Beat back pain, hip pain and other joint pains
Tight hip flexors? Beat back pain, hip pain and other joint pains by loosening up your hip flexors. The hip flexors are several muscles that bring your legs and trunk together in a flexion movement. Which means the bending of a particular joint so that the bones that form that joint are pulled closer together. The hip flexors allow you to move your leg or knee up towards your torso, as well as to bend your torso forward at the hip. You can strain or tear your hip flexor muscles through sudden movements or falls.
What the Hip Flexors Do
Hip flexors draw together the bones of the leg and the bones of the hip or spine at the hip joint. If the hip is already flexed, such as when you are sitting, these muscles aren’t working.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to having weak and tight hip flexors as they are always in the shortened position.
Tight hip flexors can lead to a limited range of motion, poor posture, lower back pain, and hip pain, and other joint pains. These muscles need to get a workout when you are standing and doing movements such as raising your leg to climb stairs, run, or ride a bicycle.
Quick Tip to Relax Your Tight Hip Flexors
Hip Flexor Muscles
The muscles that make up the hip flexors include:
- Psoas major muscle: The psoas muscle is a deep muscle that connects your spine to your leg. In fact, it’s the only muscle that does so. It runs from your lower back through your pelvis. Passing to the front of your hip where it attaches to the top of your femur, which is your thigh bone.
- Iliacus muscle: The iliacus is a flat, triangular muscle that lies deep within your pelvis. It attaches from your pelvis to your thigh bone (femur). Its primary action is to flex and rotate your thigh.
- Rectus femoris muscle: This muscle is one of the four quadriceps muscles, attaching your pelvis to the patellar tendon of your knee. Squats and lunges exercise the rectus femoris.
- Pectineus muscle: The pectineus muscle is a flat, quadrangular muscle that lies at the top of your inner thigh. Often referred to as your groin muscle. It’s primarily responsible for hip flexion. It also rotates your thigh and adducts. Which means it pulls your legs together when the muscles contract.
- Sartorius muscle: The sartorius muscle is a long thin muscle that runs down the length of your thigh from your pelvis to your knee. It’s the longest muscle in the human body and helps flex the knee and leg.
Hip Flexor Injuries
You can strain or tear one or more of your hip flexors when you make sudden movements such as changing directions while running or kicking. Sports and athletic activities where this is likely to occur include running, football, soccer, martial arts, dancing, and hockey. In everyday life, you can strain a hip flexor when you slip and fall, for example.
Muscle injury grading systems and classifications are currently in the process of being revamped and studied in order to be more comprehensive so they can include more precise diagnostics. However, the traditional grading system is often still used and includes:
- Grade I (mild): A small tear in your muscle that’s mildly painful and may cause some minor swelling and tenderness. You’re able to continue doing your regular activities, including sports. It may take a couple weeks to fully recover.
- Grade II (moderate): A larger tear in your muscle that makes it difficult to move and causes a moderate amount of pain. Especially when you move the affected muscle. There will be swelling, and tenderness. You may have 5 percent to 50 percent loss of function and you may be limping. You can’t go back to sporting activities until the tear is completely healed. These injuries can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months to heal.
- Grade III (severe): A complete tear in your muscle that causes severe pain and swelling and you can’t bear weight on that leg, making it difficult to walk. You’ve also lost more than 50 percent of your muscle function. These injuries are less common and may need surgery to repair the torn muscle. They can take several months or more to completely heal.
Some risk factors for hip flexor injury are as follows:
- If you’ve had one in the past.
- If you don’t warm up properly before engaging in athletic activity.
- Your muscles are already tight or stiff, or your muscles are weak from being overused.
- Doing too much at once in too short an amount of time, you can also put yourself at risk for a hip flexor injury.
The chief symptom of a strained or torn hip flexor is pain in the area at the front of your hip. Where it meets your thigh. Your experience can vary and may involve:
- Mild pain and pulling
- Cramping and sharp pain and/or severe pain
- Muscle spasms (in the case of a complete tear)
You may feel pain or a pulling sensation when you come up from a squat or when you stand up after sitting. With a complete tear, which isn’t as common as a strain, it may be hard to walk.
Do THIS Before You Squat
Treatment and Prevention
Now that you what the hip flexor do, what they are and some of the injuries and symptoms. It’s time to discuss how to treat and prevent injuries. By loosening up your hip flexors. I recommend reading an artilce written by Mike Westerdal called the “Hidden Survival Muscle”. Mike is a national best-selling fitness author, sports nutrition specialist, personal trainer, Iron Man magazine contributor.
In his article (“Hidden Survival Muscle“) it will reveal 10 key moves you will need to loosen your hip flexors and regain the ability to control your balance and the ability to sit, stand, twist, reach, bend, walk and step without pain.