lasts seemingly forever. I’ve talked to them about strategies and about ideas and strengthening… but how is one going to strengthen bone? How will this ever get better? What if I’m out of running now. Done. Dusted. Finished”.

It’s properly scary, and the brain just does it without any kind of conscious control even though I KNOW it isn’t the case.


What to do?


Well, the main thing not to do right now is run, and not to worry. Work out what I can do to make myself stronger both physically, cardiovascularly and mentally in the next couple of months, and just keep my head in place. I still have no idea what caused this to happen, but I imagine it was a lack of strength somewhere along the way.
Just by writing this things are beginning to look up.

I’m off to the gym. Bulgarian split squats are calling.



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