Problems related to hip pain may affect as much as 75 to 80 percent of the population. Pain may radiate down the thigh (sciatica nerve) and extend also in the lower back and pelvis.

There are a number of possible reasons why hip pain can occur:

•Position of the hips in the normal gait cycle

•Limb length discrepancy

•Overuse syndrome

•Worn out shoes or athletic shoes with too many whistle and bells that try to change the body position, or overpronation (inward rotation)

In the case of hip position, the male athlete hip position is in a more frontal (straight) plane position, whereas the female athlete is in a more external or outward position. In other words, males have a more narrow anatomy, whereas females tend to have wider hips. We have been witnessing more female complaints due to the hip position. In all actual fact, when the woman's foot hits the ground, it hits in an outward way, which causes the hip to rotate more significantly in order to straighten out the foot to push off. This sends retrograde forces up the leg, knee and hip.

The end result is rolling in of the foot to push off in a normal position. In other words, females pronate the foot in order to gain stability and balance--this causes pain in the hip. Therefore, it is very important to have proper biomechanical foot balance to realign the leg, knee and hip. Proper leveling of the pelvis will certainly alleviate much of one's hip pain.

Dr. Robert Weiss lives in Westport and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien. He is a former marathon runner and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials.