What are Hip Flexors?
The hip flexors are a group of muscles found in the front of the hip. They are designed to help you bring your leg and trunk together in flexion movement. These muscles allow your leg to move towards your belly, as well as allowing your torso to bend towards your hip. However, it is possible to strain or even tear your hip flexor muscles through sudden movements or falls.
What is Hip Flexor Pain?
Sudden movements have the possibility of damaging your hip flexors. These movements include sprinting, kicking, or falling. While these injuries can happen to anyone, runners, high contact sports competitors, and hobbyist joggers can also injure themselves.
There are some other factors which contribute to hip flexor strain and pain. These include:
- Weakened muscles.
- Not warming up prior to physical activity.
- Sore muscles.
If you injure your hip flexor, you will feel pain in the part of your hip that meets your thigh. You may notice mild pain and cramping, pulling in the front of the hip, sharp pain when walking, difficulty getting out of a chair or sitting down, or severe pain and spasms. The top of the thigh muscle may bulge and it may be difficult to walk.
Top Causes of Hip Flexor Pain
Hip flexor pain can have causes that are not due to underlying disease. For example, they can be the result of improper body mechanics, pain, or strain. Some examples include trauma, immobilization for long periods of time, overuse, sitting or moving in awkward positions, or muscle stiffness.
Sitting too much
Sitting too much can lead to weakened and atrophied muscles. This can mean that your hip flexor muscles are not accustomed to daily functions and operations, or even out of the ordinary physical activity. In time, you may develop mild hip flexor pain or more severe tears, depending on the activity.
Hip Flexor Strain
You might accidentally strain your hip flexor if you do not warm up properly prior to physical activity, or if you push too hard during physical activity. It is also possible to strain your hip flexor if you are moving heavy furniture or experience a short burst of intense physical activity.
Even if you are accustomed to vigorous physical activity, it is possible to strain your hip flexor. This is accomplished through repetitive movement of the hip flexor muscles, which can cause them to wear and tear over a period of time or during a single but repetitive activity.
Dancers are quite susceptible to hip flexor pain due to high impact to the complexes of the leg through dance movements and choreography. While engaging in high levels of physical activity that require the legs to sustain movement for long periods of time, the hip flexor can become torn or strained.
Because the legs are in constant movement while running on hard surfaces, hip flexor pain is extremely common in runners. While engaging in this physical activity, the hip flexor receives repetitive concussive impact as the leg propels the runner forward over long distances. This damage can acute or chronic, though it depends on the level of physical activity the runner engages in and the limits of their own body.
High impact martial arts are a typical suspect for hip flexor pain. When falling or deflecting attacks, the hip flexor can become damaged due to trauma from oncoming hands, elbows, feet, or contact with the ground. It is extremely important to warm up prior to practice in order to avoid serious pain or injury during physical activity in martial arts.
Treating Hip Flexor Pain
Your doctor may recommend resting the area (if the hip flexor is only strained and not torn) while it recovers. While it recovers, it is recommended you do mild exercises that do not strain the hip flexors. In some cases, you may be prescribed physical therapy, which will include stretching and strengthening the hip flexor and its surrounding supporting muscle group. You will be guided through your physical activity to increase it until you are able to return to normal daily operations.
It’s our mission to provide safe and necessary treatment options to our patients. If you are experiencing hip flexor pain or believe you have injured yourself, please do not hesitate to contact us at 646-350-4499. You’ll receive an extensive one-on-one appointment so you can choose the best treatment option for you.