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Pain when lifting leg from hip: Symptoms, recovery time, treatment, and more


Symptoms, recovery time, treatment, and more

Hip flexor strain can occur when the hip flexor muscles are pulled, strained, torn, or injured. Many activities may cause the condition and symptoms can include sharp pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

The hip flexors connect the top of the femur, which is the largest bone in the body, to the lower back, hips, and groin. There are various hip flexor muscles that all work to enable a person to move.

They include:

  • the iliacus and psoas major muscles that are also referred to as iliopsoas
  • the rectus femoris, which is part of a person’s quadriceps

Overuse or overstretching of these muscles and tendons can result in injury, accompanying pain, and reduced mobility.

Damage to the hip area can vary from minor injuries that require little treatment to more severe injuries that result in the muscles disconnecting from the bone. The most serious hip flexor injuries are third-degree sprains where the bone breaks alongside the muscle sprain.

Many people who experience hip flexor strain will have these symptoms as well:

  • sudden, sharp pain in the hip or pelvis after trauma to the area
  • pain when lifting the leg
  • cramping, stiffness, and weakness in the muscles of the upper leg area
  • swelling
  • muscle spasms in the hip or thighs
  • inability to continue kicking, jumping, or sprinting
  • reduced mobility and discomfort when moving, including limping

Hip exercises can help strengthen the hip flexor muscles. Most exercises can be done at home and are gentle stretches, which will help to reduce tension and prevent further or future injury.

In addition to exercises that can be done at home, gentle swimming and cycling can be beneficial for improving strength and preventing hip flexor strain.

Warming up muscles before beginning exercises will help to ensure they are ready to be stretched and may prevent further straining.

Applying heat to the area and going for a gentle walk for a few minutes are ideal ways to warm up before beginning the stretches.

The following stretches can help to:

  • reduce tightness
  • increase flexibility
  • strengthen muscles
  • prevent injury

Hip flexor stretch

Standing in a wide walking position, a person should put both hands on a firm support in front of them. Lunge forward and bend the front knee. They should push their hips forward while keeping their back straight. Hold for 20­–30 seconds and repeat 5 times.

Seated butterfly stretch

Sitting up straight on the floor, individuals should place the soles of their feet together, letting their knees bend outwards. Their heels should be pulled gently inwards, and their knees should drop farther towards the floor. Hold the stretch for 10­–30 seconds.

Bridge pose

To do this pose, a person should lie on their back with their knees bent and feet on the floor. They should take a deep breath before raising their hips off the floor while squeezing their glutes. Hold for a moment, gently lower, and repeat.


A person should begin by standing straight with their feet together. They will take a step forward with their right foot, bending their knee and transferring their weight onto that leg before lowering their hips to the floor and holding the position. This should then be repeated on the other side.

Hip flexion

Individuals should start by lying flat on their back with their legs straight. They will slowly pull the knee of their right leg towards their chest, as close as possible without straining. After slowly lowering the leg, repeat the same on the opposite side.

Supine hip extension

Lie on a bench facing up. Individuals should make sure their sit bones are on the bottom edge of the bench. Plant one leg on the ground, and then bend the knee of the other leg and lift toward the chest. Take 5 deep breaths, then switch to the other side. Repeat 9 times. Stop if any pain occurs.

For minor hip flexor injuries, some people may not visit their doctor and instead will treat themselves from home.

Some common ways to help treat hip flexor strain are:

  • resting the muscles to help them heal while avoiding activities that could cause further strain
  • wearing a compression wrap around the area, which is available to buy in pharmacies or online
  • applying an ice pack to the affected area, which is available to buy in pharmacies or online
  • applying a heat pack to the affected area, which is available to buy in pharmacies or online
  • a hot shower or bath
  • over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), or naproxen sodium (Aleve)

When taking these medications, it is important to follow the instructions and not use them for more than 10 days.

If the pain persists despite these remedies, a person should make an appointment with their doctor to discuss alternative treatments.


In more severe cases, a doctor will usually recommend an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan to determine whether the bone has been fractured.

When the damage is extensive, a doctor may recommend an individual to contact a physical therapist or undergo surgery to repair the muscle. However, instances of damage this severe are rare.

If hip flexor strain causes a limp or the symptoms do not get better after resting and treating at home for a week, it may be advisable to contact a doctor.

While a mild hip flexor strain can take just a few weeks to heal, it may take more than 6 weeks to recover from a more severe strain.

Hip flexor strains usually happen when a person bends the muscle in an unusual way very quickly. A person’s hip flexors are engaged when they bring their knee up towards their torso.

Hip flexors are put under the most strain during activities such as dancing, martial arts, or running. Athletes who use the hip flexors in their sport and training are more susceptible to hip flexor strain or injury that can cause the muscles to tear.

A person will usually feel a strong “pop” in the anterior hip immediately after the unexpected motion. Pain and swelling usually follow. In sports medicine, it is thought that many hip flexor wounds are associated with hamstring strains.

People who are particularly vulnerable to hip flexor strain, such as athletes or those who regularly participate in vigorous activities that could damage or overstretch the hip flexors, can take precautions to avoid injury.

Ensuring muscles are properly warmed up before taking part in physical activity and doing exercises to strengthen the muscles can help to keep the area flexible and strong as well as reduce the chances of damage occurring.

In addition, eating a balanced diet and maintaining a good weight can help keep the body healthy and reduce stress on the hips.

Hip flexor strain can be painful and uncomfortable, but it is rarely a cause for concern. How long the strain takes to heal will depend on the severity of the injury, but it is usually a few weeks for mild strains and up to 6 weeks for more serious damage.

Resting and stopping activities that might have caused the strain will give a person the best chance to heal and recover quickly.

Understanding Hip Flexor Pain | Sports-health

Hip flexor pain is a common complaint among physically active people, especially runners and soccer and hockey players. The pain occurs at the hip and/or groin and can make everyday activities, such as lifting a leg to tie a shoe and going up or down stairs, more difficult.

The hip flexors are a group of muscles that attach to various points of the spine, pelvis, and femur. They are responsible for bending the torso forward at the hips and moving the legs toward the body.

Symptoms of Hip Flexor Pain

Hip flexor pain may develop gradually or appear following a trauma, such as a fall. Many people with hip flexor pain report one or more of the following:

  • Constant aching pain or discomfort in the groin or hip, even when sitting
  • Decreased range of motion that is especially noticeable when kicking, lunging, running, and bending
  • Tenderness, swelling, and bruising in the upper leg or groin; the affected area may hurt when pressed
  • Muscle spasms and/or cramping in the hip or thigh that are painful and affect movement
  • Weakness in the groin region that may make certain activities, such as kicking, difficult or impossible
  • Change in gait, because of pain, decreased range of motion, and other factors affect walking

Hip flexor pain is typically made worse during certain activities or during specific movements, such as:

  • Prolonged sitting, such as sitting during the day at an office job or a long car trip
  • Going up or down stairs
  • Bending the knee to the chest (for example, to tie a shoe)
  • Bending over to pick something up
  • Pushing off the affected leg to change direction while running or skating

A person does not have to identify with all of these triggers to have hip flexor pain.


Hip Flexor Muscles Anatomy

The hip flexor is not one singular muscle but a group of muscles, including the psoas major, iliacus, rectus femoris, pectineus, and sartorius. (The rectus femoris is also considered a quadricep muscle.) These muscles attach to various points on the spine, pelvis, and femur (thigh bone).

Hip flexors are primarily responsible for bending the torso forward at the hips and moving the leg or knee towards the torso.

In This Article:

  • Understanding Hip Flexor Pain

  • Causes of Hip Flexor Pain

  • Video: Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

How Hip Flexor Pain Develops

Hip flexor pain may develop because of:

  • A tear or strain caused by a hip flexor moving beyond its normal range of motion
  • Chronic irritation of the hip flexor tendons, which can lead to tendon inflammation and/or damage
  • Problems in the hip joint, such as hip impingement, that cause the hip flexor muscles to reflexively tense up (tighten) in order to protect themselves from damage

People often experience 2 or 3 of these problems at once. For example, a problem in the hip joint may cause a hip flexor muscle to tighten, putting it at high risk of tendonitis and tearing.


Getting a Diagnosis for Hip Flexor Pain

Ultimately, there are many reasons a person may experience hip flexor pain. A health care professional, such as a physical therapist, physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor (physiatrist), or orthopedic surgeon can accurately diagnose the underlying cause of hip flexor pain.

Dr. Charles Claps is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip and knee conditions and joint replacement at Resurgens Orthopaedics. He is experienced performing total hip replacement and outpatient hip replacement surgery.

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Pain in the thigh closer to the groin

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Causes of pain

Pain between the leg and groin can have different causes. Discomfort in this area occurs genetically, after physical exertion, after injuries. Pain in the thigh indicates a pathology in the internal organs and requires special attention from a medical specialist. Unpleasant sensations have a different nature, duration and intensity, but even with the slightest discomfort, you should contact the clinic

Character of pain

Pain between the leg and groin come on suddenly, have a sharp dagger character, stop after a few minutes and soon increase again. Unpleasant sensations appear in the upper thigh, give to the groin. The patient’s malaise is associated with anatomical or physiological changes in the internal organs

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In the clinic “KDS Clinic” in the shortest possible time, specialists will find out the cause of your ailment and assign an effective affordable treatment. You should not run health to a critical state, since then it will be much more difficult to cure the disease

Causes of pain in the groin

Why does pain in the right groin radiate to the leg? What treatment will be effective, and which specialist should I contact? Many factors could have contributed to the onset of pain. Among them:

  1. Joint injury

    Pain in the right groin radiates to the leg after injury. Damage to the joints is accompanied by cutting pain, which is aggravated by movement, by turning the body, and strongly radiates to the leg. Most often, these symptoms appear in athletes. After heavy physical exertion, muscles and joints are injured, loosened and require long-term treatment. Also associated with this problem are people who work physically. For example, builders.

  2. Injury of the femoral neck

    Pain in the leg in the right groin when falling. In some cases, the injury develops after a sharp and incorrect turn. Also, the femoral neck is damaged in old age. The musculoskeletal system becomes less elastic, the bones are no longer so strong. With menopause, which appears in women after forty-five years, osteoporosis develops in the body. The development of the disease is caused by hormonal changes.

  3. Communicable diseases

    In infectious diseases, leg pain from the groin to the knee is one of the main symptoms. The immune system is significantly weakened, the patient has beriberi, and therefore the joints and bones become fragile, often damaged by infection in the body. Infectious diseases often include endocrinopathy, osteomyelitis, and others.

  4. Arthritis and arthrosis

    Unpleasant pulling pain appears with the development of arthritis and arthrosis. The pain syndrome is especially enhanced when moving, turning and squatting. After several hours of walking, the patient feels severe fatigue, discomfort in the pelvis, which radiate to the groin. The pain manifests itself at any time of the day and intensifies in the absence of treatment and diagnosis.

  5. Inflammatory process in the hip joint

    Inflammatory process in the hip joint causes pain in the groin when walking. The patient also has accompanying symptoms. Among them are fever, weakness, redness of the skin and dizziness.

  6. Injury of the first lumbar vertebral disc

    After a fall or an accident, the patient has an injury to the first lumbar vertebral disc, which leads to severe cutting pains. They are eliminated with the help of painkillers.

  7. Coxarthrosis

    With coxarthrosis, the patient is worried about severe pain in the thigh. It manifests itself with an increase and intensifies with physical exertion. In some cases, painkillers are needed to relieve pain.

  8. Injury to the sacrum

    If the sacrum is injured, pain in the leg in the groin on the right disturbs the patient for several weeks. You need to see a doctor as soon as possible, take a picture and do not self-medicate.

  9. Fluid in the joints

    After an injury, fluid builds up in the joints, which causes pain. In critical cases, the liquid is sucked out to prevent the development of the disease.

  10. Hip sprain

    Athletes are prone to muscle strain, so you should be especially careful with such symptoms in order to prevent the development of the disease.

  11. Bursitis

    With bursitis, a person suffers from severe pain that is aggravated by movement. After a long activity, discomfort appears even in a sitting and lying state.

  12. Vascular problems

    In some cases, pain in the groin when lifting the leg disturbs the patient with problems with the vessels. We are talking about arterial thrombosis in the thigh and groin.

  13. Bruises of the pelvic bones

    If the bones of the pelvis are damaged, the leg hurts from the groin to the knee.

  14. Articular tissue deformity

If the pain in the pelvis that radiates to the groin does not stop after a few days, then you should definitely consult a doctor. In the absence of effective treatment, the disease will develop and negatively affect neighboring organs.

Diagnosis of pain in the leg closer to the groin

Joint pain cannot be ignored. Any discomfort indicates a violation of the functionality of the body and the pathology of internal organs. Contact KDS Clinic. Experienced professionals will help you at any time. The patient is sent for testing, for a comprehensive examination of the body. With such symptoms, the patient should do an x-ray of the joints, ultrasound diagnostics. General analyzes will show the details of the internal indicators of the body. To get a more accurate result, it is worth doing magnetic resonance imaging.

The procedure is prohibited for pregnant women, lactating women and children under sixteen years of age. Please consult with your doctor before the examination.

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running and sitting

The hip joint is one of the largest in the human body. It connects the head of the femur to the acetabulum of the pelvic bone, helps in performing complex leg movements, and provides the function of upright walking. Many people complain that they feel pain in the thigh, which radiates to the joint, groin, buttocks, has an aching or dull character. These symptoms should not be ignored: if your leg hurts in the thigh, the best thing to do is to seek help from a specialist. In this area, important blood vessels and nerve endings are localized, which may be involved in the pathological process.

Pain in the hip joint

  1. Classification

    1. Acute pain in the hip joint
    2. Chronic aching pain in the hip joint
    3. Local and radiating pain
  2. Causes of pain in the hip joint
  3. How to understand what exactly hurts the hip joint
  4. How to get rid of hip pain

    1. Which doctor to go to when your hip hurts
    2. Diagnostics
    3. Treatment Methods
    4. Conservative therapy
    5. Surgery


Pain in the hip joint can have a different character – acute, local, aching chronic. Often there is a pain syndrome radiating to the groin or buttocks. Causes of pain – injuries and diseases, including coxarthrosis, aseptic necrosis, osteoarthritis, lesions of the ligamentous apparatus, pathologies of the lumbar spine, etc.

Acute pain in the hip joint

Acute pain in the hip joints is predominantly short-term, characteristic of damage or rapidly developing diseases. Often it becomes the reason for seeking medical help. If therapy is not started in a timely manner, the pain spreads further and loses its pronounced localization.

Chronic aching pain in the hip joint

Aching pain may accompany an acute pain syndrome or be an independent phenomenon. Often it is characterized by an increasing amplitude, disappearing for a while. As a rule, such pain increases with physical activity, for example, when playing sports, running, long walking.

Over time, it becomes more difficult to move the limb, the range of motion is limited. In especially advanced cases, lameness may develop. Unfortunately, many people prefer to endure chronic aching pain and try to self-medicate. Remember, the best thing you can do to regain your health and freedom of movement is to make an appointment with a specialist.

Local and radiating pain

If a person has pain in the hip joint, it is often accompanied by irradiation, including to the knee joint, inguinal region. A similar pain syndrome can noticeably increase if you lean on an injured limb. Often radiating pain develops with osteoarthritis.

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Causes of pain in the hip joint

Pain in the hip joint can be triggered by various factors and pathologies. We list the main ones:

  • Bursitis (inflammation of the articular bag). May be chronic or acute. It is characterized by severe pain in the affected joint, which does not recede even in the supine position.
  • Coxarthrosis. It is provoked by a violation of metabolic processes in cartilage, which provokes their death. With this pathology, the pain syndrome is felt not only in the region of the femoral joint, but also in the lower back.
  • Arthritis. This is an inflammatory process that occurs due to a malfunction in the process of the immune system. It is characterized by swelling of the affected area, fever, a problem with motor function.
  • Tendinitis is a disease of the tendons that causes pain on movement, as well as articular “clicking”, a change in gait.
  • Osteochondropathy, including Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, characteristic of young patients. The pain syndrome increases gradually and provokes lameness.


The diseases listed above are far from the only causes of pain in the hip joint. Pain syndrome can provoke injuries, benign or malignant neoplasms. Infections should not be ruled out – aseptic necrosis of the femoral head, purulent or tuberculous arthritis.

How to understand that it is the hip joint that hurts

How to understand that the hip joints hurt? Most often, the pain syndrome localized in the thigh does not go away after a few days, you feel constant discomfort and even wake up from it at night. Many patients complain that they are forced to constantly change their position if they are lying or sitting.

Other signs that indicate the possibility of this problem:

  • Pain in the groin. It has a pulsating character.
  • Dull or throbbing pain in the lower back.
  • Pain in the thigh, which radiates to the groin, knee. Often accompanied by weakness or itching in the affected limb.
  • Limited mobility of the upper limb. As a rule, it indicates that rheumatoid arthritis is developing.
  • Lameness due to pain. If you have developed such a condition, immediately seek medical help, because trying to reduce pain, you instinctively hold the diseased joint above the other, resulting in a habit that negatively affects the entire musculoskeletal system.


An important symptom that may indicate the pathology of the hip joint is a characteristic crunch that occurs in motion. If it is accompanied by an increasing pain syndrome, this indicates the presence of pathological changes.

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How to get rid of pain in the hip joint

No matter what the cause of the pain in the hip joint, self-medicate and hope that the problem will disappear on its own. It is necessary to seek help from a qualified traumatologist who will determine the cause of the pain and prescribe conservative or surgical treatment.

Which doctor to go to when the hip hurts

An orthopedic traumatologist specializes in the treatment of pathologies associated with the hip. The Garvis Clinic employs experienced professionals who have extensive positive experience in treating patients suffering from hip pain of various etiologies. They offer only modern diagnostic and treatment methods that will restore your freedom of movement quickly and with minimal trauma.


What should be done if the hip joint hurts? First of all, undergo a thorough diagnosis and determine the cause of the disease. Most often, the specialist prescribes the following examinations:

  • radiography of the hip joint;
  • CT/MRI of the joint and femur;
  • X-ray of the spine;
  • laboratory tests.

Methods of treatment

Methods that help relieve pain can be divided into conservative and surgical. They are united by the fact that they are aimed not only at treating pain, but also at eliminating the main cause of the pathology. Also, therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, physiotherapy, physiotherapy exercises have proven themselves well.

Conservative therapy

Conservative therapy includes pain relief, which is selected for each patient individually. First of all, we are talking about a therapeutic blockade that relieves pain and promotes muscle relaxation, normalization of blood flow.

Also effective:

  • Physiotherapy aimed at restoring muscles, normalizing blood circulation and completely eliminating pain.
  • Therapeutic exercise, which strengthens the muscular-ligamentous structures, prevents the occurrence of discomfort in the limb in the future.
  • Massage and manual therapy – have a beneficial effect on the general condition of the tissues.

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One of the most effective surgical methods that allows you to cope with various pathologies of the hip is arthroscopy of the hip joint. This is a low-traumatic surgical intervention that allows you to accurately determine the main focus of the pathology and get rid of such diseases and injuries:

  • synovitis;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • arthritis;
  • neurosis of the femoral head;
  • snap joint;
  • injuries and complications after previous surgeries.