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Hip Strain

Hip Strain Anatomy

Man with hip strain examined by doctor What is a hip strain? To understand, it helps to take a look at the anatomy of the hip. Your hip flexors are the muscles which move the hips forward when you run, walk, sprint, or kick. When a great deal of stress is applied to this muscle group, as is common amongst professional athletes, a hip strain or hip flexor strain may be sustained. Hip strains vary in degree from:

  • Mild – stretching or minor tearing of the muscle tissue
  • Moderate – partial tearing of the muscle tissue
  • Severe – a complete tear of the muscle tissue

Hip Strain Causes

Most commonly, hip strains have a gradual onset and are the result of overuse. A hip strain can also occur as the result of:

  • Injury, such as a fall
  • Already stretched muscle contracts suddenly
  • Direct blow (contusion) to the muscle
  • Failure to warm up before exercising
  • Attempting to do too much too soon
  • Risk increases when a prior injury to the area has been sustained 

Hip Strain Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the damage or injury, symptoms of a hip strain include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain aggravated with use/hip movement
  • Muscle tenderness
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Difficulty walking 

Hip Strain Treatment

Depending on the extent of the damage or injury, treatment for a hip strain includes:

  • Rest
  • Elevating the legs
  • Applying ice or cold compress
  • Anti-inflammatory, pain relief medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Hip flexor muscle stretches

Hip Flexor Strain Prevention

Since “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” here are some guidelines to help avoid straining the muscles around your hip:

  • During your regular workouts, focus on exercises which build hip muscle strength and flexibility and which increase mobility and balance
  • Always warm up and stretch before exercising/playing sports
  • Wear correct gear when participating in sports activities