Dancing may be all in the hips, but it turns out that running may be as well.
A new study from Indiana University found that performing exercises that strengthen the hips helped females runners reduce the pain of a common knee ailment and improve their gait.
The eight runners in the study performed two exercises, twice a week for 30 to 45 minutes each session. The two exercises were single leg squats and resistance band exercises.
After six weeks of the various exercises, runners showed improved movement of the hips and knees in relation to one another, an indication of increases in joint angles between the foot, shin and thigh.
The runners were not trained or coached about proper running form prior to the study to better measure their progress.
The study was part of an overall program to determine ways to reduce patellofemoral pain, a condition caused when the thigh bone rubs against the back of the knee cap.
Patellofemoral pain can be painful for runners, but the pain often stops immediately upon stopping the run. A classic sign of patellofemoral pain is knees collapsing inward while running or doing an exercise squat.
The exercises performed by the participants helped significantly reduce patellofemoral pain while running.
"The results indicate that the strengthening intervention was successful in reducing pain, which corresponded to improved mechanics," said Tracy Dierks, the leader of the study.