Overview Of Hip Flexor Muscles: Injuries, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment - DailyAchiever

Overview Of Hip Flexor Muscles: Injuries, Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

If you are just like others, you feel a tight feeling around your hips and thighs all the time. They tend to flare up when you are doing any lower workout like deadlift or squats. Well, that happens because of your hip flexor muscles.

Now the question is what can you do about it? If you search the internet, you will come across different opinions. Some say that stretching is the solution whereas others are like strengthening your muscle is the way out.

There can be various causes of tight hip flexors. Some people say that it happens because of exercise, weightlifting in particular. While others think sitting is the main cause of the problem as it weakens your muscles.

If you are looking for answers to all these questions then you are in the right place. In this write-up, you shall find all the details you want to know about hip flexors, it causes and treatment.

What are hip flexors?

If you are one of those people who don’t have any idea what hip flexors are, here is a quick definition for you guys.

Hip flexors are basically a group of muscles around the top of your thighs. It connects the upper leg to your hip.

These muscles form a very important part of your body. They are pretty much involved in every kind of movement where your lower body is involved. This includes workouts like deadlift, squats, bench press and overhead press.

There are more than one hip flexors present in your body. But the main ones include the following:

  1. Rectus femoris

  2. Lliopsoas

  3. Sartorius

  4. Adductor longus

  5. Adductor brevis

  6. Gracilis

  7. Pectineus

  8. Tensor fasciae latae

These muscles are called hip flexors because they have the ability to create flexion in your hips. In simple words, it is a technical term for a bending movement at the joint that reduces the angle between the bones of the limb joint.

Hip flexion occurs when you raise your knees. This happens because it reduces the angle of your thigh bone.

This is for you to know that the opposite of flexion is extension. This occurs when you lower your knee in the flexed position.

Since hip flexors are a vital group of muscles, you need to pay more attention to it. Most people make the mistake of neglecting them which then results in injuries. If you work out regularly then you should perform exercises that strengthens and stretches these muscles. You need to keep your hip flexors strong and well-stretched so that you can avoid any kind of injuries.

Hip Flexor Injuries

Hip flexor injuries are quite common. It mainly results from sudden movements. For example, when you change your direction while kicking or running. People who are involved in sports and heavy physical activities are more likely to injure their flexors.

Some of the activities that can cause hip flexor injury include football, running, martial arts, hockey and dancing. It can even happen if you slip and fall.

The seriousness of hip flexor injury can be studied with the help of grading systems. this helps in more precise diagnostics of the problem.

Grade 1 (mild)

When you get a small tear in your muscle which is giving you mild pains can be called grade 1 injury. Your muscle can also get a bit swollen and tender, in this stage. However, you will be able to carry on with your everyday activities without much problem. You can even play sports. Grade 1 injury takes only a weeks’ time to recover.

Grade 2 (moderate)

Moderate injury is when you get a large muscle tear which makes it difficult for you to move. You will also feel a good amount of pain in this case. The pain is mainly felt when you try moving the affected area. There can also be swelling in the muscles.

If you have incurred a grade 2 injury then you lose 50% of your movement which means you cannot indulge in sporting activities. You can even start limping, in the worst of cases. This can take a month to recover fully. However, that depends on how bad the injury is.

Grade 3 (severe)

Grade 3 injury is when there is a complete tear in your muscle. This may result in extreme pain and swelling of the area. In this case, you won’t be able to make any movement or put pressure on your leg.

Grade 3 injury means more than 50% of muscle function loss. However, this type of severe flexor injury is a bit rare. You may need to undergo surgery if this happens to you. The torn muscle is repaired with the help of surgery. This can take more than 2 to 3 months to completely heal. Also, you will stay bedridden for a long time.

Symptoms of Hip Flexor Injury

You are more likely to injure your flexors if you had one in the past. The risk of getting flexor injury increases when you don’t warm up nicely before doing a heavy physical activity. If you are into sports then it is advised that you first warm up nicely and then start with your thing. Without warming up your muscles are tight and thus, the chances of getting an injury increases. Flexor injury can also happen when you try to do a lot of activity in a very short time. You need to keep these things in mind to prevent this from happening.

Now that question is how you find out whether you have got a torn hip muscle. Well, there are certain symptoms that makes it easier for you to figure it out. One of the main symptom of flexor injury is severe pain in your front hip muscles that connects with your thighs. However, the severity of the pain may vary.

If you feel or notice any of the following symptoms then you very well have a strained hip flexor.

  1. Sudden pain in the pelvis or hip.

  2. Continuous cramping sensation in the upper leg area.

  3. Loss of strength in the front of the groin.

  4. Sore and tender upper leg.

  5. Muscle spasms in your thighs and hips.

  6. Inability to move or perform activities like jumping, kicking or sprinting.

  7. Discomfort and reduced mobility.

  8. Swelling around your thighs and hips.

  9. Feeling of tightness after being stationary.

Risk Factors

Some people are more likely to get a hip flexor injury than the others. this includes people who are not properly conditioned, athletes and people who perform exercises like jumping, running, kicking and high knee kicks.

Some of the sports where hip flexor injury is common includes:

  1. Soccer

  2. Dancers

  3. Martial artists

  4. Cyclists

If you belong to any of these groups then you need to maintain proper precaution in order to prevent it from happening.

Treatment For Strained Hip Flexors

If you have suffered a hip flexor injury, you need to treat it on time to recover faster. Unless its grade 3 injury, you can treat it using the following ways.

Rest:

It is very important for you to rest your affected muscles so that they can heal completely. The best thing to do is to stop your physical activities for a few days. If you are an athlete or into sports, it is better for you to rest for a couple of days. This is to prevent further injury from happening.

Home remedies:

In mild or moderate cases, you can treat strained flexors at home itself. You don’t need the help of any prescribed medicines or any other invasive treatment. Some of the things you can do to treat your injury include:

  • You can apply ice pack over the affected area. Cover the ice pack with a cloth and place it over the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • You can even use moist heat treatment after 72 hours of getting injured. This includes moist heating pads or heating patches. You can even take a hot shower. This will help in reducing the tightness of the muscles.

  • In some cases, when you know that ice pack and moist heating pads are not being much effective, you can go for medications. There are many over-the-counter drugs that you can take.

Exercising and stretching

Gentle stretching and exercising can help reduce your muscle tension around the hips. Not just that but it can also reduce the chances of getting further injuries in the future. For your convenience, we have suggested some of the best hip flexor stretches and exercises that you can perform. You can easily perform all these exercises at home without using any equipment.

Stretches

Let’s first start with some of the stretching exercises. These stretches can help in increasing flexibility, reducing tightness and strengthen your muscles. Most importantly, it will help prevent it from happening again.

1. Pigeon pose

pigeon pose

This gives a deep stretch to your hips. You should be informed that it is a bit difficult to perform. Therefore, you should maintain caution while doing it.

  • Start out in an elevated plan position.

  • Lift your left foot and take it toward your left hand. Now push it toward your right hand.

  • Try to move the stretched right leg as far back as you can.

  • Lower your body to the ground while keeping your hips straight.

  • After holding the position for a few seconds, switch sides.

2. Bridge pose

bridge pose

This is actually a very popular pose used in yoga. This stretch is very useful as it can help you stretch many parts of your body including your hips, legs and back.

  • Lay flat on the ground with your hands lying flat on either side of your body.

  • Pull your feet in towards your hips. Make sure that your sole stay flat on the ground.

  • Now lift your hips while engaging your core. You need to form a straight, angled line from your knees to your shoulders.

  • Hold the pose for about 30 seconds. After that lower your body and then repeat again.

3. Seated butterfly

seated butterfly

By doing this stretch you can stretch your thighs, lower back and hips. This is perhaps the easiest stretching you can perform.

  • Sit up straight and engage your core.

  • Push the bottom of both your foot while pushing out your knees.

  • Pull your heels towards your body and then relax your knees.

  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds and take a deep breath.

Strengthening exercises

There are many good strengthening exercises that you can perform at home or at the gym. These exercises are known to target your legs and hips area. if you want to make your flexor muscles strong then you should try out the following exercises.

1. Mountain climbers

mountain climber

This is the type of exercise that is performed by a person in the plank-like position. Form the name itself, you can figure out that it has something to do with mountain climbing. This particular exercises mimic the motion of climbing a mountain.

  • You start out in a regular plank position. You need to place your hands and feet shoulder width apart.

  • Make sure that your hands are firm while you pull your right knee up to your chest and then repeat the same with the other leg.

  • You need to perform 5 to 10 repetitions.

2. Straight leg raises

straight leg raises

This is yet another great exercise that can be done lying down. All you need to do is lift your legs one after the other. This exercise is easy to perform but it is very effective for your lower body. People having problems with their flexors can find great benefits from this one single exercise.

  • Lie down on the floor and place your arms on your sides.

  • Keep your feet on the floor and bring them toward your hips. You need to form a triangle with your knees.

  • Now alternately lift your legs while creating a straight line from the hips to the ankle.

  • You need to repeat this for 8 to 10 times for each leg.

3. Lunges

lunges

Lunges are a great exercise as it helps to strengthen your hip and legs muscles. There are different ways of performing lunges. Some do it with weights while others prefer doing the basic one. Other than that there is forward, side and backward lunges. However, the simplest form of lunges is the forward lunges.

  • Stand straight with your feet slightly apart.

  • You can either rest your hands on your hips or let them hand straight on either side of your body.

  • Now take a big step forward with your right leg. You need to make sure that your heel touches the floor first.

  • Bend your forward knee until your thigh becomes parallel to the floor. Your knee should be over your ankle while you bend your other knee toward the floor.

  • Step back in the standing position by pushing off the floor with your forward foot.

  • Now repeat the same thing with your left leg.

  • In the beginning, you can start off with 5 to 10 repetitions. But once you become used to it then you can take it up to 20 to 30 repetitions.

4. Squats

squats exercise

Just like lunges, even squats have different variations. This is one exercise that works both on your legs and core. One of the main advantages of squats is that you can adjust the intensity of the exercises to fit your changing needs.

  • Stand straight with your feet slightly spread apart. Keep your hands on the side.

  • Bend your knees and push your hips toward the back.

  • Drop down till your legs are parallel to the floor while keeping your knees in line with the feet.

  • You need to engage your core and bring your arms up till your chest.

  • Repeat this exercise at least 10 to 20 times.

As you get used to it, you can even add weights or jumps to increase your challenge.

5. Clamming

clamming exercise

This is yet another popular exercise that is often performed by dancers. They do it to get strong hips muscles so that they can rotate easily.

  • Lay down on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other while you bend slightly at the knee.

  • Now open your top knee so that it points at the ceiling.

  • Keep your feet stacked together. Make sure that you do not roll backward on your bottom hip.

  • Close your leg to complete the rep.

  • You need to repeat this 10 to 30 times each side.

You can even use a therapy band in order to increase the resistance.

If you want to find out more exercises we do recommend checking out unlock your hip flexors program

What happens in severe cases?

If you have incurred a severe flexor muscle injury then you need more than just home remedies and rest. In this case, you will experience extreme pain and swelling of your muscles. Due to the complete tear of your hip muscles, you will not be able to make much movement. In this case, the doctor may recommend you to consult a physical therapy expert. In some occasions, depending on your injury, the doctor may also ask you to get surgery done.

Surgery is needed when they have to repair your ruptured muscle. However, surgery takes place in the rarest cases. So you need not worry about it much.

Prevention

As they say, prevention is always better than cure. If you want to prevent yourself from injuring your hip flexors then you need to do the following.

  1. If you are going to exercise or play any sport makes sure that you warm up your body before the activity. Many people especially beginners ignore its importance and then end up injuring themselves. Even when you are just practicing, warming up your body is a must.

  1. Just like warm up even cool down is also important when the activity is done. You need to stretch each of your muscle group slowly and hold the stretch for a few seconds.

  1. One of the best ways to prevent flexor injury is to keep your muscles fit. This can be done with the help of regular exercises. You need to focus more on exercises that will help you strengthen and stretch your thigh and hip muscles. You can follow the exercises and stretches that we have mentioned above in the article. However, you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. A few repetitions of each of the exercise is fine in the beginning. Once you get used to it, you can gradually increase the number of repetitions.

  1. You should also focus on strengthening your glutes and core muscles. These are the muscles that work together to your give you stability and balance. It is with the help of these muscles that you move through every activity that you perform in your daily life. If you have weak or tight muscles then the chances of getting an injury increases. This is why you need to pay attention to these muscle group as well.

  1. If you have already injured yourself then take proper treatment and rest. You should not go back to your activities unless you have healed completely. If you dare to do so, it will only worsen the problem further. You need to allow your muscles to gain back its strength and flexibility. The time required may vary depending on your injury. However, you need to be patient enough for it to get better.

Hip flexor injury can be really painful and discomforting. It gets more annoying as it takes much time to heal. If you don’t want it to happen to you then you already know what to do. You should take all the precautionary steps that are required. Most importantly, you should exercise and stretch regularly. By doing so you will be able to keep your thigh and hips muscles in good shape.

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