What is a Hip Strain?

Hip strains are an injury to the muscles that support the hip joint. These injuries occur when the joint is stretched too far beyond its capacity. When this occurs, the muscle can tear. There are different levels to hip strains: mild, moderate, or severe. During a hip strain, the muscle or tendon can simply be stretched, resulting in a partial or complete tear in the area. The muscle, tendon, or both can be torn resulting in a strain.

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The large bones of the hip are the femur, also known as the thigh bone, and the pelvis. These two bones work to support the muscles of the joint. The muscles include hip flexors, glutes, hip abductors, adductors, quadriceps, and hamstrings. In the event of a hip strain, the lower abdominal muscles are damaged as well as the hip flexor muscles. A hip strain may also involve the injuring of tendons, which are strong tissues that connect the muscles to the bones in the joint.

Signs & Symptoms

There are a number of signs and symptoms and hip strains. Differing in each patient, the signs and symptoms are specific. One may experience increased pain or consistent pain when using the muscle in various forms of physical activity, especially those that require movement of the hip. One may also experience inability to move the joint at all or limited range of motion. Muscle weakness is another common symptom as well as swelling or discoloration of the area.

Causes of Hip Strains

The causes of hip strains can vary, especially depending on severity. A hip strain can result from something as simple as a slight fall or trip, over stretching, or even a hard hit during a high contact sport. They can be caused by too much dependency on the hip joint or by overbearing excessive amounts of weight. Everyday tasks, sports activities, or even past injuries are leading causes of hip strains. If a hip has been strained in the past, it is more common than not that it can be reinjured quite easily.

Exercises for Hip Strains

Many exercises will be recommended to heal a hip strain. The pelvic tilt is performed when lying on the back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. One leg must be lifted and then lowered in a marching manner. Scissors are another effective exercise, where the patient will lie on their back with their knees bent at a right angle. The patient will straighten one leg at a time and then switch legs consistently. The hamstring stretch is another exercise that is performed lying on the back with the legs straight in front. The patient will grab one leg at a time and stretch it toward the body until a stretch sensation is felt. Finally, a hip flexor stretch, or lunge, is effective. The patient will rest their weight on one knee with the other knee bent and the foot on the floor. The patient will lean forward with their hips to feel the stretch.

Hip Strain Prevention Methods

Many prevention strategies for hip strains can be effective when practiced regularly. First, maintaining a healthy weight can help ensure that the hip does not bear a dangerous amount of weight. Also, stretching daily can increase flexibility of the joint, reducing risk of strain. Warming up and cooling down before and after physical activity can also help to protect the joint. Regular exercising can help to maintain movement of the area, thus allowing for constant range of motion and eliminating any stiffness or weakness in the area. During physical activity, it is also important for individuals to wear proper footwear. Poor footwear can contribute to falls, sprains, strains, and even stress on the hip, for the footwear may not be able to properly support the physical motions.

Treatment Options

There are many treatment options that can contribute to the healing of a hip strain. First and foremost, one experiencing symptoms of the condition must see a doctor. During the visit, the doctor will provide a physical examination, where he or she will assess the leg and hip for complications and symptoms. They will also move the area in a bunch of ways to assess the problem. X-rays are another technique used to assess the problem and a successful start to hip strain treatment. In this image testing, the bone structure and stress on the area can be viewed closely to confirm diagnosis.

Non-surgical treatments can also be effective in treating hip strains. Heat and ice therapy work to reduce swelling and pain. Ice should always be used during the first three days and should then be switched to heat. This will also improve the range of motion of the joint.

Some exercises can be performed as home remedies to treat the problem. By performing these motions consistently, patients can increase strength in supporting hip muscles and get the joint back to regular function. Rest can also serve as an at home remedy, for weight bearing can further damage the joint in the first few days. Compression is another effective remedy to prevent further swelling, so it is suggested to wrap the area in a compression bandage. Finally, elevating the area as frequently as possible can assist in healing. It is important to always raise the leg higher than your heart. Oftentimes, a healthcare provider will suggest taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen to help decrease swelling and eliminate pain in the joint.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy treatment options are one of the most common and most successful forms of treatment for hip strains, for they help to improve strength, motion, and flexibility of the affected area. Physical therapy may be administered for up to several weeks or months, depending on the severity of the injury. During physical therapy, the therapist will ensure that the joint is being used, strengthened, stretched, and supported through a number of repeated exercises to heal the problem. In repeating these exercises, your joint will eventually regain the strength needed to return to its normal function.

For more information about hip strain treatment in Long Island, contact Hicksville Physical Therapy today.

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