Your hip flexors, a group of muscles toward the front of the hip, allow you to move and flex your legs and knees up towards the body. They help you bend at the waist, lift your knees, and do activities such as sprinting, kicking, or changing direction when running or moving. In fact, they are some of the strongest muscles in the body.
This vital muscle group can experience stress from athletic use and be strained by not stretching and warming up the muscles or even through trauma and falling. Even prolonged periods of sitting can cause pain and feelings of tightness in the front of the hip. If you are experiencing any hip flexor pain and strain, here are five of the best ways to treat it.
When it comes to reducing hip flexor pain, stretching and increasing flexibility are some of the most important things we can do. According to physical therapists, losing our flexibility in that area puts a tremendous amount of stress on the joint. The more flexibility you lose, the more pain you experience, and so on.
Some simple exercises to stretch, strengthen, and increase flexibility in these areas include side-lying stretch, standing quad stretch, half-kneeling hip flexor stretch, hip flexor bed stretch, and, of course, yoga.
It’s imperative to stretch before exercising to reduce tightness, pain, and the potential for injury.
There are various hip-strengthening stretches that can be performed daily to strengthen the hip flexor, increase flexibility, and reduce pain. Some of the best exercises for reducing hip flexor pain and preventing injury include:
Bodyweight Glute Bridge
This simple exercise stretches the hip flexors and strengthens them through movement and flexion. Plus, it strengthens your glutes (an area that tight hip flexors can weaken).
Exercises such as standing hip extensions, standing hip abductions, and lateral leg raises will also strengthen your hip, promote balance, and lightly stretch the muscles. These exercises should be done on a regular basis to treat pain and prevent future muscle strain.
Similar to stretching, foam rolling warms up the muscles and encourages overactive muscles to relax. But the benefits don’t stop there. Foam rolling has been proven to alleviate soreness, promote whole-body relaxation, reduce inflammation, speed-up muscle repair, increase mobility, alleviate tightness and tension, and more.
- To roll out your hip flexors, begin on the floor in a forearm plank position and place the foam roller comfortably underneath your left hip flexor and bend your right leg out to the side.
- Using your forearms to stabilize you, begin rolling out your hip flexor. Going up and down, side to side.
- Go slowly, breathe into the tight areas.
- Switch and repeat on the other side.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapy is a common treatment for hip flexor pain and can be done back to back, or you can opt for only hot or cold therapy. To enjoy the benefits of both, begin with cold therapy to reduce swelling and pain. After the initial swelling and inflammation have gone, using a heating pad or taking a hot shower will stimulate blood flow and promote healing.
Believe it or not, resting your hip flexors is one of the best ways to reduce pain and boost recovery. This is especially important for those who have injured or strained their hip flexor during sports or exercise. If you have strained your hip flexors and still want to remain active, participating in low-impact activities like swimming is a perfect option.