Monday, November 11, 2013

Hip Flexor Pain, Injury and Stretch

Hip Flexor Pain and Cause of Injury

Do You ever experience pain in the groin, or front of the hip?

You may have a pain on the front of the hip that increases when you get up from a seated position.

You may have experienced pain out on the dance floor, twisting and gyrating the hips and body in varied directions.

If you are training for a sport, have you been sidelined with that non-stop pain that prevents a full stride, makes it difficult to drive the knee forward as you would if running hills or stairs

The Hip Flexor May be the Culprit

The hip flexors are an important muscle group responsible for movement action at the hip and trunk. Together, the hip flexor muscles are involved in every day activities of walking, running, or going up stairs. The anatomical positioning of the hip flexor muscles has influence of postural positioning, fluidity of movement, and strength and power. Injury of hip flexors can result from overuse, acute injury and chronic postural imbalances. You do not have to be a sprinter, or dancer to sustain injury to the hip flexor muscle group.

Hip Flexor Anatomy

Hip Flexor Anatomy

The hip flexor muscles primarily consist of the iliopsoas muscle, which are made up of the psoas major, psoas minor, and iliacus.

The secondary muscles essential in flexing the hip in order of importance include the rectus femoris, and sartorius, followed by the TFL, adductor longus/brevis, and gracilis muscles.

The Cause of Hip Flexor Injury

Tight hip flexors can be commonly seen in those who excessively and repetitively flex their hips, such as runners and soccer players. Hip flexor tightness can also cause weakness of the primary hip extensors since the gluteal muscles will be placed in a lengthened position resulting in minimized force contraction capabilities.

The Lower Crossed Syndrome (see below image) references the result of muscular imbalances of the lower trunk that influence shortening and lengthening of the abdominals, back muscles, posterior hip and anterior hip.

It is also commonly seen in individuals who sit for extended periods of time as well since it places the muscle in a shortened position leading to muscle contracture. The result is a hypertonic, short muscle that is susceptible to muscular strain and injury.

Lower Crossed Syndrome
Another issue that may arise from tight hip flexors is low back pain. Tight hip flexors result in an increased anterior pelvic tilt position, which increases the lordotic curve in the low back, and resulting in low back pain. An increased lordotic curve will also cause the curvature of the entire spine to increase as well leading to forward head posture and increase curvature in the mid back.

A combination of weak abdominals and tight hip flexors will also accentuate low back pain. Therefore a combination of stretching of the hip flexors and strengthening of your abdominals as well as core muscles are essential treatment options.

* It is important to note that anterior hip pain can be the cause of other problems resulting from joint, nervous system or internal organs. It is essential that one consult a medical doctor with pain that does not change, or go away. Proper diagnosis of injury allows for proper treatment.

How to Stretch a Hip Flexor

There are specific exercises that are used to effectively stretch and improve mobility of the hip flexor.

Please click here to view a video highlighting hip flexor tightness, testing and specific stretching.

+Bauer Physical Therapy  would like to thank +Peter Paik for the presenting this post and video on The Hip Flexor Pain and Cause of Injury with his overview on stretching the tight hip flexor.


+Lauren Bertolacci of laurensfitness.com  )

+Jimson Lee of )

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