Hip Flexor Strain
A strain is a stretch or tear of a muscle or tendon, a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. The tendon may be inflamed. Inflammation of a tendon is called tendonitis. The hip flexor muscles allow you to lift your knee and bend at the waist.
Hip flexor strain occurs from overuse of the muscles that help you flex your knee or do high kicks. This injury occurs in bicyclists, athletes who jump or run with high knee kicks, athletes like soccer players who do forceful kicking activities, and people who practice the martial arts.
What are the symptoms?
You have pain in the upper groin region where the thigh meets the pelvis.
How is it diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will examine your hip and thigh. You will have tenderness at the muscle and tendon.
How is it treated?
To treat this condition:
Put an ice pack, gel pack, or package of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a cloth on the area every 3 to 4 hours, for up to 20 minutes at a time.
You could also do ice massage. To do this, first freeze water in a Styrofoam cup, then peel the top of the cup away to expose the ice. Hold the bottom of the cup and rub the ice over the area for 5 to 10 minutes. Do this several times a day while you have pain.
Take an anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen, or other medicine as directed by your provider. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days.
Follow your provider’s instructions for doing exercises to help you recover.
After you recover from your acute injury, use moist heat for 10 to 15 minutes at a time before you do warm-up and stretching exercises. Do not use heat if you have swelling.
While you are recovering from your injury, you will need to change your sport or activity to one that does not make your condition worse. For example, you may need to swim instead of bicycling or running.
How long will the effects last?
The length of recovery depends on many factors such as your age, health, and if you have had a previous hip flexor injury. Recovery time also depends on the severity of the injury. A mild hip flexor strain may recover within a few weeks, whereas a severe injury may take 6 weeks or longer to recover. You need to stop doing the activities that cause pain until the hip has healed. If you continue doing activities that cause pain, your symptoms will return and it will take longer to recover.
When can I return to my normal activities?
Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Return to your activities depends on how soon your hip recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury has occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. The goal is to return to your normal activities as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury.
You may safely return to your activities when, starting from the top of the list and progressing to the end, each of the following is true:
You have full range of motion in the leg on the injured side compared to the leg on the uninjured side.
You have full strength of the leg on the injured side compared to the leg on the uninjured side.
You can walk straight ahead without pain or limping.
How can I prevent a hip flexor strain?
Hip flexor strains are best prevented by warming up properly and doing stretching exercises before your activity. If you are a bicyclist make sure your seat is raised to the proper height.
- Understanding Hip Flexor Pain (everydayhealth.com)