mild hip pain

There’s a couple of threads on hip issues, but nothing like the new one I have, so I thought I’d ask for some opinions.

History: I’ve always been in very great shape and done lots of different sports over the years and never had any issues with my hips. Through falls and crashes (volleyball, skiing, etc.) I have injured my ankles a lot and torn my ACL (2x surgery and pretty decent now), lower back issues and a few tendonitis problems (elbow and shin) but have had very few joint issues.

The last month or so I’ve developed a slight pain in my left hip/buttock area. It’s kind of strange as it’s very mild and hasn’t seemed to have any negative consequences yet. Basically it just feels like really sore joints/muscles. At first I thought this was just do to doing some new stuff, primarily 2 things:

  1. riding the 36er more and with short cranks of 100 and 114mm
  2. getting much better at uphills, both road with short cranks and steep inclines off-road, where I used to have to dismount I can now balance and really pull/push with my whole body, using my right hand on the seat.

In particular, I think I now use the width between the pedals (36 Oracle with 125mm hub and on the 26 KH Spirit cranks with high Q), to really increase my uphill force by adding the lateral aspect, if that makes any sense. On really steep hills I literally turn the unicycle 20-50 degrees from left to right as I switch from one pedal to the other with a “balance stillstand” in between.

Again I see how this could stress my muscles and joints initially, but now it’s been close to 2 months and I have this slight pain in my hips maybe every second week for maybe 2-5 days at a time. In particular, after a big ride if I sit down for a while and then stand up, I can really feel it. Then maybe 2-3 days later I still feel beat and notice it, e.g. when getting out of bed. The buttock area around the ball of the leg joint is a little bit sensitive to the touch, i.e. I can push around and some areas seem very tender. However this is often just from sore muscles or can also be related to my lower back issues, and may not even have anything to do with the hip pain. I also feel a slight other pain that feels more like it’s inside the joint. Stretching my hips and legs from side to side seems to make it feel better but it doesn’t completely go away. I can still unicycle like this but I feel a little apprehensive about using full pedaling force as I can then almost “feel” the joint interaction as I’m cranking.

Never having had issues in the hip area, my ideas are that it could be muscle or joint or (my theory as to most likely) ligaments. But my anatomy knowledge of the hip is not strong. Can you get something like tendonitis (ligament strain) in the hips? That’s almost what it feels like just a lot less painful (as tendonitis is usually very painful and often debilitating)

Anyone have any theories? Or any experience similar?

As it doesn’t seem to be getting worse I’m not so concerned yet, but then it seems like it should have started getting better.

Other things could be dissymmetry as I have my right hand on the seat/brake about 80% of the time, particularly for pushing/pulling uphill, and I only ride with the left on easy straightaways.

Or maybe I just need more rest days: For the last 2 weeks I have ridden at least 1 1/2 and an average of 2 hours every day except for last Sunday (including a huge epic snow muni ride last Wednesday). So this weekend I took off 2 days and will then have my 2x14km commute again starting tomorrow. On the other hand I’ve been doing pretty much that amount of riding now for a few months now, and the rest of my body is adjusted to that “norm”. But why not my hips? Tonight (after light hiking, skiing, sledding this weekend and no uni) I can still totally feel my hips after 2 days not being on the unicycle.

I wish I had answers for you.

I’ve been off my unicycle for two weeks now because of hip pain. It’s mostly coming from the upper outside part on one side. It started when I swung my leg very wide to get around the pannier as I got off. I immediately felt a mild pulled muscle. The pain was mild for about a month but got much worse after one particularly hard commute two weeks ago. The week before that ride I had done 70 miles with one day off.

After resting two weeks it’s much better and only hurts when I put some weight on it while walking. I’ll be going for a ride today and hope I don’t feel worse after.

My suggestion is rest and ice. That’s probably what a doctor would say. If it gets worse or doesn’t seem to heal then perhaps a trip to the doctor is needed. I haven’t gone yet myself as I’m hoping rest will help. Luckily I’ve got an orthopedic doctor who rides muni. I’ll be visiting her soon if mine doesn’t get better.

Sounds like possibly sciatic (spelling?) nerve. I’ve had sciatic issues and it usually bothers me on one side of my upper butt. Sometimes it’s the other side but never both sides at the same time. I use a gravity table and see a chiropractor when it’s gets bad.