Hip Flexor Strain: Everything You Need To Know
If the hip flexor muscles are torn, strained, injured or pulled, it can lead to a hip flexor strain. This condition can be caused by many activities and its main symptom is a sharp pain. The hip area can get injured through various activities.
Minor injuries to this area seldom require treatment but severe injuries can separate the muscles from the bone. The most serious type of injury to hip flexor muscles involves third-degree sprain which includes muscle sprain and bone breaks.
A Few Facts about Hip Flexor Strain:
- The flexors muscle tissues are flexible and help in stretching and moving.
- These muscle tissues can get injured when these are overstretched, overused or forcefully hyperextended.
- In some cases, injury to hip flexor muscles requires medical treatment.
Anatomy of the Hip Muscles
The femur is the largest bone in the human body and hip flexor muscle tissues connect the top of this bone to the groin, hips and lower back.
Various hip flexor muscles work together to allow a person to move.
Some of these muscles include:
- Rectus Femoris – This muscle is part of the quadriceps.
- Iliopsoas - Psoas major and Iliacus muscles.
If these muscles are overstretched or overused, it can result in injury which is accompanied by reduced mobility and sharp pain.
Hip Flexor Strain Symptoms
People suffering from hip flexor strain typically show these symptoms:
- Soreness and tender feeling in the upper leg area
- Clenching or cramping sensation in the upper leg muscles
- Experiencing sudden and sharp pain in the pelvis or hip area after trauma
- Difficulty in moving and reduced mobility that includes limping
- Being not able to jump, sprint or kick
- Muscle spasms in the thighs or the hip
- Weakness in front of the groin and a tugging sensation
- Constant pain and discomfort in the upper leg area
- Feeling stiff after being stationary for some time such as after sleeping
- Bruising or swelling around the thigh or hip area
Causes of Hip Flexor Strains
The flexor muscles in an individual get engaged while bringing knees towards the torso.
It means the hip flexor muscles are put under maximum strain during activities such as running, martial arts or dancing.
Athletes are at higher risk of hip flexor injury or strain if their sport and training activities lead to muscle tear.
In the arena of sports medicine, it is believed that hip flexor strain wounds, in many cases, are associated with hamstring strains.
Exercises for Hip Flexor Strains
Exercises can be of great help in preventing injury by keeping the hip flexor muscles supple and flexible.
These days, many people are required to keep sitting for a large part of their day in their jobs. This lack of activity can tighten the hip flexor leading to strain, hip pain, lower back pain and overall damage to these muscles.
Hip flexor muscles can be strengthened with the help of specific exercises targeted at the hip area. Many of these exercises involve gentle stretches and can be easily done at home.
These exercises help in reducing tension in the muscle tissue to prevent future injury. In addition to these exercises, gentle cycling and swimming can also help in improving the strength of the hip flexor muscles, thereby preventing hip flexor strain.
It's recommended to spend a few minutes warming up muscles before performing any exercises to ensure the muscles don't experience any further strain and are ready to be stretched. A great way to warm up before stretching is to apply heat to the hip area and to walk for a few minutes.
Stretching Exercises for Hip Flexor Strains
Here's a list of some stretching exercises that can go a long way in increasing flexibility, strengthening muscles and reducing tightness to prevent injury.
Regularly performing these exercises can help in strengthening the hip area and in preventing any injuries.
Various products by PSO-RITE such as PSO-Rite, PSO-Spine, and PSO-Mini can help in performing these exercises efficiently and effectively.
In this exercise, the individual needs to begin by getting in an elevated plank position. They need to bring their left leg forward and ensure that the knee remains on the ground using their left hand. Slide the right leg back as much as possible. This position needs to be held for some time and it should be repeated with the other leg.
Sealed Butterfly Stretch
Sit up straight on the floor. Bring together soles of the feet and let the knees bend outwards. Gently pull the heels inwards and let the knees drop towards the floor. This position should be held for around 10 to 30 seconds.
Stand straight with feet together and move the right foot forward while bending the knee. Shift the body weight onto the right leg and gently lower the hips onto the floor. Hold this position for some time and repeat it with the other leg.
Lie on the back and keep the knees bent while keeping the feet on the floor. Take a deep breath and raise the hips, squeezing the glutes at the same time. Keep this position for a moment and then, bring the hips down gently. Repeat this motion a few times.
Straight Leg Raises
Lie down on the back with palms on each side. Pull the left leg up while bending the knee but keep the foot on the floor. Extend the right leg up towards the ceiling while keeping it straight. Hold this position for a few seconds and repeat it with the other leg.
Bend the knees while keeping the legs together. The chest should be up and back straight. In the squat position, each leg should be lifted off the ground one at a time. Transfer the weight to the other leg while stretching out one leg.
Wall Psoas Hold
Lift the upper part of the leg towards the ceiling while bending the knee and remaining in a standing position. The other foot should be used to balance the body. This position should be held for around 30 seconds and it should be repeated with another leg.
Lie straight on the back and keep the legs straight. Slowly pull the knee of one leg towards the chest without straining the muscles. Lower the leg slowly and repeat this exercise with the other leg.
INTRODUCING PSO RITE
To assist with these at home exercises, check out the PSO-RITE. The newest self massage tool on the market has a patented design that mimics the hand and elbow of a massage therapist.
What does the PSO-RITE do?
- Increases circulation, relaxation and warmth to the muscles, and increases mobility. The PSO-RITE is used for muscle lengthening and joint decompression, which enhances physical performance. It also adds range of motion by releasing tension in the muscle allowing the joint to have more space, increasing mobility/movement.
- What is releasing? the cross link adhesions between the muscle fibers.
- Increasing Capacity which will increase your Performance
Where do you use PSO-RITE?
- Everywhere: Hip flexor, psoas, lower back, shoulder, neck etc.
- Along any muscle
Here's a glimpse of PSO RITE's uses with a demonstration video to show you what it can do for your hip flexor strain and more.
Additionally, this amazing product was even featured in a Joe Rogan podcast with Michael Chandler, an MMA fighter, raving about the PSO RITE and his experience.
You can also visit our store and check out our Psoas Muscle Massager that can help in releasing your psoas muscle and stretching your muscles.
Other Treatments for a Hip Flexor Injury
People do not find it necessary to visit the doctor for minor injuries to hip flexor muscles as these can be easily treated at home.
Here is a list of some of the common treatments for hip flexor strain.
- Giving time for the muscles to heal themselves by resting as much as one can. Avoid activities that might put further strain on the muscles.
- Compression wrap around the injured area helps in providing relief from the strain.
- Application of ice pack to the injured area.
- Application of heat pack to the injured area.
- A hot bath or shower.
- OTC pain relievers including acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.
Always follow the instructions when taking these medicines and never use these for more than 10 days continuously.
In case the pain doesn't subside even after 10 days, check with a doctor for other treatments.
In severe cases of hip flexor injuries, doctors typically recommend a CT scan, MRI or an x-ray to determine whether there is a fracture in the bone. A doctor might recommend a physical therapist or surgery in case there is extensive damage to the muscle. However, instances, where surgery is required, are rare.
If the strain results in limping or there is no relief from the symptoms even after resting or home treatment for around 7 to 10 days, it is recommended to seek an appointment with a doctor for further treatment.
Certain individuals are more vulnerable to a hip flexor strain. For instance, athletes or individuals who regularly perform activities that could overstretch or damage flexors should take certain precautions to avoid any injury.
Muscles should be properly warmed up before engaging in any physical activity. Also, regular exercises can help in keeping the hip flexor muscle area strong and flexible which reduces the chances of damage in this area.
Conclusion on Hip Flexor Strains
A strained hip flexor muscle can be very uncomfortable and painful but usually, it's not a cause for concern. A few weeks of rest is typically enough to heal mild strains but severe damage can take up to 6 weeks for complete relief. The best way to heal the hip flexor strain and to recover quickly is to take rest and to stop the activities that led to the strain.