Hip flexor pain can be the result of a muscle strain or soreness caused by too much activity without enough stretching. Any activity that involves bending or rotating at the hip can cause or contribute to hip flexor pain, including running, soccer, cycling, and hiking. When hip flexor pain does occur, you can take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to relieve some discomfort and help reduce swelling. If you want to avoid medication or supplement it with other methods, consider these comfortable ways to treat hip flexor pain:
Hip flexor pain can be caused by tightness in the muscles surrounding the hip joint. Try these simple exercises to help elongate tight muscles and reduce soreness:
- Standing lunge - Take one large step forward and stand with one leg in front of the other in a lunge position. Keeping your back leg straight, bend your front knee and lower your body until you feel resistance in the hip flexor in the back leg. Sink as low as you can, without allowing the front knee to extend past the toe, to lengthen the hip flexors and tilt your pelvis forward to deepen the stretch.
- Kneeling lunge - This is similar to the standing lunge but enables a deeper stretch. Start in a kneeling position with one knee on the ground and the other foot flat on the floor with the knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly walk your front foot forward to widen the angle of the back knee while keeping the front knee at 90 degrees. Keep your shoulders above your hips to maintain length in the hip flexors.
- Pigeon pose - Start on your hands and knees with your back flat. Bring the right knee forward to the floor between your hands and shift your right foot several inches to the left. Slide your left leg back to bring your hips as low to the floor as possible. Push your hands into the floor to keep your shoulders above the hips and elongate the hip flexors. Repeat on the other side.
Cold and Compression Therapy
Therapeutic cold can help reduce hip flexor pain by temporarily numbing nerve endings and reducing inflammation in the muscles and other tissues surrounding the joint. Active compression will also help reduce swelling and enhances the benefits of cold therapy when applied at the same time. Because the hip flexor is a difficult area to wrap with a compression bandage or cold pack, consider using a cold therapy device that comes with wraps specially designed to conform to the hip in order to get maximum coverage.
Therapeutic heat can also help relieve hip flexor pain and make you more comfortable. While it’s not a good idea to apply heat immediately after an injury, after a few days you can alternate heat therapy and cold therapy to increase blood flow to the area and alleviate discomfort. Heat can also help loosen up the tight muscles that contribute to soreness.
Your hip flexors remain contracted while in a seated position, which can contribute to pain if you have tightness or soreness in these muscles. If your work requires you to sit for long periods of time, consider using a standing desk or take periodic breaks to walk around and stretch to avoid staying seated for too long.
You can help avoid hip flexor pain by warming up and stretching before physical activity. Include warm-up exercises that allow you to bend and rotate the hip joints. If you do suffer a hip flexor injury and want to get the full benefits of cold and compression therapy, ask your doctor about Game Ready or find a provider near you.