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How Do I Treat Hip Flexor Pain?

People with hip flexor pain may require crutches to walk.
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  • Written By: Henry Gaudet
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
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Hip flexor pain usually is the result of a muscle pull, strain or tear and can range in severity from an annoying little twinge to a debilitating injury. The hip flexor muscles — rectus femoris, psoas major and illiacus — are responsible for drawing up the knee toward the chest and are important for walking, running, jumping and kicking. An injury to these muscles can make it difficult to perform simple activities such as sitting, standing, walking and even sleeping. Managing hip flexor pain is an important part of recovering from such an injury and returning to an active lifestyle. Treatment for hip flexor pain typically involves resting the muscles, using ice to help reduce the pain and then stretching and exercising the muscles after healing has begun.

Muscle spasms, swelling, tenderness and bruising are possible symptoms of an injury to the the hip flexor muscles, but the most common symptom is pain. This is a sharp pain that is centered at the front of the hip but might radiate down the thigh or to the lower back. Hip flexor pain is sharpest when lifting the knee, and the injured person might have difficulty climbing stairs and might walk with a limp. Depending on the severity of the injury, the person might be able to carry on with only a minor distraction or might be unable to stand upright.

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Treatment for hip flexor pain will initially involve rest, and the patient should avoid any activities that cause pain. Depending on the injury, crutches might be required to walk without aggravating the injury. Attempts to “walk it off” will only prolong the injury, potentially creating a chronic problem. Ice packs used for 20 minutes every two hours during the first few days can significantly reduce recovery time as well as reducing pain and swelling.

Once the patient has begun to heal, physiotherapy can begin. A physiotherapist can put together an effective exercise plan designed to gently restore strength and flexibility to the muscles. Stretching, massage, ice or heat treatment and electrotherapy also might be used to speed recovery. Consultation with a qualified physiotherapist or medical professional is recommended for anyone experiencing hip flexor pain.

Prevention is, of course, the preferred method of managing hip flexor injuries. Many injuries are caused by overexertion, but tight muscles and poor flexibility also are factors. Taking the time to stretch and warm up prior to sports activities or heavy exertion can reduce the chance of straining the hip flexor muscles. When taking part in exercise, care should be taken to maintain proper form and technique. Good posture also can help prevent injury.

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Discuss this Article

burcinc
Post 3

@fBoyle-- I received physical therapy for hip flexor pain and it was definitely helpful. I was in a situation where I was afraid to exercise and stretch on my own because I was afraid of causing more injury. But exercising and stretching with the supervision and direction of a physical therapist is very different. I knew that I would not be injuring myself and I'm sure that physical therapy helped speed up my healing.

And physical therapy is not just about healing, it's also about strengthening the body and learning to move correctly to prevent further injury. Speak to your doctor again about physical therapy for your hip flexor pain.

fBoyle
Post 2

@donasmrs-- Are you planning on going to physical therapy?

I've been suffering from hip flexor pain as well and my treatment has also been pain relieving medications. I actually want to go to physical therapy but my doctor thinks that it's not necessary.

Has anyone here received physical therapy for hip flexor pain? Was it helpful?

donasmrs
Post 1

I developed a muscle spasm as a result of hip flexor injury. The pain was intense after the spasm and I could not walk properly. I was given pain relievers and muscle relaxers which I used regularly for the first two weeks. Heat therapy helped a lot during this time. Heat seems to relax muscles and prevent them from spasming and cramping.

It has been about three months now and my movement is fully back but I still have pain from time to time. I'm trying not to take pain relievers unless I have to because I know they are harmful for the stomach and other organs. I only take one pain reliever when the pain severe and does not go away with topical creams and a heat pack.

I'm also using topical herbal remedies like capsaicin cream, camphor and menthol balm. They really do work and help relieve pain and inflammation. I recommend them.

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