The hip flexors are a group of muscles toward the front of the hip. They help you move, or flex, your leg and knee up towards your body.
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:
You can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) to reduce pain and swelling. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) helps with pain, but not with swelling. You can buy these pain medicines at the store.
Your doctor may recommend that as you rest the area, you do exercises that don't strain the hip flexors, such as swimming. For a severe strain, you should see a physical therapist (PT). The PT will work with you to:
Follow your provider'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 likely prevent future injury.
Call your provider if you do not feel better in a few weeks with treatment.
For any orthopedic sports medicine condition, including hip-specific issues, call 1-855-NH-SPORT to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic sports medicine specialists.