Stability, specifically around the hip, is an important factor to consider when running, so we are going to take some time to talk about it here.

Why do runners need stability?

Inadequate hip stabilization can be a key contributor to lower leg running-related injuries. This means the pain you feel in your knee, ankle, or foot with running is most likely the result of deficits, higher up the chain which is something that you can address.

Our arms and legs require a stable axle to maneuver in order to have efficient movement. Think of trying to drive cross-country in a car that has a loose axle. There are bound to be problems. The concept is the same for a healthy running stride. Having a stable pelvis and hip complex is paramount for healthy movement at the knee, ankle, and foot.

How to check your stability?

Running is a multi-part movement pattern that occurs quickly, which can make it hard to identify where deficits may be occurring. A good place to start is to break down the individual movements that comprise a running stride and observe how your hip and pelvis are operating.

Try taking a video of yourself doing the key movements below.

  • Single‐leg balance for 1 minute
  • Three single‐leg squats
  • Three single‐leg vertical jumps (Jumping straight up and landing on one leg)

As you do these movements watch where your upper body is shifting, how your waist‐line is positioned, and where your knee is positioned relative to your hip and ankle.

Could you make it a full minute on a single leg without losing balance?

Did your waistline tip to one side as seen in figure (B)?

Did your landing spot shift around during the vertical jumps? These are all questions that can help determine if your hip and pelvis stability could use some attention.

How to improve your stability?

Research has identified hip abductors and hip external rotators as key muscle groups to target for improving hip stabilization. These muscles sit on the side of your hip anddo not directly get strengthened by running alone. Ultimately, this means you have to supplement running with other forms of exercise to protect yourself from injury.

Check out our YouTube channel for Top 3 Exercises for Runners