Hip flexor strains often occur during sprinting, kicking activities or an increase in training (ie. running). Strains occur due to a sudden contraction of the hip flexor muscle or overusing the muscle without proper stretching or rest.
Reduce Hip Flexor Strains
Warm up: Always ensure you have a proper warm-up prior to your activity, especially as it gets colder in the season.
Dynamic Stretch: In addition to the warm-up, it is ideal to include a dynamic stretch, which means you are moving while you stretch rather than holding the stretch. Dynamic stretching is important to activate and increase flexibility to the muscles you will be using.
a. Jog with high knees
b. Jog with butt kicks
c. High kicks
d. Lunge with twist
Static Stretch: Post-workout, always stretch out the muscles that have been activated during the activity or workout. Hold the stretch for approximately 30 seconds on each side. Ensure to stretch the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and piriformis.
Still Having Hip Flexor Pain or Tightness?
Try this active soft tissue release at home:
- Lay on your bed and have your leg hang off the side.
- Place a pressure point ball (ie. lacrosse ball) on the sore part of the hip flexor and apply light pressure on the ball.
- Lift and lower the leg five times while always applying pressure on the ball.
This should only produce discomfort, no pain!
Pain Not Resolving?
There is a good possibility that there is a pelvic dysfunction that needs to be addressed by a professional. As the hip flexor, known as the Iliopsoas, actually originates in the lower back, it is imperative to take care of hip flexor soreness early to avoid lower back pain and other pelvic issues.
If the pelvis is not properly aligned, it can continually pull on the hip flexor, which would need correcting for you to see benefits with stretching and strengthening.
For hip pain, alignment issues, or any other pain, make sure to see an Athletic Therapist for an assessment.