• Lionel Pannunzio PT / SCS

How To Recover From a Hip Flexor Injury | Weston | Florida


Introduction


Playing soccer puts a high demand on Groin muscle in general and hip flexors in particular.

If you been around soccer for a while I'm pretty sure that You may heard about " I pull my hip flexor " or " hip flexor injuries".

In today's post I will discuss with you, the different type of injuries Soccer Players may have surrounding the front of the hip and more specifically problems associated with the Hip Flexors.



What are the Hip Flexors ?





The Hip flexors are a group of muscles located in the front of the hip joint.

There are two main muscles in this group : The IlioPsoas and the Rectus Femoris. These muscles, when working together, create powerful hip flexion contractions necessary for kicking (shoelaces kick , long balls), sprinting and change of directions .



Hip Flexor Injuries



Location of Hip Flexor injury ( light blue area)



The most common cause of anterior hip pain is IlioPsoas-Related Pain.

The IlioPsoas is a two-part muscle ( Illio and Psoas ) located deep in the anterior hip joint area

The injury of the hip flexors occurs due to excessive strain on these muscles creating a muscle injury than can go from a small microtrauma of the fibers to a complete rupture of the IlioPoas.


What can cause a Hip Flexor Injury?


The most common mechanism of injury are Kicking, sprinting and change of directions.

In my years working with soccer players, these are very common activities or situations that increase the risk for a hip flexor injury:

  • Shooting practices where the player takes multiple kicks or goalie practices where the goalkeeper rehearse goal kicks or punts over an over are very common scenarios for Hip flexor Strains.

  • Overuse or overload from back to back games without proper resting or hip mobility drills to restore proper length of the hip musculature is another cause that predisposes soccer players to this injury. (see my post on hip mobility on how to restore hip mobility after games or practices)



Severity of the Injury and Time for Healing




Hip Flexor Exercises


Restoring the strength of the hip flexor and mobility of the hip is a challenge and you should not return to play without proper treatment because this problem has a high rate of re-injury. Follow the exercises below to start working of these two pillars of a good recovery: movement and strength.

Hip flexor Mobility in Half-Kneeling







Knee to Chest Mobility Work



Setup

Begin lying on your back with your legs straight.

Movement

Using your hands, slowly pull one knee toward your chest until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower back.

Tip

Make sure to keep your back relaxed and flat on the ground during the stretch.




Hip flexor Isometric



Setup

Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet resting on the floor.

Movement

Bend one leg up to a 90 degree angle and place your hand on your knee. Try to bend your leg toward your chest, but resist the movement with your hand.

Tip

Make sure to keep your trunk stiff and do not arch your low back during the exercise.




Hip Flexor Strengthening at 90/90 with Abdominal Bracing



Rationale:

Create a contraction of the Abdominals and Hip Flexors synchronically which will make you more tolerable to Hip Flexor activation to promote healing with less pain.

Setup

Begin lying on your back with your knees bent and feet resting flat on the floor or on the Swiss Ball.

Tighten your abdominals and lift one leg up to a 90 degree angle, then lift your other leg to the same position and hold, keeping your abdominals tight. Then lower each foot in the same order to the Ball or the floor if you don’t have a Ball.





Hip Flexor Strengthening with band



Setup

Begin by lying on your back with your hips and knees bent, and feet resting flat on the floor. Your arms should be flat at your sides, palms facing the ground.

Movement

Lift your legs off the ground to 90 degrees , then slowly straighten the opposite leg holding the involved leg at 90 degrees in an isometric contraction resisting the pull from the band.

Tip

Choose a light band first and Do not allow your back to arch during the exercise.



Conclusion


  • Hip Flexor Injuries are very common in soccer players

  • Follow the progression of exercises listed above in the order presented: first mobility, then isometric contractions , then band workout

  • Soccer players need strong but at the same time mobile Hips.

  • You will feel stronger and quicker once you do these Drills



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