Have I strained my Hip Flexor? How to return to sport like a Pro.
We have all been there. It’s the start of pre season and you haven't run or kicked a ball in months.
We get through a few training sessions and then suddenly in one stride you experience pain coming from your hip. The dreaded hip flexor strain!
Others will give up right here, but you’ve taken the first step to get back quicker and stronger.
Let me show you how to return to the field like a pro!
WHAT ARE THE HIP FLEXORS?
Our Hip flexors are a group of 5 muscles (Iliacus, Psoas, Pectineus, Rectus Femoris, and Sartorius) that are located at the front top part of your thigh in the pelvic/groin area. They are responsible for bringing your knees towards your chest.
Hip flexor pain is one of the most common sporting injuries for athletes we see in the clinic everyday. Their prevalence can be up to 30% of injuries in high-risk sports such as Running, Football, Soccer, Hockey, Martial Arts, and Gymnastics.
Every step you take, ball you kick or tackle you evade you use your hip flexors! When these muscles are put under extreme stress, these muscles can get painful.
What does a PULLED hip flexor INJURY feel like?
Hip flexor strains can initially feel like a sharp pain or pull at the front of your hip or groin.
Aggravating movements can consist of squatting, walking / running, jumping and even sitting for long periods. Hip flexor strains can range from grade 1 to 3:
Grade 1 (Mild) - a small tear in hip flexor muscle fibres, resulting in a low level of discomfort that may allow you to continue to play sport and run.
Grade 2 (Moderate) - a significant tear in hip flexor muscle fibres that can result in some swelling and tenderness. Weakness may be more prevalent causing you to limb immediately after injury.
Grade 3 (Severe) - a complete tear or rupture of certain hip flexor muscle fibres resulting in difficulty with weight-bearing and major loss of function.
There are several factors why hip flexor strain can develop in athletes:
Inadequate warm up
Improper or excessive activity progressions
Long sedentary positions ( sitting in a desk / car)
Inadequate pelvic and abdominal control
Don’t worry, we have the best possible team at Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy to address these issues and get you back doing what you love!
How do you treat Hip flexor pain and STRAINs?
The immediate treatment of any soft tissue injury is the POLICE protocol – Protect, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression and Elevation. POLICE should be followed for the initial 48–72 hours post injury.
The aim is to reduce the bleeding and damage to the muscle tissue. The leg should be rested in an elevated position with an ice pack applied for 20 minutes every two hours (never apply ice directly to the skin to avoid ice burn).
The No HARM protocol should also be applied which includes no heat, alcohol, running or activity, and no massage. This will help ensure decreased bleeding and swelling in the injured area.
Once the initial pain and stiffness subsides, you’re ready for exercise and a gradual return to sport or running. This is where we come in!
How can Physiotherapy help for a Hip Flexor Strain?
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy our experienced clinicians use a variety of treatment techniques to address your specific hip flexor pain.
Load management strategies ( Keep you involved as best we can!)
Soft tissue mobilisation
Dry Needling (If appropriate)
Lower limb and core strengthening
Graded return to run/sport program
WHAT IS THE HIP FLEXOR STRAIN INJURY RECOVEY TIME?
Return to sport or running time can vary depending on the severity of the hip flexor strain.
Grade 1 and 2 strains tend to return to sport within 4-6 weeks. Grade 3 can be longer.
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy our expert team will appropriately diagnose and guide you through your rehabilitation. We utilise clear return to run measures incorporating the latest strength testing and force plate technology to ensure you return stronger than you ever have been.
If you have strained your hip flexor muscle, a Physiotherapist will provide you with the best possible outcome, and limit your chance of recurrence (don’t get left behind next pre season!). To make an appointment with our excellent sports physios, please call your nearest clinic, or book online. We look forward to helping you soon!