Soccer Players: Kick Hip Flexor Pain

Soccer players often experience hip flexor pain, which can occur during a powerful sprint or kick. Learn how to treat the injury and relieve the pain at STACK.com.

If you play soccer or any other sport that involves lots of kicking or sprinting, you may experience hip flexor pain. Located in the front upper thigh, the hip flexors—including the psoas major, psoas minor, iliac us, iliopsoas and sartorial—move your hips forward as you run. Sometimes mistaken for a groin or quadriceps injury, hip flexor strains often occur when the muscles overstretch or tear during a powerful sprint or kick.

Hip Flexor Pain Relief

A hip flexor strain causes pain and tenderness in the hip and thigh. Immediately after the injury, wrap an ice pack in cloth and place it on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes every three or four hours. Ask a licensed health practitioner about medications for pain relief, such as over-the-counter ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).

Recovery Time and Rehabilitation

Don't guess the cause of your upper thigh or hip pain. The sooner you see a licensed health practitioner to diagnose the cause, the sooner you will recover. Hip flexor injuries range from a stretch or minor tear to a complete muscle tear. If you have a severe strain, it may take you six weeks or more to recover.

Your health practitioner will tell you when you can return to the activity that caused the injury. If you return too soon, the pain may return and slow your recovery. When you regain full range of motion and full strength, and can walk without limping, you may be ready to return to normal activity. Your doctor or therapist can recommend rehabilitation exercises to gradually restore strength and flexibility to your hip flexor muscles.

Exercises for Recovery

Hamstring Stretch

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs straight.
  • Hold the back of your injured leg and lift it straight up until you feel a slight stretch in the back of the thigh.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat up to four times.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

  • Kneel and place your uninjured leg in front of you with your foot flat on the floor.
  • Gently push your hips forward, keeping your back straight, until you feel a slight stretch in your upper thigh.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat up to four times.

Quadriceps Stretch

  • Stand at arm's length from a table or wall.
  • Place the hand on your injured side on the table or wall.
  • With your other hand, grasp the top of your ankle on your injured side and slowly pull your foot toward your butt until you feel a slight stretch in the front of your thigh.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat up to four times.

Always warm up for five to 10 minutes before you exercise. Aim for mild stretching and slight discomfort as you exercise during rehabilitation. If you have sharp pain during exercise, stop and talk to your practitioner.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SOCCER | STRETCHING | REHAB | HIP FLEXOR | HEALTH | EXERCISE | RECOVERY | SPRINT | INJURY | RECOVER | REHABILITATION