The hip flexor muscles are a group of six muscles located in your hip and upper front of your thigh – a stretch or tear in any of these muscles is considered a pulled hip flexor muscle.
Your hip flexor muscles are responsible for lifting the leg forward, and especially used in sprinting and kicking and cycling motions. A hip flexor strain or pull can be a debilitating injury for athletes. It can occur during a strenuous event, such as a kick or jump or pedaling, or it can be the result of continuous micro-trauma. Often, the tendons that connect your hip flexor muscles to bone will also become inflamed due to overuse and stress, a condition called tendonitis.
Most commonly, muscle strains and tears of all types occur because of what is called an eccentric contraction. Imagine contracting (tensing) your muscle in one direction while simultaneously it is being forced in the opposite direction by some outside stimulus, force, or resistance (e.g., a weight, contact with another player, impact with the ground). If you are lifting your leg vigorously while some outside force is resisting this action, you can end up with a hip flexor strain.
Mild to severe hip flexor strains are extremely common in all sports that involve quick acceleration, kicking, high knee movements – any activity that causes sudden contraction of your hip flexors. Some sports with high hip flexor pull rates include:
- martial arts
- track and field events
- field hockey
For more information on symptoms, treatment for a Hip Flexor Injury and Hip Flexor stretches and exercise, read: