The hip flexor is one of the large hip muscles responsible for significant leg movement, including lifting your thigh. When you strain these hip muscles, they might tear, causing pain, or they could rupture, causing severe pain and impaired movement. Several sports can lead to this type of injury, from soccer to football. However, you can heal these strained muscles by being patient with your body and utilizing common sense.
Hip Flexor Strain
Hip flexor strains cause pain in the front of your hip, as well as close to your hip bone if you've injured the tendon. These injuries can also cause muscle cramps, swelling, bruising and stiffness after period of not moving, such as in the morning.
Rest Your Hip Muscles
Rest your hip muscles following an injury. Do not run, lift your thigh up high or kick. Do not perform any activity that causes pain in your leg. For the first couple of days, keep with your feet elevated to relieve pain and inflammation from your hip flexor strain.
Other Home Remedies
Ice your injured hip muscles to relieve pain and reduce swelling for the first few days after injury. The ice will slow the bleeding of torn muscle fibers and prevent more swelling, according to the Mayo Clinic. Ice every two to three hours for three days.
Wrap your ice pack with a towel to keep it from touching your skin.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to make the healing process easier to deal with. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can reduce inflammation and ease pain, says the Mayo Clinic, which can make the process of allowing your hip flexor strain to heal faster and with less discomfort. Check with your doctor to make sure these medications are safe for you.
If your hip is swollen, elevate the leg above the heart whenever you lie down. You can also wrap your hip with an elastic compression bandage. Don't wrap too tightly — this can restrict blood flow to your leg.
Stretch Your Muscles
Perform hip flexor stretches to gently return flexibility to the area and to ease discomfort from your hip flexor strain. Kneel on one knee with your other leg in front of you and your foot flat on the ground. Your front knee should make a 90-degree angle.
Push forward with your hips as though you were trying to stretch your back leg down to the ground. Lean back with your shoulders. Repeat at least three times on both legs.
Perform a quadriceps stretch to relieve tension in your thighs and to loosen your hip flexors. Stand on your left leg, and bend your right leg back so that you can grasp your ankle in your right hand. Pull it up toward your butt but no so far that it strains your knee.
Hold for 20 to 30 seconds; then return to the starting position. Repeat at least three times on each leg.
Read more: Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises
See a Doctor
Hip flexor pain can also be a sign of a muscle or tendon tear. In some cases, these injuries can require surgery. See a doctor if your hip flexor pain is not improving within a few days.
If your pain is severe, consult with your doctor or physical therapist. She can diagnose the injury and may prescribe a prescription-strength pain reliever.