Today's question is asking, "What role does hip abduction weakness play in running injuries." As runners we tend to do repetitive motions, and for those who do no work on exercises, runners tend to develop imbalances and weaknesses. How can hip abduction weakness affect us? To help us answer this question we turn to this systematic review that looks at 5 different running pathologies: 1. IT Band Syndrome, 2. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome, 3. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, 4. Tibial Stress Fracture, and 5. Achilles Tendinopathy. The study looked at 11 different studies and concluded that looking at hip abduction weakness as a single factor is associated with IT Band Syndrome but not with any of the other pathologies. The study shows us that it is important to develop hip abduction strength to help stave off IT Band Syndrome. The study does not tell us the whole picture; however, as strength by itself does not tell us much about how a runner moves as he or she is running. For example, if we take a person with really good hip abduction strength there is no guarantee that this person will run smoothly and use their strength in a coordinated and timely fashion while running. Without the appropriate use of the muscle at the right time, no strength in the world will help some one run better. It will be interesting to look at some other studies that look not just at strength but running mechanics as well to determine pathology.
As runners we need to develop our strength, but also we need to ensure that we are working on exercises and drills that help us use that strength in a coordinated and timely fashion to help us run smoother.