The hip flexors are a group of muscles that help you flex or move your leg and knee up towards your body.
A muscle strain occurs when a muscle is over-stretched or torn.
A hip flexor strain occurs when one or more of the hip flexor muscles becomes stretched or torn.
Hip flexors allow you to bend your knee and flex your hip. Sudden movements such as sprinting, kicking, and changing direction while running or moving can stretch and tear the hip flexors.
Runners, people who do martial arts, and football, soccer, and hockey players are more likely to have this type of injury.
Other factors that can lead to hip flexor strain include:
You will feel a hip flexor strain in the front area where your thigh meets your hip. Depending on how bad the strain is, you may notice:
You may need to use crutches for a severe strain.
Follow these steps for the first few days or weeks after your injury:
Talk with your health care provider before using pain medicines if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or have had stomach ulcers or internal bleeding in the past. Do not take more than the amount recommended on the bottle or by your health care provider.
Your doctor may recommend exercises to help stretch and strengthen your hip flexors. While resting the area, you may want to do exercises that don't strain your hip flexors, such as swimming.
For a severe strain, you may want to see a physical therapist (PT). The therapist will work with you to:
Follow your doctor's recommendations for rest, ice, and pain relief medicines. If you are seeing a PT, be sure to do the exercises as directed. Following a care plan will help your muscles heal and help prevent future injury.
Call your doctor if you don't feel better in a few weeks with treatment.
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Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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