Hip Flexor Pain Causes, Prevention and Treatment Strategies

Hip Flexor Pain: Causes, Prevention and Treatment Strategies
Dr. Garrett Stroup. Physical Therapist in Roseburg Area.


Dr. Garrett C. Stroup

DPT, VRC - Owner and Founder

We help athletes and active adults regain control of their injury without expensive surgeries or medications, so they can keep going.


Hip flexor pain is a common complaint among individuals with active and sedentary lifestyles. It can range from mild discomfort to severe limitation, impacting one’s ability to perform everyday activities.

This blog delves into the causes of hip flexor pain, identifies its symptoms, and provides comprehensive strategies for prevention and treatment, ensuring that you can move freely and without discomfort.

What is Hip Flexor?

The hip flexor is a group of muscles located at the front of your hip joint. These muscles work together to allow you to move your lower body. 

Here’s a breakdown of the key hip flexor muscles:

  • Iliopsoas: This is the primary hip flexor, consisting of two muscles – the psoas major and the iliacus. It originates from your spine and pelvis and inserts into your thigh bone.
  • Rectus femoris: As you mentioned, this muscle plays a dual role. It’s part of the quadriceps group at the front of your thigh and contributes to both hip flexion and knee extension.
  • Sartorius: This is the longest muscle in the body and runs diagonally across the front of your hip and thigh. It assists with hip flexion and rotation.
  • Pectineus: This deep hip muscle lies beneath the iliopsoas and helps with hip flexion and adduction (bringing your leg towards the midline of your body).

These hip flexors are essential for various movements, including:

  • Walking and running
  • Climbing stairs
  • Lunging
  • Kicking a ball

Causes of Hip Flexor Pain

Causes of Hip Flexor Pain

Strains and Injuries

Hip flexor pain often results from strains and injuries when the muscle fibers are torn or stretched too far. Such injuries can result from sudden movements or falls, especially in sports or physical activities that require a lot of jumping or running. Hip flexor strains are the second most common type of hip injury, with a reported prevalence rate of 28.55%, according to a study published in the National Library of Medicine.


Repetitive activities and overuse can also lead to pain in hip flexor. Athletes or individuals with jobs that require a lot of bending and lifting are particularly susceptible to overuse injuries.

Poor Posture and Sedentary Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle and poor posture, especially prolonged sitting, can shorten and tighten the hip flexor muscles. It can lead to pain and discomfort. This is increasingly common in the modern workplace.

Other Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as arthritis or hip joint issues, can manifest as hip flexor pain. It’s important to address these underlying conditions to effectively manage the pain.

Symptoms of Hip Flexor Pain

Pain in the Upper Groin Area

One of the common symptoms of pain in hip flexor is discomfort in the upper groin area, where the thigh meets the pelvis. This is where hip flexor pain is felt and can indicate that there is severe strain or injury in the hip flexor muscles.

Lower Back Pain

Hip flexor pain can also manifest as lower back pain due to the connection of the muscle groups in the lower body.

Limited Range of Motion

If you’re experiencing hip flexor pain, you might find it difficult to lift your knee towards your chest or extend your leg behind you, indicating a loss of mobility.

Muscle Weakness

Ongoing issues with the hip flexor can lead to muscle weakness, making it challenging to perform once easy movements. It may also trigger muscle spasms in the affected area.

Prevention Strategies

Regular Exercise and Stretching

Engaging in regular exercises and stretching that target the hip flexor muscles can help maintain flexibility and prevent pain.

Maintaining Good Posture

Good posture when sitting for extended periods can help prevent the shortening and tightening of hip flexor muscles.

Balanced Diet and Hydration

A balanced diet and adequate hydration are important for muscle health. They can help prevent common injuries and pain in the hip flexor.

Regular Check-ups and Listening to Your Body

Regular medical check-ups and paying attention to what your body is telling you can prevent the progression of pain in hip flexor.

Treatment Strategies

Rest and Recovery

The first and foremost strategy in hip flexor pain treatment is rest and recovery. This doesn’t necessarily mean complete inactivity, which can sometimes lead to stiffness and worsen the pain. Instead, it involves avoiding activities that can cause intense pain, such as running or heavy lifting.

Physical Therapy and Exercises

Physical therapy plays an important role in the rehabilitation of hip flexor pain. Research shows that physical therapy, combined with exercise, has been proven to be highly effective in treating hip discomfort. A physical therapist can design a program tailored specifically to your condition, focusing on exercises that strengthen the hip flexor muscles, improve flexibility, and enhance range of motion. 

Medications and Pain Relievers

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve) can be effective in managing acute pain and inflammation. These medications not only relieve pain but also reduce inflammation, making the recovery process more comfortable. 

When to See a Doctor

When to See a Doctor

While many cases of hip flexor pain can be managed with rest, physical therapy, and over-the-counter medications, there are situations when consulting with a healthcare provider is necessary. If the pain persists despite home treatment, if there is severe pain that interferes with daily activities, or if you experience symptoms such as swelling, redness, and warmth in the hip area, it’s important to seek professional medical advice. 

Experience Relief from Hip Flexor Pain with Oregon Mobile Physical Therapy

Oregon Mobile Physical Therapy offers a personalized and accessible approach to treating hip flexor pain. Their team of experienced therapists specializes in delivering comprehensive care that addresses each patient’s unique needs, ensuring effective relief and recovery from hip flexor discomfort.


Hip flexor pain can be a significant hindrance to daily activities, but understanding its causes, symptoms, and available strategies for prevention and treatment can help manage and overcome this condition. By incorporating regular exercise, maintaining good posture, and seeking appropriate medical care for proper treatment options, individuals can experience relief from hip flexor pain and enjoy a more active, healthy lifestyle.


How long does a hip flexor strain take to heal?

The healing time for a hip flexor strain can vary, typically ranging from a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the injury.

How do I know if I have a hip flexor injury?

Signs of a hip flexor injury include sharp pain in the hip or groin area, swelling, and difficulty moving the leg or hip.

How do I know if my hip pain is muscle or bone?

Muscle pain is often localized and worsens by specific movements, while bone pain might be constant and increase with additional pressure or strenuous activities. Consulting a health care provider is the best way to determine the cause of hip pain.

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