What is a Hip Flexor Tear or Strain?
A hip flexor tear or strain is an injury to the muscles in the hip.
Hip flexor strains most often occur when the muscles become overused. While not usually serious, this injury can be quite painful if left untreated.
What Are Hip Flexors?
Hip flexors are the flexible muscle tissues located near the top of your thigh and pelvic region. They allow you to flex your hips and bend your knees. Overuse or overstretching of these muscles may result in a hip flexor strain, which can significantly limit your activity and mobility.
Hip flexor strains typically occur when the hip flexor muscles and tendons are used too much, causing stretching or tearing. Some people are more prone to hip flexor strains than others due to their activity type and level. Active individuals who may be at a higher risk for this condition include:
- Football (kickers)
Hip Flexor Grades
Hip flexor tears are categorized from grade one to grade three, with the majority classified as grade two.
Grade I: A minor tear in which a few fibers are damaged. The hip still functions normally.
Grade II: A moderate amount of muscle fiber is damaged, and there is a potential for loss of function in the hip flexor.
Grade III: The muscle is completely torn. If you have suffered a grade 3 tear, you probably can’t walk without a limp.
Most hip strain injuries begin as a microscopic tear that gradually increases in size with repetitive hip movement. Speaking with your physician and addressing a minor tear early on is the best way to prevent the condition from worsening.
Symptoms of Hip Flexor Strain
Sudden hip pain is the most common symptom associated with a hip flexor tear or strain. However, there are several other symptoms associated with a hip flexor tear or strain:
- Pain when lifting the leg to the chest or stretching the hip muscles.
- Swelling, bruising, or tenderness in the hip or thigh area.
- Muscles spasms in the thigh or hip that occur when walking or running.
While sports are among the more common causes of hip flexor strains, other factors can contribute to this injury. Overuse, poor posture or walking habits, and arthritis are among some of the possible non-sports related causes.
Hip Flexor Strain Treatment
There are conservative treatment options available such as bracing to help compress and stabilize the hip flexor, physical therapy & rehabilitation, and Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections, to name a few. However, all patients and hip flexor strains are not alike and may require professional consultation.
If you are experiencing pain in your hip, contact OrthoArizona today to schedule an appointment to speak with a physician.
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