Hip Flexor Pain


Understanding Hip Flexor Pain

Hip Flexor PainHip flexor pain is generally a muscle strain of at least one of the hip flexors. The hip flexors are comprised of three different muscles, the Psoas Major, the Illiacus, and the Rectus Femoris.  Together these muscles work to flex the hip, and are thus known as hip flexors.  It is strains or pulls of these muscles that often cause hip flexor pain.  Generally, a strain or pull of these muscles results in pain in the front of the hip that seems to “shoot down” the thigh.  Movement of the leg often results in increased pain, accompanying a decreased range of movement in the hip.  This hip flexor pain can be exceptionally painful and makes certain exercises nearly impossible.  The strains and pulls that cause hip flexor pain are often the result of trauma to the muscle, not trauma in the sense of something physically contacting the muscle, but rather a sudden force applied to the muscle such as sprinting, cutting, or kicking motions.  A strain or pull of a hip flexor muscle can also result from compensation of another leg or foot injury.  The abnormal movement associated with such physical compensation puts unnecessary strain on the hip flexors, thus resulting in an increase rate of pulls and strains.  These types of hip flexor injuries are, clearly, not the result of acute trauma, but rather, gradual, long-term strain to the flexor muscles.

Hip Flexor Pain Treatments

Unfortunately, the only treatment for hip flexor pain is pain medication, regular icing of the hip flexors, and very gentle stretching.  Hip flexor injuries can take some time to heal and it is important to note that physical activity involving the hip only serves to setback hip flexor healing.  Thus, resting the hip is a key to treating hip flexor pain. The best way to speed up the healing process is through the use of the Hi-RICE method;

  • Hydration
  • Ibuprofen
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Avoiding Hip Injuries

Hip Flexor StretchesThere is good news, however, with some effort, hip flexor pain and hip flexor injuries can be fairly easy to avoid entirely.  Oftentimes, the acute trauma that can cause hip flexor injury is a result of lack of flexibility or tight muscles.  Regular stretching, especially before exercise, is an excellent way to help muscles become gradually more flexible and avoid injuries during physical activity.  For the hip flexor injuries that result from compensation for other injuries, proper treatment and rest for the initial injuries can help prevent hip flexor injuries.  In short, hip flexor injuries, like other hip injuries, can be extremely painful.  Though the treatment is fairly simple, it is best to prevent hip flexor injuries and thus prevent hip flexor pain.



Additional Stretches for Hip Flexor Pain