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Strained Hip Muscle

Reviewed by Dr. David Crawford

Hip injuries can profoundly impact your quality of life. However, you do not have to manage your hip pain on your own.

Schedule an appointment with JIS Orthopedics today at one of our offices located in New Albany and St. Clairsville! We look forward to assisting you with your hip pain and discomfort, which may be the result of a strained hip muscle.

What Is a Strained Hip Muscle?

A strained hip muscle, also known as a hip flexor strain, is an injury to the hip flexor muscles and tendons surrounding the hip joint. A hip flexor tear can be caused by overstretching or overloading during activities such as running, jumping, kicking, and lifting weights. The strain may range from a simple stretch to a partial or complete tear of the muscle fibers.

Hip flexors include the iliacus and psoas major muscles, known as the iliopsoas, as well as the rectus femoris, which is part of the quadriceps.

Symptoms of a strained hip flexor may include pain in the front of the hip joint when moving or stretching the leg, tightness or discomfort in the hips when walking or climbing stairs, and swelling and bruising around the affected area.

Treatment for a strained hip flexor typically includes rest, ice therapy, physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles, and other modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation.

What Does a Hip Flexor Muscle Strain Feel Like?

A hip flexor muscle strain can cause pain and tenderness in the hip or thigh area. Other hip flexor strain symptoms may include the following:

  • Increased pain when using the hip flexors
  • Muscle weakness
  • Swelling
  • Limited range of motion

The Causes of a Strained Hip Flexor

Most hip flexor strains are acute injuries. This means that the injury happens suddenly, such as from a stretch injury, a direct blow while playing sports, or a fall. It is also possible to strain your hip flexor through overuse. Over time, the muscles or tendons can weaken by repetitive movements.

You can be at a greater risk of straining your hip if:

  • You had a previous injury to the hip flexor muscles
  • You have tight hip flexor muscles
  • You skip your warm-up before exercising or physical exertion
  • You do too much or too quickly

How to Treat Hip Flexor Strains

When the injury is mild, simple home treatments may be all you need to treat hip flexor strain. Home treatments could include the following:

  • Rest: Avoid any activities that put a strain on the hip flexors for a few days after the injury.
  • Ice: You can use an ice pack to reduce swelling. Use ice for 20 minutes at a time throughout waking hours. However, it’s best not to place the ice directly on your skin.
  • Compression: Applying light compression can also help reduce swelling. Wrap the injury in a bandage or use compression shorts.
  • Elevation: Try to keep your legs and hips higher than your heart. This will also help lower inflammation.
  • NSAIDs: Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help reduce swelling and relieve hip flexor pain.
  • Heat therapy: You can start alternating heat therapy with ice after 72 hours. Between ice treatments, you could try soaking in a hot bath or using a heating pad. Heat may help relieve pain and improve range of motion.
  • Home exercises: Light exercise can help reduce hip flexor muscle tension. You can also perform specific exercises to strengthen the hip flexors and help to improve flexibility.


Unfortunately, not all hip strains will get better with home treatments. If pain continues for longer than a few weeks, it may be suggested that you try physical therapy. A physical therapist can provide you with tailored exercises to help improve strength and flexibility.

A severe strain may need surgical intervention. If your tendon has torn, an orthopedic surgeon will reattach it to the bone.

Outlook for a Strained Hip Flexor

Those with a strained hip muscle can expect to experience some degree of soreness and discomfort for up to several weeks. However, depending on the severity of the strain, treatment may involve rest and physical therapy or even surgery in some cases.

In order to prevent further injury, it is important that those with a strained hip muscle take time to rest between periods of activity and avoid any strenuous activities until their pain subsides.

With proper care, most people should recover from a strained hip muscle within four to six weeks. It is important to consult with a physician if the pain persists or worsens, as this could be an indication of a more serious underlying problem.

Seek Help for Your Hip Pain Today

Those who experience hip flexor tears can benefit from orthopedic sports medicine. Treatment can help you safely get back to your daily activities or sports.

Schedule an appointment with our highly trained specialists at JIS Orthopedics today! We have offices located in New Albany and St. Clairsville, OH for your convenience. Contact us now to get the quality care you’re looking for!

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