Hip Flexor Strain
Hip flexor strain may occur when the hip flexor muscles are torn, strained, pulled, or injured. Different activities may result in hip flexor strain. The main symptom often includes a lot of pain in the joints.
Damage to the hip region may vary from minor injuries that require little or no treatment, to serve injuries that requires treatment because the muscles cease to connect to the bones.
The most serious hip flexor strain is a third-degree strain in which along with muscles the bone breaks too.
What are hip flexors?
hen you lift your knees towards your body, it requires the work of many muscles working together. These are collectively termed hip flexors. These muscles include:
- The psoas major muscles and Iliacus muscles are also called the iliopsoas.
- The Rectus femoris also called the quadriceps.
If you overuse these muscles and the tendons connected to them, it may lead to a hip flexor strain. The main function of hip flexors is to bring the knees towards your chest and bend at the waistline. Symptoms associated with a hip flexor strain may range from mild to moderate to severe thus impacting your movements. If enough rest are treatment are not taken into consideration, pain could get worse. Know that there are certain home activities and remedies too which may help reduce a hip flexor strain.
How Hip Flexor Strain Feels?
The main symptom after hip flexor strain occurs is a pain in the front area of your hips. However, there are few other symptoms too related to this condition. These may include:
- Occurrence of pain all of a sudden.
- The pain increases when you try to move your thighs towards the chest.
- A lot of pain when stretching hip muscles.
- Muscles spasm at thighs and hips
- Tenderness to touch at the area affected
- Bruising or swelling at thigh area or hips.
You might feel this pain when you run or simply walk.
Causes of Hip Flexor Strain
A hip flexor strain occurs when the muscles and tendons of the hip flexor are used too much. Due to overuse, the tendons and muscles become painful, sore, and inflamed. Some people might experience a hip flexor strain more often than other people such as:
- Soccer players
- Martial artists
- Football team players (kickers mainly)
- Step aerobic participants.
Athletes who run and jump while performing high knee kicks too often are also at more risk of developing a hip flexor strain. Deep stretching exercises like pulling thighs backward are also a cause of hip flexor strain. This strain represents tearing down of the hip flexor muscles. These tears might range from mild to extremely severe. The range includes:
- Grade l tear- In this grade, a minor tear occurs in which few fibers are only damaged or torn.
- Grade ll tear- In this grade, a significant number of tendons and muscle fibers are toners and damaged. Moderate loss of flexor function is also noticed.
- Grade lll tear- In this case, the muscles and tendons are completely torn and ruptures resulting in no mobility.
As per reports by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, most hip flexor strains fall under the grade ll tear category.
In sports medicine, it is believed that hip flexor strain or wound is associated with hamstring strains.
Symptoms Of Hip Flexor Strain
Many people who have experienced strains face the following symptoms and pain in the following areas:
- Sharp and sudden pain in the pelvis or hips after strains have occurred.
- A clenching or cramping sensation in the upper leg muscles.
- Usually, the upper leg feels sore and tender
- Loss of strength and tugging sensation in front of the groin
- Inability to continue regular exercises like sprinting, jumping, and kicking.
- Discomfort while moving or complete immobility when injuries are too painful.
- Stiffness or tightness after being stationary for too long like after sleeping.
Treatment Of Hip Flexor Strain
If you have minor hip flexor strain, it can be treated at home using some home remedies and exercises. Some important treatments include:
1. Plenty of rest
Internal injuries mostly require a lot of rest to be treated completely. It is crucial to rest the area affected if hip flexor strain has occurred. One thing that can be done is changing your routine and activities to avoid stretching the muscles. Try to sleep and take plenty of rest with a high-quality diet.
2. Home remedies
Most hip flexor strain cases are easily treatable at home without going for invasive treatments or prescription medications. Here are few home remedies you can use to treat a hip flexor strain at home:
- Apple ice pack by covering it in cloth on the area affected for 10 to 15 minutes at once.
- Alternate the ice packs with heat applications after 72 hours of the injury. It includes usage of most heating pads, heat patches, wet or warm washcloths. You can also use a hot shower as it will have the same effects in reducing the tightness occurred in muscles.
- Take pain relievers present over the counter. Following pain relievers may be useful:
- Tylenol or acetaminophen
- Ibprofen or Motrin
- Aleve or naproxen sodium.
These medications should not be sued for more than 10 days until your doctor prescribes them after seeing your hip flexor strain or injury. Taking them for 10 days or longer may include the risk of stomach bleeding.
4. Avoid activities that require using muscles and rest for 10 to 15 days after the injury has occurred. If your doctor directs longer rest, pay attention carefully.
Certain exercises may help keep your hip flexor muscles flexible and supple thus preventing injuries to occur. Many people often have jobs where they have to sit for a large part of their days. This may result in tight hip flexor causing pain in the lower back, hips, and more damage to these areas.
Hip exercises are designed to strengthen the flexor muscles. Most exercises can be easily performed at home and include gentle stretches. This helps relieve the tension and prevent future injuries to occur.
Warming up your muscles before starting the workouts is a great way to ensure they are completely ready to be stretched this prevents injures to occur.
Applying heat and going for gentle walks is a great way to warm up your muscle before beginning the workout.
Here are few stretches that may help with a hip flexor strain:
Seated butterfly stretch
Sit straight on the floor, place the soles of your feet together and let your knee bend outwards. Pull your heels inwards gently and drop your knees towards the floor further. Hold this stretching position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Strat with an elevated plank position, and bring your left leg forward so that your knee touches the ground with your left hand. Slide your right leg back as far as you can. Hold his position and then repeat using another side.
Lie on your back with your feet placed firmly on the ground and knees bent. Take a deep breather and raise your hips off the ground and squeeze your glutes. Hold this position for a moment and gently lower your hips. Repeat for 10 to 15 times.
Lunges are a great way to work your legs out and manage to prevent injuries. Stand straight keeping your feet together. Take one step forward with your one foot and bend the knee. Transfer body weight onto your leg and lower your hips. Hold this position and repeat the same with the other legs as well.
Wall Psoas Hold
To complete this stretch, you must start in a standing position. Bend your right knee and lift the upper part of your leg towards the sky or ceiling and balance using other foot. Try to remain in this position for 30 seconds or so and then switch sides with another leg.
Stand with your legs together and bend your knee keeping your chest up and back straight. Once you are in a squat position, lift one leg off the ground at a time and then another. Stretch your legs out while pointing your toes. Repeat using another leg to stretch both the legs and treat hip flexor strain.
Lying flat on the ground on your back, keep your legs straight. Slowly pull your knee of the right leg toward your chest as close as you can without causing too much stress on the hips and knees. Slowly lower your leg and then repeat the same with another leg.
Straight leg raises
Lying on your back, keep your palms on with side. Pull your left leg and bend at your knee while keeping your for on the ground. Extend your right leg towards the ceiling without bending the knee. Hold this stretch for few seconds and then switch sides with another leg.
In more severe cases or grade lll cases, doctors recommend their patients to go for an MRI, x-ray, or CT scan to find out if the bone is also fractured and torn with their muscles and tendons.
When the damage is more severe and painful, the doctors recommend going for physical therapy or undergo surgery for repairing the muscles and bones. However, such damage is extremely rare by doing normal activities like sports.
If hip flexor strain is causing a limp or all the symptoms you have seen are not getting nay better, resting for more days or weeks is advised by the doctors with treatments and medications.
Preventing a hip flexor strain
People who are more vulnerable and prone to having hip flexor strain like athletes and individuals who keeps participating in vigorous activities should start stretching before their activities to avoid overstrain the muscles all of a sudden.
Ensure that your muscles are warmed up completely before going for physical; activities. Perform exercises that help to strengthen the muscles. This helps keep your muscles and tendons strong and reduces the risk of damage occurring.
The Bottom Line
Once you have known the cause of hip flexor strain, you can completely follow the tips to recent it in the future. You can easily manage it with some stretching and warm-up.
For minor or mild injuries resulted after exercising too much, treatments are not necessary, you may get better by taking a rest for few days. As soon as your condition improves, you can get back to your regular self.
However, severe conditions like arthritis, necrosis, and fractures can worsen if you do not stop straining your muscles by performing the activities or try to walk. If your hip flexor strain is getting more painful with no signs of improvement, visit a doctor as they will help you with a good treatment plan.
This was all you needed to know on hip flexor strain including causes, symptoms, exercises, and prevention tips.