Hip flexors are located on the front of the hip and lift the thigh up or bend the waist forward or down when the limbs are fixed. These muscles are used a lot in cycling, running, kicking and jumping activities. When a new load is placed on the muscle or repetitive stresses are encountered without rest, the muscle may stretch or tear.
Cause of injury
Repetitive stress on the hip flexor muscles without adequate time for recovery. Excessive stress placed on the muscles without appropriate strengthening and warm-up. Improper form when running, cycling or other activities. Forceful hyperextension of the leg at the hip.
Signs and symptoms
Pain in the upper groin area over the anterior portion of the hip. Inflammation and tenderness over the hip flexor.
Complications if left unattended
Hip flexor strains left untreated can become chronic and lead to inflexible muscles that could lead to other injuries. The muscle could also continue to tear, eventually leading to a complete rupture from the attachment.
Cessation of the activity. Ice the area immediately. X-ray for possible fracture or bone chips.
Rehabilitation and prevention
Use of proper protective equipment during activities and strengthening the supporting muscles around the hip for added padding and protection. Unfortunately there is not a lot that can be done to prevent falling or contact with the hip area.
Rehabilitation includes rest until the pain subsides, then gradual reintroduction on the activity. Any activities causing pain should be discontinued until the area is pain free.
Hip pointers seldom cause long-term disability and most athletes can return to full function after treatment and a rehabilitation period. Surgery is seldom required except in severe fracture cases.