Hip Flexor Strain
The hip flexors are a group of muscles on the front of your hip that lift your knee up towards your trunk. A strain is damage to the muscle tissue, from a few fibers to a total rupture of the muscle. The hip flexors are often injured by forceful hip flexion, or by overstretch into extension. Hip flexor strains are very common in hockey, soccer, and lacrosse athletes due to frequent and forceful changes in direction.
– Forceful hip flexion – kicking, change of direction.
– Overstretch into extension – cutting, falling.
– Tight hip flexors.
– Weak hip and core musculature.
– Pain at the front of the hip, particularly in the “hip crease” that forms when you lift your knee up.
– Pain with lifting your leg, walking, stairs.
– Pain with hip flexor stretch.
– Muscle spasm.
At Home Diagnostic Tests
– Active hip flexion (video).
– Passive hip extension (video).
At Home Care
– As a strain is typically an overstretch injury, we DO NOT want to stretch it, even if it feels “tight.” Instead, foam roll your hip flexors and quadriceps.
When to Seek Help
If your hip flexor injury is limiting your ability to walk, is not responding to home treatments, or symptoms last longer than 3-4 days, see your physical therapist. If there is evidence of a major rupture (unable to walk, severe pain, swelling, bruising, “pop” sensation), schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.
Inspired Athletx Treatment
Much of the pain with hip flexor strains is due to the protective spasming of the muscle. Manual therapy, including dry needling, reduces this spasm, thus improving pain and range of motion. Strengthening of the hip and core musculature, as well as improving running, cutting, and jumping mechanics, is key to rapid return to play, as well as future strain prevention.