Treatment for hip flexor strain symptoms varies. Some treatments can be done at home, as with others you might need to meet a healthcare professional. All in all, there are plenty of herbal and even medical options available to help alleviate pain and get you back to your usual activities like biking and dancing!
Hip Flexor Strain Home Treatments
Mild strains and injuries can be treated with these simple at-home remedies for pain management.
Resting the Connecting Hip & Leg Muscles
One of the best ways to reduce hip pain is to give your hip flexor muscles a rest. Constant overuse of the hip muscle fibers makes it tougher for injuries to heal. So take a break from sports and physical activities, and rest until you feel better and can return to your normal routine. As a precaution, try not to bend at the hip or bring your knee toward your chest, because this puts added strain on tendons, causing even more pain in the process.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapy are two different treatments that can compliment each other well. For example, many people recommend heat and cold on the first day following an injury or painful sprain to help reduce pain and swelling. The cold will reduce swelling by limiting the amount of fluid brought to the site, and will help minimize hip pain. Heat is best when the pain has already subsided after the initial 72 hours, since it helps restore microcirculation while providing soothing comfort thanks to its heat retention properties.
After the swelling and redness have disappeared, you can slowly increase the temperature of a heat pack or take a hot shower. The heat will draw more blood into your skin to promote recovery. Be sure not to sleep with either an ice pack or herbal heating pad on, for this could injure your skin in some way.
Hip Stretches and Exercises
When you have a hip flexor related injury, incorporating a hip flexor stretch into your treatment plan can reduce muscle tightness and improve your flexibility. Hip flexor exercises like lunges and squats will construct strength in the muscles that support your hips, without placing additional stress on injured areas. This will help prevent another injury down the road and improve your all-around strength in these vulnerable areas of the body.
Compression & Support
You can reduce the swelling and pain caused by a sprain or strain by applying pressure to the surrounding area. Use an elastic bandage or support brace to give your muscles the added assistance they need. Just make sure you're not putting on too much pressure, as that may have negative consequences, such as aggravating your injury. By decreasing swelling and pain in your affected area, you can get back on your feet sooner rather than later!
Massaging the Hip Flexor Muscles
Massages are effective for treating pain in your hip flexor area. Though this is a common friction injury, there’s likely underlying muscle tension that caused it. A massage will loosen up the surrounding tissue, increase blood flow and promote relaxation. If you don’t see any signs of bruising or feel sharp pains while massaging, it’s okay to continue with routine treatments. However, if these symptoms still appear during your treatment, it is recommended to seek the advice of an orthopedic professional as soon as possible.
Over-the-counter pain relievers including Motrin, Advil and Aleve are a type of medication called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that reduce swelling and sharp pain. In addition to reducing hip pain, Tylenol will also reduce headache pain, but in a slightly different manner, since it doesn't work as an NSAID. As a general rule for taking any new drug, you should always check first with your doctor or pharmacist to ensure the drug won't interfere with other prescription medications you may already be taking.
Severe hip flexor injuries will definitely require medical treatment to help you get back on the road to recovery. But for those moderate cases, you might want to consider home remedies before resorting to surgery, because surgery can be expensive!
Here are a few medical treatments that may help you recover if you have moderate to severe hip flexor injuries. Here they are in brief.
Physical therapy can be a great option when recovering from a hip flexor strain. When working with a physical therapist, it's important to create a personalized regimen for the best chance of recovery. This includes making sure your therapist knows about your current lifestyle, whether you have other injuries, and most importantly: your long-term goals and motivation levels! It's also important to note that you should never hesitate to talk to your physical therapist if anything seems uncomfortable. Many therapists will use similar treatments with this type of injury because they're proven to work well. So ask any questions on your mind and have them address any concerns or thoughts so they might help you get what you need out of their services - usually faster, healthier recovery!
When to See a Doctor
Usually, hip flexor pain is resolved with some rest and home remedies shortly after it comes on. If the issue has lasted for close to two months, however, it's time to talk to a doctor who can help distinguish between several conditions that may be a source of pain in your hip flexors and offer you medical advice and treatment options most apt for you.
Here are symptoms you should never avoid, and contact your doctor if you experience them:
- Severe pain in the hip or groin
- Abrupt swelling in the hip or groin
- If you are unable to walk or bear weight on the affected side
- Any signs or symptoms of an infection or broken bones
Hip flexor surgery is typically reserved for the most severe cases in which tendons have been severely bruised from tension, pulling and snapping. Although it may be tempting to avoid surgery and opt for other conservative treatments like rest, ice, physical therapy and painkillers, it’s important to remember that recovery time can be much longer with these treatments. Your surgeon will discuss your options at length and help you decide the best course of action moving forward, ensuring that you have only the highest success rates with a full recovery.
You may need to work with a physical therapist if you decide to get surgery done. Your surgeon will ensure you meet regularly with your therapist during your recovery. Physical therapy helps you regain strength and normal movement again.
Smart Hip Flexor Recovery
The pain in your hip probably means you have an injury to one of your pelvic floor muscles. You need to rest from physical activities and support the healing process with ice and compression, avoid prolonged sitting and sleeping on your back, and engage in therapy like massage or myofascial release. There's a strong chance that these treatments will help you get over the pain, but if it persists for several weeks, it is important to find out what is going on through an examination by a sports medicine doctor. This way, you can address your issue and treat it properly, so you get back to being active again soon!