How Do You Relieve Hip Flexor Pain
Some common ways to help treat hip flexor strain are:
How Can I Prevent Hip Flexor Strains
The best way to prevent hip flexor strains is to stretch and warm up before exercising. Increasing your overall flexibility will also protect your muscles from future injuries. The more flexible you are, the more room your muscle fibers have to stretch before they begin to tear.
Its similar to how certain fabrics have more give than others. Your favorite pair of jeans has plenty of flexibility to it because youve stretched it out over years. On the other hand, you might have to wear a brand-new pair a few times before they feel comfortable. Your muscles are the same. The more you work them out and gradually stretch them, the more flexibility and give they have when you move.
Hip Flexor Tear Or Strain Diagnosis
Your doctor will be able to perform a physical examination to determine your diagnosis. Your doctor may also order an X-ray or MRI to rule out other possible conditions.
Your doctor will also look back at your medical history to determine when symptoms began and potential activities that might have caused the tears or strain.
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What Is A Hip Flexor Injury
A hip flexor injury may occur when one or more of the hip flexor muscles are torn. Although several muscles make up the hip flexor group, the psoas major and iliacus, together known as the iliopsoas, are the two that are most often injured. When a small number of fibers are torn, the injury is relatively minor and does not significantly impact function, although it may still be painful. If the muscle tears completely, the injury is much more severe and may result in a major loss of function in the leg.
Upper Hip Flexor Pain Triggers
Iliopsoas hip flexor pain is no accident. Unfortunately, hip flexor pain is incredibly rampant in today’s sedentary age and most people have absolutely no idea.
The main hip flexor pain mechanism is excess sitting. When sitting in chairs, the Psoas and Iliacus muscles shorten drastically. Sitting in this position for 8, 10, 12 hours a day puts a ton of strain on the hip flexor muscles, pelvis, and lower back. The majority of society does this day in, day out – creating an insane amount of tightness and pain that appears “non-specific” or “random” or “just part of getting old”. Without attention paid to hip flexor pain and tightness, it is very easy to fall into this unfortunate pain pattern.
Another hip flexor pain trigger is performing a high-impact movement that the body is not conditioned to handle. For the hip flexor muscles, which function in lifting the knee to the chest, this can look like breaking into a sprint for the first time in years, hiking up a steep incline, walking up a lot of stairs, or doing any other activity straining the hip flexor muscles. This is typically a quicker trigger of pain than the sitting mechanism – you will likely know same day whether or not you messed up.
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Grades Of Hip Flexor Pain
It usually occurs due to muscle stretching. We can classify this condition into three grades based upon their severity.
Grade I: It is a stage with minor cuts in which very few muscle fibres are damaged. In this condition hip functions normally but with minor pain.
Grade II: In grade 2, many fibres of muscles are damaged. This causes a moderate loss of hip flexor function while walking or standing for a long time.
Grade III: This is the stage where the hip is no longer available to bear the body weight as the muscles are entirely damaged. It is accompanied by a sharp pain in the affected area.
Symptoms Of A Hip Flexor Tear Or Strain
Sudden hip pain is the most common symptom associated with a hip flexor tear or strain. The pain and other symptoms can range from mild to so intense that it impacts your mobility.
Other symptoms of a hip flexor tear or strain include:
- Pain when lifting the leg to the chest or stretching the hip muscles.
- Swelling, bruising or tenderness in the hip or thigh area.
- Muscles spasms in the thigh or hip that occur when walking or running.
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How Long Does It Take For A Hip Flexor Strain To Heal
Recovery time for a minor hip flexor strain is about two or three weeks. Further considerable tears can take about six weeks. Extreme and intense hip injuries can take eight weeks to recover. It depends on working closely with a therapist and following their recommendations.
Preventing Hip Flexor Problems
To prevent hip flexor injuries, keep these tips in mind:
- Always warm up before engaging in any exercise or physical activity, even if it’s just practice.
- Make sure you do a cool down after activity. Slowly stretch each muscle group and hold the stretch for a few seconds.
- Keep your muscles in good shape by regularly exercising. Exercises that help stretch and strengthen your hip flexors include pigeon pose, bridges, lunges, seated butterfly stretch, straight leg raises, and squats. Don’t push too hard these shouldn’t hurt.
- Work on strengthening your core muscles and glutes. These muscles work together to give you balance and stability and to help you move through the activities involved in daily living, as well as exercise and sports. When one set of these muscles is weak or tight, it can cause injury or pain in another, so make sure you pay equal attention to each.
- Before you go back to your regular exercise or sports, be sure that your injury has fully healed and that the muscles are back to the same strength and flexibility you had before the injury . Not taking enough time to heal can lead to reinjuring yourself, which can set you back even further.
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When Should I See A Healthcare Provider
Visit a healthcare provider right away if youre experiencing severe symptoms like intense pain. If youre still feeling pain after a few weeks of at-home treatments, talk to your provider.
When should I go to ER?
Go to the emergency room right away if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Bleeding in or around your strained muscle.
- You cant move your leg.
- Swelling that wont go away or is getting worse.
Go to the emergency room if youve experienced a trauma.
Preventing Hip Flexor Strain
When it comes to the hips, careful consideration is always required! The hip plays a vital role in bearing our weight during all our everyday activities and providing trunk stability.
Keep up with a consistent exercise program, give your legs ample resting periods, stretch out your hip flexor muscles regularly, and consider supportive braces or taping techniques during activity if you are prone to overuse injury.
Finally, if you think you have hip flexor strain, take action immediately, listen to your body, and talk to your doctor about what you can do next.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Hip Flexor Injury
Anyone can suffer from a hip flexor injury, although they are most common in cyclists, dancers, soccer players, and martial artists. The hip flexors are a group of muscles that enable the hip joint to bend the knee toward the chest and make it possible to bend forward at the waist.1 Many activities, including kicking, running, and jumping, engage the hip flexors.
With overuse, overstretching, or sudden contraction, the hip flexor muscles may be injured, resulting in pain and limiting mobility.2 Knowing how to treat a hip flexor injury or hip flexor pain may help you reduce the amount of time it takes to recover.
Treatment Of Hip Flexor Pain
Some of the structures in and around the hip flexors have a poor blood supply, which is why they can struggle to heal on their own. It is the oxygen and nutrients in our blood supply that help to heal these structures.
Prolozone Therapy involves the injection of oxygen and nutrients into these structures to provide a direct supply of what is needed to heal them and provide pain relief.
As the treatment is helping to treat the root cause of the problem, it is deemed to be a permanent fix.
Beating your hip flexors may be hard at first, but with the help of regular exercise, you can strengthen and loosen them. Start by doing a set of 50 for each leg every day and increase by 1 set every few days. The best exercise to do are step-ups, where you climb up something like three stairs then step down, bringing one foot forward at a time 10 steps on each leg will do. Hip flexor stretches can help improve your muscle spasms and groin pain. This not only helps get back the lost range of motion but can also be a significant factor in limiting back pain.
To start with, you may need some help holding onto something if you have a bad balance or use an elastic band around your knees as support. You could also use ankle weights to start but dont be too harsh when starting as it could damage your muscles more than help them.
The following are some simple tips you can use to treat hip flexor pain in hip muscles:
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Hip Flexor Anatomy And Function
Flexion refers to a bending movement that decreases the angle between two body parts. When a flexor muscle contracts, it draws two bones together, typically bending at a joint.
In the case of the hip flexors, they draw together the bones of the leg and the bones of the hip or spine at the hip joint. If the hip is already flexed, such as when you are sitting, these muscles aren’t working.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to weak and tight hip flexors, which are always in a shortened position. Tight hip flexors can lead to a limited range of motion, poor posture, lower back or hip pain, and even injuries.
Your hip flexors get a workout when you are standing and doing movements such as raising your leg to climb stairs, run, or ride a bicycle.
Where Is Hip Flexor Pain Felt
- Sprint or kick: This is more common in athletes such as runners, soccer players, martial artists, and dancers. It can also happen in those who are involved in other sports such as cycling, running, swimming, hockey, and baseball. Other activities such as spin classes and high-intensity interval training workouts and activities involving kicking, squatting, and jumping can also cause hip flexor injury. These people are more prone to hip flexor injuries due to overuse and overstretching of hip flexors that give rise to hip flexor pain.
- Running to catch a bus, train, or plane: If you are involved in jobs that require you to sit at one place continuously for longer periods, you stay in a position where the hip flexors shorten and become stiff due to disuse. If you suddenly stretch the stiff muscle while running or when you trip and fall while running, you may experience hip flexor strain or pain.
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Common Potential Reasons For Pain In The Front Of The Hip Include:
I will cover each one of these in more detail.
There are many common reasons to develop pain in or around the hip flexors. Often the cause for the pain is nearly identical . Its important to get the proper diagnosis to insure that youre treating the right structures.
What Causes Hip Flexor Pain
Have you ever felt a sharp pain running from the front of your pelvis down to the very top of your thigh every time you lift your leg? That’s what you’d call tight, sore hip flexors. Quick anatomy lesson: Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that attach your pelvis to your femur and help it lift and lower, as well as do every micro-movement in between, according to research from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The largest of the hip flexor muscles are the psoas muscle, which wraps from the back of your spine around the front of your pelvis to the top of your femur, and the iliacus muscle, which connects the top front of your pelvis straight down to the same tendons on the femur as the psoas. (
“Typically, hip flexors tighten because they’re overactive as a response to something else being underactive usually your glutes,” says Heffron. Thanks to activities such as sitting all day or rushing through your squats with improper form, your glutes aren’t always taught to fire properly. Sure, you really feel like you’re engaging your glutes when you’re working out, but if you’re suffering from sore hip flexors, that’s a major sign that they aren’t engaged enough.
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What Can I Expect If I Have A Hip Flexor Strain
You should expect to make a full recovery from a hip flexor strain. You should regain all your strength and ability to move after it heals. Make sure to warm up before exercising or playing sports, and give your body time to rest and recover after intense activity.
Some people with severe hip flexor strains have long-term symptoms like weakness in their torn muscle, but this is rare.
How long does a hip flexor strain last?
How long a hip flexor strain lasts depends on how badly you strained your muscle. Most hip flexor strains heal in a few weeks with at-home treatments.
Will I need to miss work or school with a hip flexor strain?
If you can do your job or schoolwork without putting stress on your strained hip flexor, you shouldnt need to miss work or school.
Talk to your provider about which activities you should avoid while youre recovering. Check with your provider before resuming any intense activity or exercising.
What Happens If Hip Flexor Pain Is Left Untreated
If left untreated, a hip flexor strain can trigger the onset or progression of hip osteoarthritis leading to reduced or loss of mobility.
In a hip flexor strain, delayed treatment can lengthen recovery time. Hip flexor tears or strains can generally be treated with conservative therapy or physical therapy. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair any ruptured tissue. Therefore, act on the symptoms and get help as soon as possible.
Get into a no-obligation consultation with Dr Andrew Dutton today. You can book an appointment here, or call 6836 8000.
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Avoid Activities That Aggravate The Pain
The following types of physical movements can exacerbate hip flexor pain and should be avoided, say Barker and Hascalovici:
- Bending at the hips
- Climbing stairs
- Running, jumping, kicking, or any other activity that puts stress on the damaged hip flexor muscle
“Mild discomfort is a normal part of healing, but anything that causes more severe pain should be avoided until the muscles have enough time to fully heal, which often takes about two to six weeks,” says Hascalovici.
Warning: Most hip flexor strains will heal on their own. However, a strain that is not allowed to heal may develop into tendonitis, Yalamanchili says, prolonging the recovery process.
When Should I Seek Emergency Care
Contact your doctor if you have hip pain that lasts longer than a few days. They can come up with a plan to manage pain and treat your condition.
However, you should contact your doctor immediately if the hip is bleeding or you can see exposed bone or muscle, a popping noise occurs, or you cant bear weight.
Also, seek immediate help if your hip joint appears deformed or is swollen, or if you have severe pain.
Prompt medical attention is necessary for hip pain accompanied by any of the following:
These may be signs of serious conditions, including septic arthritis, which is a joint infection. If its left untreated, septic arthritis can lead to deformed joints and osteoarthritis.
For pain that could be related to a condition such as arthritis, your doctor will ask you a range of questions, including:
- Is the pain worse at a time of day?
- Does it affect your ability to walk?
- When did your symptoms first appear?
You may need to walk around to let your doctor observe the joint in motion. Theyll measure the motion in the normal and abnormal hip and compare the two.
To diagnose arthritis, your doctor will perform fluid and imaging tests. Fluid tests involve taking samples of blood, urine, and joint fluid for testing in a laboratory. Imaging tests may include:
The treatment of hip pain depends on the cause. For exercise-related pain, rest is usually enough to allow the hip to heal. This type of pain is typically gone within a few days.
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