Hip Abductors & Flexor Strain Treatment

Hip abductor and flexor strains occur when the muscle or tendon of the hip is stretched or torn due to overuse during exercise or sports. Often these injuries require several weeks of rest, therapy and medications to ensure the strain has been completely healed before returning to physical activity.

Hip abductor and flexor strains occur due to overuse during exercise or sports. (Image: ipag/iStock/Getty Images)

Anatomy of the Hip

The hip is a ball and socket joint that connects the femur or thigh bone to the pelvis socket. This joint allows for movement of the leg. The hip joint is made of several parts, including the Greater Trochanter and the Lesser Trochanter. The Greater Trochanter is the point where many of the muscles from the buttocks meet and allow for hip abduction or movement from side to side. The Lesser Trochanter is the point where the iliopsoas muscle attaches to the hip joint and allows forward movement of the leg, otherwise known as hip flexion.

Cause of Injuries

According to MayoClinic.com, hip strain on the abductors and flexor joints have two main causes. The first and less common reason for the strain is structural abnormalities of the hip. The second and more common reason for hip strain is repetitive physical activity, such as running and jumping .These types of injuries are most commonly found in people who participate in activities such as soccer, basketball, football, golf and ballet.

Types of Treatment

According to Dr. Cathy Fieseler from Running Times Magazine, there are several types of treatment for a strained hip flexor or abductor. You should apply ice several times a day to reduce swelling. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce inflammation in the joint. Resting the injured area either by doing no physical activity or changing to an alternate activity that will not affect the hip, such as swimming, is also recommended. You can also receive physical therapy to rehabilitate the hip. Check with your doctor about what is the right course of action for your injury.

Time Frame of Treatment

According to Cori Thompson, MS, ATC, CSCS, NASM-PES, the healing process happens in three stages. These stages are the acute inflammatory stage, the intermediate repair stage and the advanced remodeling stage. It is important to complete all three stages before returning to regular activity. According to Kapi'olani Orthopaedic Associates, before returning to normal activity you should regain full range of motion and be able to jog, sprint and jump on your injured leg without pain. Every person heals at a different rate, Always have the clearance from your doctor before returning to regular activities.

Prevention Of Future Injury

Once your hip abductor or flexor has healed, it is important to prevent future injury. Kapi'olani Orthopaedic Associates recommends always warming up and doing stretching exercises before starting your activity. Often physical therapy strengthens your hip muscles and helps to prevent injury. Talk to your doctor about other exercises that you can do to strengthen the hip area.

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