After hip resurfacing I am rediscovering the joys of trail running in New Zealand.

You may still be able to run with a hip replacement using an appropriate running technique and with the right approach.

The dangers of the day after

We all know what its like to be sore the day after unfamiliar exercise. Although running strengthens our muscles in the long term, in the short term they are weakened by unfamiliar stress. This is important to take into account as we try to protect our hips while restarting running after a hip replacement.

I had an email from Lynn who had a hip replacement quite some months ago and was excited to restart running. However the day after her first tentative run Lynn experienced hip over-rotation while exercising, which is likely to have been influenced her run on the previous day.

One indicator that the muscles supporting our hip joint may be sub-par is muscle soreness or delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), on the day following exercise. This commonly experienced soreness after exercise is thought to be caused by minuscule tearing of muscle fiber but this is not such a bad thing, as it triggers rapid cellular adaptations that protect the muscles from similar damage in subsequent workouts. Your muscles get stronger.

The amount of tearing you experience after you run depends on how hard you exercise but what’s important is that for a couple of days after running your glutes in particular are going to be LESS supportive of your hip. These muscles are likely to have been out of action for some time and even if you have been assiduous with your strengthening exercises, restarting running can still result in muscle soreness and DOMS-related weakness.

So be careful during your early runs but be extra vigilant, even while walking, on your rest days. DOMS is worse during the first 2 days following a run and this post-run muscle soreness is different to muscle tiredness you might feel while you are running or the acute, sudden and sharp pain of a muscle strain or sprain that causes swelling or bruising.

Delayed onset muscle soreness is normal as you begin running again and is a sign that your muscles are adapting, building stamina and strengthening. Needless to say, certain muscle pain or soreness can be a sign of a serious injury. If your muscle soreness does not get better consult your specialist.