Many people pose the question “what exactly are hip flexors used for?” The answer is simple: they allow you to bend at the waist and life your knees. It’s important to know that if you strain these muscles, you can be in severe pain. It can happen very suddenly, and today I’ll talk about the symptoms of hip flexor pain.
It’s a little known fact that these are some of the strongest muscles in the human body, and that they are found buried quite deep in the abdominal cavity.
Every time you sprint (or run very fast) or making a kicking motion, you put a ton of stress on these muscles. You may hear of these exact kinds of injuries among athletes. In fact, soccer and hockey players are the most prone to having issues with their hip flexors. Anyone who runs constantly has a chance of having this happen as well. If you experience pain, you will usually feel this in the upper groin, close to your pelvis.
How to Avoid Hip Flexor Pain
You’ll want to pay attention to how these muscles feel if you want to truly avoid pain. When you are sitting down, you’ll find that your knees are often bending and your hip muscles are flexed and tight, causing the muscle to become shorter. Whenever a sudden movement is made (perhaps you run to the phone, get the door, or just have to go to the bathroom urgently) you can cause stress on the muscle because at this point you extend the muscle in a rapid manner. This isn’t good, obviously.
Sometimes you’ll even hear a “clicking noise.” This isn’t always due to hip flexor injuries, but it can be.
Avoiding strain on these muscles is as simple as doing the following:
- Stretch before any activity that causes stress on the muscle
- Do long stretches and hold them rather than rushing them
- Think quality over quantity when performing stretches
If you do these regularly, you’ll avoid pain. These simple exercises can help strengthen your abdominals at the same time.
Basic Exercises to Stretch Your Hip Flexors
To elaborate, here are two simple exercises anyone can do. These were introduced to me through the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons.
- Sit in a chair (back straight) and hold the side to keep your balance. Stretch out one leg so it’s parallel to the floor while the other leg is firm on the floor. Raise your leg so it’s even with the height of your waist. Move it up and down to the starting position and perform this about 15 times. Repeat with your opposite leg.
- When you are in a standing position, raise a knee until it reaches your chest (or as high as you can lift it) like you are in a marching band. Then, bring your leg down and place it in the starting position. Repeat 5-10 times and switch knees.
I’ve also benefited greatly from this amazing program that will help you “unlock” your hip flexors. Check it out here.
Here is How to Reduce Hip Flexor Pain
- Don’t sit for a long period of time. If you sit at work or for other reasons, get up as much as you can and walk, even if for two minutes.
- Warm up before you exercise. Always.
- Increase your muscle mass and strength by exercising routinely.
When you warm up, stretch, and then exercise, you’ll be on your way to being a lot more flexible and therefore avoid the possibility of joint pain.