Sorry, I forgot to reply to your last part.
frustrated runner wrote:
The only issue I have with your explanation here is that, presumably, runners with this issue would have poor hip ROM. I don't know about other people in this thread, but my hip ROM wasn't really inhibited much or at all, especially early on.
It's rare that I see a PT or especially an orthopedic actually MEASURE hip ROM using a tool to find the degrees, such as a goniometer. Have you been measured before/after your hip problems?
These norms are approximately:
internal rotation: 35-40
external rotation: 40-45
I'm not saying if you aren't on the dot that you have a major problem. These numbers are applied to a very general population. Each person will vary.
But I will say from personal experience, as a collegiate runner I never sensed a range of motion problem. I was unaware that I had about 100-108 degrees of hip flexion at best. I also had extremely limited internal rotation (about 18 degrees if I remember correctly). I literally had no conception this was becoming a problem. I was racing well (although I knew something wasn't right). I trained year round with an on/off hip problem (no real pain but just very intermittent bouts of dysfunction) for about 2.5 years. I didn't start to go downhill until NCAAs my senior year. My hip flexion was only 95 degrees just before I was forced to have surgery. I have these measurements from my surgeon who examined me multiple times before we made a decision.
I have a close friend who is rehabbing from a fairly serious hip problem (bilateral). Recently he's been complaining to me of pain/stiffness during hip flexion. I asked him how his hamstring flexibility was and he said "very good." According to literature, healthy/normal ROM is around 90 degrees of flexion at the hip joint while lying supine (indicates hamstring flexibility when the lower leg is kept straight). I got him to about 70 degrees before his hamstring was pulling at his hip/lower back and he would have had to rock off the floor to gain more movement.
Many athletes assume if they have stiffness during hip flexion then their "hip flexors are tight." It's usually the opposite issue occuring -- the extensors are overly tight and keeping the hip from obtaining it's full ROM of flexion.
He had been stretching the heck out of his iliopsoas and quads when the major issue was his glutes and hamstrings.
Anyways, sorry again for the lengthy post. You may very well have "healthy" ROM. But if you are unsure or only assuming, I would definitely see if you can find a way to get measured. It's one of the first places to start when attempting to figure out where your mechanical issues are stemming from. When you identify the differences in ROM from your "healthy" side with your "bad" side it can really bring forth some good clues.