A hip flexor strain is a strain of the group of muscles across the anterior aspect (front) of the hip. These muscles are commonly injured in sports such as soccer and football. Often the injury involves a forceful movement in sports or exercise. As with most tendon and muscle strains, the patient can usually recover without surgery. Rest from the offending sport, ice, and physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the area can help the athlete before jogging and a sports-specific functional program are started. Also see rectus femoris strain.

The rectus femoris is the muscle and tendon most often injury in a hip flexor strain. It’s one of the quadriceps muscles of the thigh, and it crosses the hip and knee. It is commonly injured in the front of the hip.

Mechanism of injury

It is a common injury in sports such as soccer and football. Usually it involves a forceful movement such as immediately starting to sprint or forcefully kicking a ball, especially when the athlete’s foot strikes another player while trying to kick.

Man with quadriceps pain after a hip flexor strain

Diagnosis of a hip flexor strain

With a hip flexor strain or tear, the athlete will localize the pain to the front of the hip. An orthopedic surgeon might feel a defect in this area if the patient has a complete tear of the tendon, but a full tear is unusual. More often, the physician will notice pain or weakness with resisted hip flexion or resisted knee extension. X-rays can determine if the athlete pulled a small piece of bone off one of the bones in the hip. Such an injury often occurs in teenage athletes before they finish growing. An MRI will help to confirm which tendon is involved, the extent of injury and how long it might take the athlete to recover and return to sports.

Treatment of a hip flexor tear or strain

As with most tendon and muscle strains, a patient with a hip flexor injury usually will not need surgery. Rest from the offending sport or exercise and ice to the area can help. Working with a physical therapist can help tremendously. Return to sports is likely, but it can take several weeks to a few months to return to full sports and exercise.

Also read:
Hip injury: 7 common causes of hip pain in active people
FAI – Femoroacetabular impingement

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