Hip flexor strain is a common medical condition in older adults and athletes. The condition occurs when there is a tear or stretches in one of the muscles in the hip flexors, which allow the hip joint to remain flexible and stable. The hip flexor is made up of several muscles in the hip, upper groin, and pelvis. The condition leads to pain in the hip and upper groin. Hip flexor strain can be caused by any number of minor to major injuries.
Keep reading to find out how to prevent hip flexor strain and which exercises are the best to relieve symptoms.
How to Prevent Hip Flexor Strain
There are several ways to help prevent hip flexor strain when exercising.
1. Make sure to stretch. Daily stretching is an important step in maintaining muscle elasticity and flexibility. It is even more important to stretch before and after exercising to prevent muscles from clenching up. Stretching also helps to reduce stiffness, which can help you avoid injuries.
2. Use support. Using supportive devices such as braces or support tape can help prevent strain to the muscles.
3. Try different workouts. Alternating between exercises that strain the muscles, aerobic exercises, and low-impact exercises such as yoga can help to prepare the muscles for a variety of movements while decreasing the strain that high-impact exercises like kicking or boxing can have on the muscles.
4. Maintain proper balance. This includes keeping the proper posture when standing and resting, but also during exercise. Consult a physical trainer to learn the correct postures for the exercises you are practicing.
5. Plan resting days. Schedule days in between working out to rest and not exercise. Allowing for the muscles to heal themselves in between sessions of exercise is important to avoid injury.
Exercises for Hip Flexors
Out of all the exercises available, there are some that are specifically beneficial to improving hip flexor strain. These exercises can also be used regularly to help prevent hip flexor strain and maintain strength and flexibility in the hips.
The seated butterfly stretch is exactly what it sounds like. In the sitting position, bring your feet together. With your knees bent out to the side, push your knees downward like butterfly wings. Keep your back straight and engage your abdominal muscles.
Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your knees bent comfortably. Lift your pelvis while engaging your abdomen and glutes, arching your back.
The pigeon pose is a fairly advanced yoga technique, so make sure you are comfortable before attempting the pose. Start in a plank or push-up position. Bring one knee up so that it is on the floor near the opposite hand. Slide the other leg back while lowering your body on top of the bent leg. Repeat with the opposite leg.
Begin from a standing position. Take a large step forward until both knees make 90-degree angles. Do not let your knee touch the ground. Raise back to a standing position and repeat with the other leg.
Straight leg raises
This position involves lying down, similar to the bridge pose, with your arms down at your sides and your knees bent. Straighten one leg and then raise it so it lines up with the bent leg. Engage your abdomen and lower it back to the ground. Repeat with the other leg.
Squats require you to bend your knees, lowering your buttocks while keeping your back straight and chest up. After each squat, you should shift weight onto one leg while raising the other out to the side and then switch.
Wall psoas hold
This position can increase stride and reduce hip flexor strain. From a standing position, bend your knee and raise one leg until it forms a 90-degree angle in front of you, around hip-level. Lower the leg and repeat with the other.
This position requires you to lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs extended. Bring one knee into your stomach or chest and hold it with your hands. Lower the leg and repeat with the other.
Hip flexor stretch
Start in a kneeling lunge position, with one leg knee-bent in front of you and one leg knee-bent behind you. Keep your back straight and lean into the leg in front of you, causing your knee to bend further. Switch legs and repeat.
Using a wall for balance, from a standing position, bend one leg while grabbing your foot behind you and stretching toward your buttocks. Keep your legs close together and be sure to keep your back straight.
In a seated position with your legs extended and using your arms for support behind you. Slide one foot in toward your groin, bringing your knee closer to your chest. Lower the leg and repeat with the other.
Resisted hip flexion
To perform a resisted hip flexion with no equipment, lie on the floor and bring one knee up to your chest, while using your hands to create resistance by pushing it away. Repeat with the other leg.
Hip extension while lying
Lie down near the edge of a surface such as a bed so your legs are dangling off the end. Bring one leg up to your chest, knee-bent and hold onto it. Lower the leg and repeat with the other.
Hip flexor strain is a very common medical condition experienced mainly by older adults and athletes. It can be caused by any number of minor or major injury that results in a strain or tear to the muscles that make up the hip flexors. Symptoms often include pain in the hip, upper groin, and pelvis, and the condition is treatable if you follow these recommendations.