Hip Flexor Pain

While some people find it effortless to lift their legs towards their chest or bend from the hips forward, some experience excruciating pains. This makes exercising extremely painful.

The group of muscles around this area includes the thigh muscles, inner thigh muscles and iliopsoas. It is these muscles that experience excruciating pain, making it difficult to exercise.

The pain is common in people whose ordinary day involves a lot of sitting down with extended hours seated, the hip flexors are shortened. If this sitting position is maintained for a long period, the muscles tighten, making it difficult to stretch them out.

The effects of tight hip flexors include a painful back, hip area and injury during exercises. This results from the excess pressure that is exerted on the area.

This makes kicking, sprinting and any form of stretching extremely painful. Further, a runner may experience a problem if he/she is used to short repetitive stretching.

Even for people who are not athletes, the possibility of flexor pains depends on your daily activities. Even a slip or fall could result in hip flexor muscle pain. An innocent act like rushing to catch the bus could also result in extreme pain.

To keep the muscles fit and also work out the rest of the body without subjecting your muscles to extreme pain, a set of exercises is recommended.

These exercises can be on daily basis or incorporated with others, but targeting the said muscles.

What Issues Can Tight Hip Flexors Cause

  • Nagging joint pains in your legs, lower back or hips
  • Walking with discomfort
  • Hips locking up
  • Bad posture
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sluggishness in day to day life
  • High Anxiety
  • Digestive problems
  • Compromised Immune System
  • Circulatory issues
  • Loss of sexual performance
  • Lack of Explosiveness in the gym or sports

See full list of hip flexor related issues

Marching Pelvic Tilt

At the beginning, you will be lying on your back, bend your knees and ensure that your feet are flat on the ground.

Your buttocks and belly muscles should be tightened and the lower back pressed to the floor, ensuring that your knees are bent, you should lift one leg and then lower it to the ground.

Lift the other leg in alternate motion and lower it back as though you are marching. To achieve maximum impact, try to lift the leg in position for six seconds or more before lowering and raising the other, in repetitions of 8-12 times.

Scissors

This is a fairly simple exercise but with incredible impact on your body. You still begin from a lying position but your knees are at 90 degrees and feet off the ground.

You should hold the back firmly on the floor as well as tighten your buttock and belly muscles. In slow motions, open or straighten one leg and hold the stretched position for approximately six seconds.

Bring the leg back to the starting position and ensure that it is approximately 30 centimetres off the ground. Switch the leg and hold it for another 6 seconds.

When these motions are repeated, you will feel the relaxed tension around the hip area. This will help ease the pain.

Hamstring Stretch

The starting position for this stretch requires you to be lying on your back with one leg stretched out.

Depending on the quality of floor and your body structure, you might need a small towel to absorb the shock on your lower back.

Pick up the affected leg and hold it behind the thigh in a raised up position. Pull the leg towards your chest until the muscles on your thighs begin to stretch.

Maintain that position for up to thirty seconds depending on personal comfort. You may pull the leg more and more as you get comfortable with the current position.

Ensure that you stretch the other leg to avoid an imbalance.

Hip And Quadriceps Stretches

This regime of exercises is completed as you lie on the side. Your good leg should be on the lower side to avoid burdening it with the weight of the body.

Hold the affected leg at the back such that you appear as though you are kneeling on one leg. The other hand should support the head off the ground.

Pull your painful foot towards your buttocks. This will lead to a stretch or pain on the front thigh. This exercise is not recommended for people who experience pain around their knees.

Hold this stretch for intervals of 15 to 30 seconds depending on how your muscles respond.

Hip Flexor Stretch Involving Kneeling

The starting point for this exercise is from a kneeling position on the affected leg, the good leg is placed in front.

If the painful leg experiences discomfort at kneeling position, it is recommended that you use a towel to reduce some discomfort, ensure that the back is straight as you start.

Push the hip forward in a slow motion until there is a stretch on the upper thigh of the back leg. This strain should also be around the hip.

Return to the original position and stretch for 4-5 times before breaking. You may alternate the legs to ensure that both are stretched uniformly.

The extent of stretching and number of repetitions will depend on the ability of your body to endure the stretch.

Hip Flexor Stretch On The Table

As the name suggests, you need to lie on your back on a table or bench to accomplish this exercise.

Allow the good leg to hang off the edge while the painful one is folded and pulled backwards towards your chest. Pull the leg until you feel a stretch on the legs.

Relax the leg after thirty seconds depending on personal endurance. Repeat the motion on the other leg for the sake of balance.

You should expect a stretch behind the thigh, at the hip and the back. The stretches should be repeated several times depending on personal goals and extent of pain.

Treatment For Hip Flexor Pain

Exercise is one of the ways to manage hip flexor pain. You also need to explore the possibility of lifestyle change to avoid extended sitting hours.

Do not overstretch your hips suddenly to avoid injuries on these muscles. Visit a doctor or healthcare provider if the pain does not subside.

Stretching on a regular basis will also help to relieve some hip flexor issues, in some cases, it will even remove the pain from the hip flexors.

There are many ways to stretch and they all have their benefits but the most beneficial for the hip flexors are:

  • PNF Stretching
  • Dynamic Stretching
  • 3-Dimensional Core Stability Exercises
  • Mobility Exercises
  • Fascia Stretching
  • Muscle Activation Movements