Your hip flexor muscles are responsible for helping you do everything from lift your knee to bend your trunk. They are also heavily relied on during exercise, which is why you run the risk of injuring them due to overuse. Hip flexor tendonitis may result, and can quickly have you sidelined. Knowing what this condition is and how to prevent it will go a long way toward helping you prevent injury.
What Is Hip Flexor Tendonitis?
The psoas and iliacus muscles together form the iliopsoas or inner hip muscle in your hip. The two are attached to the upper thigh with a tendon, which may become irritated or inflamed due to overuse. Since the iliopsoas muscle is constantly being put into motion, there is a high tendency for this to happen. Sometimes referred to as iliopsoas tendonitis, hip flexor tendonitis is common among athletes who participate in running, cycling, or any other sport that involves lots of jumping, kicking, or squatting. Researchers at the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma have also deduced that dancers, soccer players, and football players are susceptible to it as well.
Signs and Symptoms
If you are experiencing hip flexor tendonitis, you may notice one or more of the following:
- A “clicking” noise in the hip when walking
- Tenderness or discomfort in the upper thigh or groin
- Pain that becomes progressively worse with exercise
- Stiffness in the hips, thighs, or buttocks
Should you notice any of the above symptoms, you should stop working out and engage in self-treatment immediately. Performing a strenuous workout might further inflame the muscles and/or tendon; however, becoming sedentary is not recommended either. Instead, you should perform light activity such as walking and avoid high-impact exercises such as running. Listen to your body and back away from any activity that causes you pain. Most people who are experiencing hip flexor tendonitis are able to lift weights without any problem.
In addition to modifying your workout, you may also need to:
- Take over-the-counter medication to help alleviate swelling
- Apply hot or cold therapy
- Wear comfortable shoes with a flat sole and plenty of arch support
Prevention Is Key
A study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine showed that there is a correlation between weak hip flexors and running injuries. When compared to a control group, those with injuries were shown to have weaker hip abductors and hip flexors on their injured side. This study suggests that improving hip strength is needed in order to prevent iliopsoas tendonitis. Performing core workouts designed to strengthen all of the muscles of the pelvis and lower trunk, including your abs, back, glutes, and hip flexors, is also recommended to provide stability for the hip flexor muscles. Maintaining good flexibility and using the proper form when bending or lifting at the waist is a good idea as well.
Hip flexor tendonitis is something people become more susceptible to as they age, but that doesn’t mean that younger athletes should not be concerned about it. Follow these tips for prevention and treatment to ensure this condition does not prevent you from reaching your fitness goals.