Hip Flexor Strain
Summary of Hip Flexor Strain
The hip flexor muscles are the group of muscles at the front of the hip, which can be injured after excessive tension. Pain is the most common symptom and can often result in loss of and difficulty with certain activities.
Hip Flexor Strain FAQ's
The muscles across the front of your hip attached to the spine, the front of the pelvis, the top of the thigh bone and just below the knee. This group of muscles are responsible for activity engaging the knee and hip, for example lifting the knee up to the chest, climbing stairs, and kicking actions. A hip flexor strain described a condition where tearing occurs in some of the muscle tissue, causing a fairly common sports injury.
Pain will be felt across the hip and groin, with increased difficulty when trying to lift the leg. There may also be a tight sensation felt around the thigh, though the degree of pain and disability depends on the grade of the injury.
- Mild discomfort but not real disability
- Moderate discomfort with a limit on some activities that can performed
- Hugh levels of pain even when walking, with significant bruising and swelling
Minor strains can be resolved within a couple of weeks while moderate strains take a while longer. The most serious of cases may require surgery, though this is rare, and can take up to 3 months to recover.
Before returning to sporting activity after any degree of strain, the clinician will want to see that you have trained your body with a gradual and progressive return to activity.
If a motion becomes excessive and causes undue strain and tension on the hip flexor muscles, it can result in overstretching or tearing of the muscles. This is most likely to occur in sportsmen if there is not enough warm up involved, and is prevalent particularly in kicking, sprinters, and hurdlers.
There are three grades by which we can identify the extent of the strain:
- A small amount of tearing which is painful but allows full activity
- A few tears resulting in loss of function
- The muscle fibres become ruptured and cause a major loss of function
Mild to moderate sprains can be treated using RICE therapy – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. In the initial period after the injury you must also avoid HARM – Heat, Alcohol, Running and Massage.
After a couple of weeks, the injury will lay scar tissue over the tear, so gentle stress and exercise must be applied in order for the scar tissue to be laid evenly. Exercise is the most important part of treatment and will progress gradually as you move through the rehabilitation stages. Heat treatment after the initial injury may be recommended to aid the healing process and soothe the injury site.
The exercise program will be tailored to the extend and grade of your injury, and must be performed correctly in order for you to regain full use of the hamstring muscles. Failure to perform the prescribed activities at the right time can result in a poor repair and prolonged pain, with a high risk of reoccurrence.