A hip muscle strain occurs when one of the muscles supporting the hip becomes stretched beyond its limit. This excessive stretching may cause a “muscle strain”, a “muscle tear’, or a “muscle pull”. All three descriptions refer to damage to a muscle or its attaching tendon.
The injury to the hip muscle or muscle tendon may be graded according to the severity:
1st degree - the hip muscle may be sore but there was only mild over-stretching of a muscle.
2nd degree - mild swelling and bruising but possible severe muscle pain and tenderness. Moderate over-stretching of a hip muscle with some tearing of the fibers.
3rd degree - severe pain and swelling. Muscle or tendon is torn all the way through. Muscle is either ripped into two separate pieces or sheared away from the tendon. This can cause a complete loss of function and may require surgery.
Anyone can strain their hip muscles from just daily tasks, but more often they occur during a sports event. A hip strain can occur suddenly during a sports event, or with sudden lifting. The strain can also occur gradually over time due to repetitive motion (such as stair climbing or hiking).
You have a higher chance of experiencing a hip strain if:
A. You have had a prior hip strain or tear.
B. You have muscle tightness.
C. You fail to warm up before an athletic or work event.
D. You attempt to do too much too soon with exercise or work.
Signs and Symptoms of a Hip Muscle Strain or Tear
1. Swelling and bruising (discoloration)
2. Muscle spasms
3. Previous hip strain or tear
4. You can feel point tenderness.
5. Might feel an indentation or bump in the muscle.
6. Pain when that muscle is used.
7. Weakness when that muscle is used.
8. Hearing a “pop” sound when the muscle or tendon is injured.
X-rays may be ordered to make certain a bone fracture did not occur with a strain or tear.
Do You Have a Muscle Strain or Tear? Five Self-Tests You Can Perform.
These tests are not to be used to help you self-diagnose or assess yourself. We highly recommend you see your physician for a professional diagnosis.
1. Test your hip flexors. Sit in a chair. Raise your right knee (like marching) and hold it up. Push down on your thigh and try to continue to hold the right knee in the air. Pain and/or weakness may be noted with a strain or tear. Compare to the left side.
2. Test your hip abductors. Sit in a chair. Spread both knees apart. Using both hands attempt to push both knees together while resisting with the muscles of your leg. Pain and/or weakness may be noted on the leg with a hip strain or tear.
3. Test your hip adductors. Sit in a chair. Squeeze both knees together. Attempt to pull your knees apart while resisting with the hip and thigh muscles. Pain and/or weakness may be noted on the leg with a hip strain or tear.
4. Test your hip extensors. Sit in a chair. Clasp your hands under your right thigh near your knee joint. Attempt to pull the knee up while resisting with the muscles of your leg. Pain and/or weakness may be noted with a strain or tear. Compare to the left side.
5. Use your fingers to feel for point tenderness in the muscles surrounding your hips and in your thigh muscles.
Check out the full Hip Pain Relief Program series of videos along with downloadable guide sheets for each video on our website here: https://www.bobandbrad.com/health-programs/hip-pain-relief-program