When you start to feel pain in your hip area, especially when you lift your leg towards your chest, you might have a hip flexor strain. You might also feel hip or thigh muscle spasms. Swelling and bruising can also be common around your hip or thigh area.
Understanding what a hip flexor strain is and how to get the right treatment is important. Let’s look at both what this type of injury is and the commonly used treatments.
What is a Hip Flexor Strain?
A hip flexor strain or tear is an injury that impacts the muscles found in the hip. Hip flexors are a group of muscles in the hip, which include:
- Rectus femoris
- Iliacus more muscle
- Psoas major muscle
These muscles help you to live your knee up towards your body. You can suffer a hip flexor strain or tear due to overuse, a sports injury, or other types of injuries.
Types of Hip Flexor Strains and Tears
there are three types of hip flexor strains or tears you might suffer from:
- Grade 1 – This is a minor tear or strain with only a few muscle fibers suffering damage.
- Grade 2 – This is a moderate tear or strain with more muscle fibers damaged and may cause the loss of function of the hip flexor.
- Grade 3 – When the muscle fibers are completely torn, it is a grade three tear or strain. You will likely struggle to walk without a limp.
It is common to suffer a hip flexor strain from overuse or due to weakness in the muscles. You might also suffer this type of injury from sitting for extended periods or from acute contraction of the muscles.
Of course, those that play sports are at risk of hip flexor injuries. They are commonly seen in soccer, football with kickers, dancers, and cyclists.
Common Treatments for Hip Flexor Strains
Depending on the severity of your hip flexor strain, you might undergo a variety of treatment options. If left untreated, a hip flexor strain can get worse and recovery can last longer.
Some of the self-treatment options you can use include:
- RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, or RICE can help relieve the pain and help the hip flexor strain heal.
- A Brace – With a brace you can add stability to the hip flexor to speed up healing.
These are the only real treatment options you can do yourself. Other hip flexor treatment options include:
- Physical therapy – If you continue to suffer pain after trying to treat this injury yourself, you will likely need physical therapy to gain your strength and flexibility back.
- PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Injection – A PRP injection can also help speed up healing when dealing with a hip flexor strain.
- Surgery – A minimally invasive surgery may also be necessary to treat your hip flexor injury.
It is not always necessary to have surgery to fix this type of injury. Most of the time, a hip flexor strain can be treated without surgery, unless the muscle has been completely torn.