Hip Flexor Stretching
Hip flexor pain happens to athletes and office workers alike. Whether the cause is overuse or a sedentary lifestyle, you can treat and prevent your hip flexor pain by doing regular strengthening exercises and appropriate stretches. In this article, we tell you all you need to know to get started.
Hip Flexor Exercises and Stretches
Why Hip Flexor Strength and Mobility Are Important
Common Causes of Hip Flexor Pain
General Tips for Avoiding Hip Flexor Pain
When To See A Doctor About Your Hip Pain
Prevent Hip Pain Before It Happens!
The hip flexors are a group of muscles that attach at the femur, the thigh bone, and the lumbar spine or hips. The strongest hip flexor muscle is the iliopsoas. When contracting this muscle, the thigh is brought up toward the torso of the body.
This group of muscles is activated whenever you walk or run. In fact, hip flexor injuries are very common in runners. Usually, a running hip flexor injury happens when increasing your mileage, duration, or intensity by too much. As a result, you may experience pain, increased tightness, and reduced mobility in the front of the hip.
Interestingly, the hip flexors may also become tight from sitting for too long. This means that if you sit and work at a computer all day, you may be more prone to tight hip flexors.
So, what can you do about it?
In this article, we outline hip flexor stretches and exercises, why hip flexor mobility is important, common causes of hip flexor pain, and more!
Looking for a solution to hip flexor pain? Try the Injurymap exercise app now.
Exercise is important. The human body is made to move, and it functions best when you regularly participate in physical activity. The hip flexors are no exception. Through strengthening exercises and appropriate stretches, you can reduce your risk of experiencing hip flexor pain and reduced hip mobility. Here are five great exercises and stretches to get you started.
The hip flexors are crucial when it comes to stabilizing the spine and pelvis. This ensures you can move through a wide range of movements - without injury or pain. It also helps you maintain proper posture. In fact, this is why hip flexor stretching is so important for those who work long hours at a desk.
When sitting all day, the hip flexors become tight and weak. By performing proper stretches and strengthening exercises, you can combat these ill effects, which could mean less pain in the long term.
In addition, these muscles are important for basic mobility movements, including walking, running, and jumping. They provide power, and for most athletes, strong hip flexors can contribute to improved performance. And if restrictions are present in the front of the hip, this may result in lower back pain, knee pain, or even ankle pain.
Hip flexor pain happens due to various reasons. Some of the most common causes of hip flexor pain include:
1. Hip Flexor Strain
A hip flexor strain happens when these muscles are pulled past their normal limits. In turn, they may stretch or tear. Usually, this happens due to overuse or incorrect form during an exercise. For instance, your hip flexors may become strained due to squatting too much weight or using improper form during your squat.
2. Hip Flexor Tendonitis
Tendonitis is when the tendons(the tissue that attaches muscle to bone) becomes inflamed. Like hip flexor strains, this type of injury frequently happens due to overuse. However, it may also arise from poor posture, arthritis, or an incorrect walking gait.
3. Iliopsoas Syndrome
The iliopsoas is actually two muscles, the iliacus and the psoas. This muscle group is the primary hip flexor muscle. They help pull the upper thigh and knee up and support proper spinal alignment.
When these muscles become injured, it is called iliopsoas syndrome. Along with injured muscles, such as a muscle strain, the bursa (a fluid-filled sac that prevents friction in the joint) may also become irritated causing pain. Overuse is also frequently the cause of this type of injury. In particular, running or jumping movements may cause pain in the iliopsoas.
Athletes who perform various jumping or running movements are more at risk of developing hip flexor pain. Thus, it’s important for these individuals to take proper precautions when participating in their sport or activity. Some things to keep in mind include:
- Always perform a proper warm-up, including dynamic stretches like squats and lunges.
- Work on strengthening the hip flexor muscles to avoid injury. This means if you’re a runner, you may benefit from strength training moves that target the hip flexors.
- Always ensure you stretch your hip flexor muscles after your activity or sport. Further, regular stretching can help improve mobility, preventing injury.
- Avoid sitting for long durations. Sitting for long periods of time may result in tight and weak hip flexors, increasing your chances of experiencing injury and pain.
- Be careful when it comes to overtraining. Aim to gradually increase your load, intensity, and frequency. This gives your body the appropriate amount of time and progressive overload to adapt.
Seek out immediate medical attention if your hip pain is accompanied by deformity, an inability to bear weight on your affected leg, inability to move your leg, or sudden swelling. You should also visit your doctor if the pain is severe or if there are obvious signs of an infection, such as a fever.
Take care of your body and proactively plan ahead by preventing injuries before they happen. By improving the strength of your hips and regularly stretching your hip flexors, you can thwart hip flexor pain and continue to enjoy your regular activities.
Are you currently experiencing hip flexor pain? If the pain is not accompanied by the above symptoms and is not severe, simple exercises at home can help you heal and recover. And Injurymap can guide you every step of the way. The Injurymap app creates a customized plan, addressing your specific needs and goals. Take an active approach to your recovery and download the app today!
About the author
Krista Bugden has worked as a Rehab Exercise Expert at a physiotherapist clinic in Ottawa, Canada for the past 4 years. She has an Honours Bachelor Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. She uses her extensive knowledge in this area to educate others through well-researched and informative articles. Her passions include helping others and inspiring each person she meets to get the most out of their life.