A hip strain occurs once one of the muscles that support the hip joint is stretched beyond its limit or even torn. Remember that strains can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the severity of the injury. A severe case will limit the ability of the individual to move the hip.
Anyone can experience a hip strain while engaging in daily tasks but most cases often occur during sports. Even though most cases of hip strains typically improve with simple measures at home, severe cases would require physical therapy or other forms of medical treatment. You can learn how to manage a minor hip strain by enrolling in a first aid course today.
How hip strain occurs
When hip strain occurs, the muscles and tendons are likely to be injured. The strain typically occurs close to the area where the muscle adjoins the connective tissue of the tendon. The strain can be a minor stretch in the muscle or tendon or a partial or full tear of the muscle fibers or a combination of both muscles and tendons.
Once the muscle is injured, it is at risk for re-injury. Constant strains in the hip and pelvis might be linked with sports hernia which is a tear or strain of any soft tissue in the groin area or lower abdomen.
A hip strain can be considered as an acute injury which occurs abruptly due to a fall or direct blow. The injury can also be caused by overuse in which the muscle or tendon progressively weakens over time due to repetitive movements.
There are also factors that put an individual at higher risk for hip strain which includes muscle tightness, previous injury in the same area as well as lack of warm up before exercising and abrupt increase in the intensity while exercising.
Symptoms of a hip strain
- Pain and tenderness in the affected area
- Muscle weakness
- Limited range of motion
Management of a hip strain
Most cases of hip strains tend to improve with simple measures that can be done at home. A mild hip strain can be managed with the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation).
The individual should avoid activities that add weight on the hip for the first few days after the injury. You must apply an ice pack on the injury site to minimize the swelling at least 20 minutes at a time several times in a day. The area should be wrapped with a soft bandage and then rest the leg in a position higher than the level of the heart.
Additionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen and ibuprofen can be given to minimize the pain and swelling. In case pain persists or the individual finds it difficult to move the leg or hip, a doctor should be consulted.