July 30, 2021

Understanding Hip Flexor Strains: Symptoms and Treatments

A common complaint amongst runners, athletes, and other physically active patients is a pain in their hip flexor. The hip flexor is the group of muscles that allow us to bend at the waist and lift our knees. Though they are amongst some of the strongest muscles in our bodies, they can be overworked and strained just like any other muscle, but sometimes more than any other muscle group. It is important for those who may be prone to this type of injury to talk to their doctor regarding treatment advice. However, the more you know about the symptoms and potential treatments, the more aware of your body you can become. This can help you recover from a hip flexor injury or any other injury quicker and more efficiently. Let’s discuss in depth what this type of injury is, what to look out for, and how to treat it:

What is a Hip Flexor Strain?

Tearing of the muscles in the hip flexors is known as a hip flexor strain. Hip flexor strain occurs when the muscles and tendons in your hip flexors are overworked. Muscles and tendons become inflamed, uncomfortable, and painful as a result. Tears can range in severity from minor to severe:

  • Grade I Tear: In this type of hip flexor tear, only a few muscle strands are affected.
  • Grade II Tear: If you have a grade II tear, you will have a moderate loss of hip flexor function, and a considerable number of muscle fibers have been injured.
  • Grade III Tear: A grade III tear will cause you significant pain. You will have difficulties walking without a limp since the muscle has entirely ruptured or torn.

Causes of a Hip Flexor Strain

Overuse or overstretching of these muscles and tendons can cause damage and pain, as well as a reduction in mobility. This form of injury is more common among athletes that use their hip flexors in their sport and training. The hip flexors are placed under the most stress in dancing, martial arts, and running.

Symptoms of a Hip Flexor Strain

If you have a hip flexor strain, you may notice a variety of these indications/symptoms:

  1. Pain in your groin area where your thigh meets your torso that comes on suddenly
  2. Pain that worsens as you lift your leg to your chest
  3. Pain when stretching your hip muscles
  4. Muscle spasms near your hip or groin area
  5. Tenderness in the front area of your hip
  6. Swelling or bruising near your hip flexor/groin/hip

Treatment Options

If you have a hip flexor strain, several treatment options are available to you—these range from rest, minimally invasive treatments, to surgical treatments. To further discuss the best treatment options for you, please consult with your doctor or the best orthopedic surgeon nearest you.


If you have hip flexor strain, it’s critical to rest the afflicted muscles. If you must remain active, to minimize overstretching the muscle, one thing you may do is vary your typical activity. This will give those muscles and tendons a break and a chance to recover and heal.

Home Treatments
The majority of hip flexor strains can be managed at home without prescription drugs or more invasive procedures. Here are a few home remedies that can help relieve hip flexor strain pain:

  1. Applying ice to the area in 10-15 minute intervals
  2. Alternating heat application with icing the area
  3. Taking over-the-counter pain relief medications
  4. Stretching

Gentle stretching exercises can help relieve hip flexor muscle tension and lower the risk of injury in the future. Try some small hip flexor stretches, but don’t overdo it – these stretches are meant to be moderate. Warming up your muscles with a leisurely stroll for around three minutes before stretching will assist in lessening the risk of hip flexor strain.

Treatment for More Severe Cases

Your doctor may recommend seeing a physical therapist if your hip flexor strain is severe enough to cause a significant muscle tear. Surgery to repair the damaged muscle may be recommended in some cases. However, this is an infrequent occurrence.

Your hip flexor is a vital group of muscles that assist you with everyday tasks, such as walking to pick up the mail, bending down to pick up your children, and much more. If you are experiencing pain or any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your doctor or contact Dr. Paul C. Buzhardt for a consultation and advice on the best treatment plans for you to get moving again, pain-free!