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You are here: Home > Pain & Injury Center > Hip & Leg Injuries > Hip Flexor Strain

Hip Flexor Strain

Hip flexors are a group of muscles in frontal part of the hip; they include the rectus femoris and iliopsoas, which originate at the hip and run down to the femur bone. They are used primarily during walking and running. When the hip flexors contract, tension is placed through the hip flexor muscle fibers. Too much tension may cause muscle fibers to tear, resulting in hip flexor strain.

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Hip flexor strains are commonly seen in running and kicking sports such as football and soccer. The muscle fibers become injured either due to overuse from excessive training or when used to compensate for another injury, such as Achilles tendonitis or plantar facsciitis.

Symptoms:

The symptoms of hip flexor strain may develop suddenly due to a pulled muscle or gradually due to wear and tear over time.

- A sudden sharp pain or pulling sensation in the front of the hip or groin at the time of injury

- Pain is worse when raising the lower extremity against resistance or during stretching

- Tenderness when pressure is applied to the front of the hip (not always present)

- Pain and stiffness upon waking in the morning (not always present)

- Swelling or bruising in the case of severe muscle injury

Diagnosis:

To diagnose flexor hip strain, pull the knee toward the chest and have someone apply pressure to push it downwards against your resistance. Pain with this maneuver indicates hip flexor strain.

Classification:

Hip flexor strain is classified in Grades I-III according to the number of muscle fibers torn. Grade I results in minor pain only. Grade II is associated with moderate pain and some loss of leg function. Grade III is a complete tear, with severe pain and major loss of function.

Treatment:

- Rest or use of crutches

- Ice application to reduce inflammation

- Medication for pain relief

- Physical therapy with stretching exercises initially, later with the addition of strengthening exercises when the pain subsides

- Compression therapy (such as specially designed Bio Skin compression shorts) to treat and prevent further injury during the rehabilitation phase

Prognosis:

Minor hip flexor strain usually gets better in one to three weeks. With larger tears, recovery may take four to eight weeks or even longer, depending on the severity of the injury.

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