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Home > Understanding and Managing Pelvic Pain After Running

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Understanding and Managing Pelvic Pain After Running


Last Updated on July 2, 2024

We all want to lead healthy and active lifestyles. For many, running stands out as a cornerstone of their exercise routine—a tried and tested method to stay in shape and boost overall health. Yet, amidst the euphoria of hitting the pavement, there’s a less-discussed reality: the potential for pelvic pain to disrupt this pursuit of fitness. Despite its myriad benefits, running can sometimes present unexpected challenges, especially when pelvic pain becomes a persistent issue post-run. 

For countless athletes, pelvic pain after running isn’t just discomfort—it’s a significant hurdle that undermines performance and erode their sense of well-being. In this comprehensive article, we will look into the complexities of pelvic pain related to running, shining a light on its underlying causes, recognisable symptoms, available treatment avenues, preventive measures, and most importantly, the critical importance of seeking professional assistance to effectively manage this challenge and keep runners on track towards their fitness goals. 

What is Pelvic Pain and Its Causes? 

Pelvic pain encompasses discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, or perineum, with causes ranging from muscle strain and overuse injuries to anatomical irregularities. Pelvic floor dysfunction, where weakened muscles fail to support pelvic organs adequately, can contribute to pain.  

Additionally, underlying medical conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis may trigger pelvic discomfort. Understanding these diverse causes is crucial for effective diagnosis and targeted treatment strategies tailored to individual needs. 

What are Common Causes of Pelvic Pain After Running? 

Running Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain after running can arise from a variety of factors, often stemming from the intense physical demands placed on the body during this high-impact activity. Understanding these common causes is essential for runners to identify potential sources of discomfort and implement effective strategies for prevention and management. 

One prevalent cause of pelvic pain after running is muscle overuse. The repetitive nature of running places significant stress on the pelvic floor muscles, leading to strain and inflammation. Over time, this can result in discomfort and pain in the pelvic region, particularly during and after running sessions. Runners who fail to allow adequate rest and recovery time between workouts may be more susceptible to muscle overuse injuries, exacerbating pelvic pain symptoms. 

Poor running form and improper footwear represent additional contributors to pelvic pain after running. Incorrect running technique can lead to biomechanical imbalances, causing undue strain on the pelvic muscles and surrounding structures. Likewise, wearing footwear that does not provide adequate support or cushioning may increase the risk of musculoskeletal injuries, including pelvic pain. Runners should pay careful attention to their running form and invest in properly fitting shoes to mitigate these risk factors. 

Pelvic floor dysfunction is another common cause of pelvic pain after running, particularly among females. Weakness or dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles can result in inadequate support for the pelvic organs, leading to discomfort and pain during physical activity. Runners may experience symptoms such as urinary urgency, fecal incontinence, or pelvic pressure, indicating underlying pelvic floor issues. Addressing pelvic floor dysfunction through targeted exercises and physical therapy can help alleviate symptoms and prevent recurrence of pelvic pain. 

Nevertheless, hormonal changes, particularly in women, can also contribute to pelvic pain after running. Fluctuations in estrogen levels, such as those occurring during menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, can affect pelvic muscle function and exacerbate symptoms of pelvic pain. Female runners may notice increased pelvic discomfort during certain phases of their menstrual cycle or following childbirth. Hormonal treatments or interventions aimed at regulating hormone levels may be beneficial for managing pelvic pain associated with hormonal imbalances. 

What are Signs Your Pelvic Pain is Caused by Running? 

When it comes to pelvic pain after running, recognizing the signs that indicate involvement of the pelvic floor is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective management. Here are several key indicators that your pelvic floor may be impacted by running: 

Urinary and/or Fecal Urgency 

One of the primary signs of pelvic floor dysfunction related to running is the sensation of urgency or difficulty controlling bowel or bladder function. Individuals may experience sudden urges to urinate or defecate, especially during or immediately after running sessions. This urgency can be disruptive and may interfere with the enjoyment of physical activity. It indicates potential weakness or dysfunction within the pelvic floor muscles, which play a crucial role in maintaining continence and supporting pelvic organs. 

Urinary and/or Fecal Incontinence 

Leakage of urine or feces during physical activity, including running, is a common and distressing sign of pelvic floor weakness. Individuals may notice involuntary loss of urine or fecal matter, particularly when engaging in high-impact activities such as running. This loss of control can be embarrassing and may lead to feelings of self-consciousness or avoidance of physical activity. It underscores the importance of pelvic floor health and highlights the need for targeted interventions to strengthen these muscles and improve continence. 

Pelvic Pressure 

Pelvic Pain after Running

Sensations of heaviness or pressure in the pelvic region, exacerbated by running, can serve as a telltale sign of underlying pelvic floor issues. Runners may experience a feeling of discomfort or fullness in the lower abdomen or pelvis, which may worsen with increased physical activity. This pelvic pressure may be accompanied by a sensation of dragging or pulling in the pelvic area, indicating potential weakness or laxity within the pelvic floor muscles. It is essential to address these symptoms promptly to prevent further complications and optimize pelvic floor function. 

Pain during or after running 

Persistent or recurrent pelvic pain during or after running sessions should not be ignored, as it may signify underlying pelvic floor dysfunction or other musculoskeletal issues. Individuals may experience dull, achy discomfort or sharp, stabbing pain in the pelvic region, which may radiate to the lower back or hips.  

This pain can significantly impact running performance and overall quality of life, necessitating further evaluation by a healthcare professional. Identifying the root cause of pelvic pain is essential for developing an appropriate treatment plan and preventing future recurrences. 

Treatment Options 

Pelvic pain after running can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life, making effective management crucial for alleviating discomfort and restoring functionality. A comprehensive approach to treatment often involves a combination of strategies aimed at addressing underlying causes and relieving symptoms. 

Rest and Recovery 

Adequate rest and avoiding high-impact activities are fundamental components of treatment for pelvic pain after running. Allowing the pelvic muscles time to heal and reducing inflammation can help alleviate discomfort and prevent exacerbation of symptoms. Runners may need to modify their training regimen or take a temporary break from running to facilitate recovery. 


Pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort and inflammation associated with pelvic pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce pain and swelling, enabling individuals to engage in physical activity more comfortably. However, it’s essential to use these medications under the guidance of a healthcare professional and to be aware of potential side effects. 

Hormonal Treatment 

For individuals with hormonal imbalances contributing to pelvic pain, hormonal therapy may help regulate symptoms. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly in women, can influence pelvic muscle function and exacerbate pain. Hormonal treatments, such as oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, may be recommended to stabilize hormone levels and alleviate symptoms. 

Physical Therapy 

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the management of pelvic pain after running, offering targeted exercises and techniques to improve muscle function and alleviate pain. Pelvic floor strengthening exercises, in particular, can help restore muscle balance and support, reducing pelvic pain and improving overall function. Additionally, techniques such as manual therapy, biofeedback, and relaxation exercises may be incorporated to address specific pelvic floor issues. 

Minimally Invasive Treatments 

In cases where conservative measures fail to provide relief, minimally invasive treatments may be considered to manage pelvic pain effectively. Interventions like Coreflex injection and Radiofrequency Ablation provide gentler alternatives for directly addressing the root cause of pelvic pain, leading to reduced reliance on pain medication, enhanced functionality, and a speedier resumption of daily activities. 

Coreflex Injections 

Coreflex injection involves administering a mixture of local anesthetic, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants directly into the pelvic muscles. This approach aims to relax muscle knots, reduce spasms, and alleviate inflammation. As a minimally invasive treatment option, Coreflex injection provides an alternative for individuals seeking relief from pelvic pain without resorting to surgery. 

Radiofrequency Ablation 

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure used to alleviate chronic pain by disrupting the nerve signals responsible for transmitting pain sensations. In the context of pelvic pain, RFA can be particularly effective for conditions such as chronic pelvic pain syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or pain resulting from nerve damage. 


Surgical Treatment 

In severe cases or when conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical intervention may be considered to address underlying anatomical issues contributing to pelvic pain. Surgical procedures such as pelvic floor repair or nerve decompression may be performed to restore pelvic function and alleviate symptoms. It’s essential to discuss the potential risks and benefits of surgical intervention with a healthcare provider to make an informed decision about the most appropriate course of treatment. 

What are Some Tips for Preventing Pelvic Pain During and After Running? 

Running Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain can sideline even the most dedicated runners, but implementing preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of experiencing discomfort during or after running sessions: 

Gradual Return-to-Run Protocols 

Rushing back into intense running routines after a period of rest or injury can increase the likelihood of pelvic pain. Gradually increasing running intensity and duration allows the body to adapt to the demands of running, reducing the risk of overuse injuries and pelvic strain. Following a structured return-to-run protocol, such as a couch-to-5k program, provides a safe and effective framework for gradually building running fitness while minimizing the risk of pelvic discomfort. 

Modification of Running Technique and Footwear 

Proper running form and appropriate footwear are essential for minimizing strain on the pelvic floor and preventing biomechanical issues that can contribute to pelvic pain. Runners should focus on maintaining a relaxed posture, with their shoulders back, head up, and arms swinging naturally. Additionally, choosing running shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning for their foot type and running style can help reduce impact forces on the pelvic floor and lower extremities. 

Incorporating Cross-Training Activities 

Engaging in diverse physical activities, such as swimming, cycling, or yoga, can help prevent overuse injuries and promote overall muscle balance. Cross-training activities offer a valuable opportunity to strengthen different muscle groups while giving the pelvic floor a break from the repetitive impact of running. By varying their workout routine, runners can reduce the strain on their pelvic muscles and lower the risk of developing pelvic pain. 

Listening to Your Body and Recognising Early Warning Signs 

Paying attention to early warning signs of pelvic discomfort or pain is crucial for preventing exacerbation of symptoms. Runners should listen to their bodies and heed any signals of potential trouble, such as feelings of tightness or discomfort in the pelvic region. Addressing these symptoms promptly by adjusting running intensity, incorporating rest days, or seeking professional guidance can prevent more serious issues from developing. Ignoring warning signs and pushing through pain can lead to further injury and prolonged recovery times. 

By proactively implementing these preventive measures, runners can reduce the risk of pelvic pain during and after running sessions, allowing them to enjoy the many physical and mental benefits of their favorite activity without discomfort or limitations. 

Seeking Professional Help 

A Pain Doctor can conduct a thorough evaluation to determine the underlying cause of pelvic pain and develop an appropriate treatment plan. This may involve diagnostic tests, such as pelvic floor muscle assessment or imaging studies, to identify any anatomical or functional abnormalities contributing to symptoms. Based on the findings, doctors may recommend a range of treatment options, including physical therapy, medication, minimally invasive procedures, or surgical intervention, tailored to the individual’s specific needs and goals. 

When to Seek Professional Medical Advice 

Recognising the signs that indicate the need for professional medical advice is crucial for effectively managing pelvic pain after running. Persistent or worsening pelvic pain, particularly when accompanied by symptoms such as urinary or fecal incontinence, should prompt individuals to seek evaluation by a healthcare professional specialized in pelvic health. These symptoms may indicate underlying issues that require medical intervention, such as pelvic floor dysfunction or structural abnormalities. 


Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for pelvic pain after running empowers individuals to take proactive steps in managing their condition and maintaining their overall health and well-being. By implementing preventive strategies and seeking timely professional help, runners can continue to enjoy the benefits of their sport while minimizing the risk of pelvic pain-related complications. 

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