Hip Flexor or Hip Bone Pain? When to See an Orthopedic Doctor


Even though it is strong, the hip joint is not indestructible. Cartilage can wear down or get damaged with age and use, muscles and tendons in the Hip can wear out from too much use, and when you fall or get hurt in another way, you can break bones in your Hip. 

In this blog, we will review the hip flexors and their role in the pains you may be struggling with and how important it is to visit an orthopedic physician. Our doctors here at CONA are ready and willing to help you with your hip needs. 

What are Hip Flexors?

Your hip flexors are the muscles that allow you to bring your knee closer to your body and bend at the waist. More specifically, these are the iliacus and psoas muscles, which together are called the iliopsoas. The rectus femoris, which is part of your quadriceps, is also a part of the hip flexor, and these muscles connect to the spine, pelvis, and femur in different places.

Pain in the hip flexors can make it hard to move and walk. Unfortunately, some people don’t know that their hip flexors cause their pain, so their pain often goes undiagnosed and untreated.

People who understand sore hip flexors and the symptoms that come with them are more likely to go to the doctor and get the proper treatment to feel better. So let’s review these symptoms next!

Symptoms of Hip Flexor Pain

The signs of hip flexor pain can be different for each person. There are a few other signs that you may have injured your hip flexor, which include:

  • Aching at the muscle site – This can be a constant aching pain or general discomfort in the groin or hip area and can be present even when someone is resting or sitting down.
  • Tenderness, swelling, or bruising – If you press on your upper leg or groin and feel pain, swelling, or bruises, it could be because of hip flexor pain.
  • Less range of motion – People with hip flexor pain often feel like they can’t kick, run, or bend as far as they used to
  • Cramping or muscle spasms – Feelings like this in the Hip or thigh area make it hard to move. These could be signs that your hip flexor is injured.
  • Feel weakness in the groin – It may be hard for you to walk or kick your legs.

Common Hip Flexor Injuries

When the hip flexor muscles and tendons are overused, it can cause an injury. Hip flexor pain is more common in people who bike, dance, or play sports. Some common injuries to the hip flexor are reviewed below.

Hip Flexor Strain

Hip flexor strains happen when the hip muscles bend or tear. Depending on how bad they are, tears are divided into three grades:

  • Grade I: Mild stretching and tiny tears in the muscle fibers that cause a little bit of pain. The Hip continues to function as it should
  • Grade II: Muscle fibers are slightly stretched and torn, which is painful. From time to time, the Hip may give out when standing or walking.
  • Grade III: All of the muscle fibers are torn or broken. The Hip can no longer hold the weight.

Most hip sprains start with a small tear that gets bigger over time as the Hip is used repeatedly. Because the Hip is overused in sports like cycling, running, swimming, baseball, and golf, these types of tears happen often. Grade I and Grade II strains can be treated well with rest and other non-invasive methods if caught early. However, a Grade III strain is one of the worst hip injuries.

Hip Flexor Tendinitis

Hip tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon, a thick cord connecting muscles to bone. Hip tendonitis is often caused by overuse, just like strains. Tendonitis usually affects the same people as strains do: athletes who cycle, swim, run, and do other sports that stress the Hip over and over again. Tendon inflammation can also be caused by high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and other activities with a lot of kicking, squatting, and jumping.

Iliopsoas Syndrome a.k.a. Psoas Syndrome

When the iliopsoas muscles are hurt, this condition, also called psoas syndrome or iliopsoas tendonitis, happens. Most people feel pain in their lower back, but pain can also occur in their Hip, thigh, or leg. 

The psoas muscle and the iliacus muscle make up the iliopsoas muscles. They are near the front of the inner Hip. The psoas muscle, in particular, is in the lower part of the spine and goes from the pelvis to the thighbone. The iliopsoas muscles are the main ones that bend the Hip, and when they contract, they lift the knee off the ground.

Because of how close the two structures are to each other, the iliopsoas bursa, a fluid-filled sac inside the Hip that reduces rubbing and friction, is also likely to become inflamed. When this happens, the bursae will become swollen, making it hard to move.

When Should I see an Orthopedic Doctor for my Hip?

If your hip pain isn’t too bad, you might not need to see a doctor. You can try these things at home to help with your pain:

  • Rest
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Ice or heat

However, if these self-care treatments don’t help, making an orthopedic appointment is essential.

You must seek immediate orthopedic care if your hip pain is severe and comes with the following:

  • Your hip joint appears deformed
  • You are unable to move your Hip or leg
  • You cannot bear weight on the injured leg
  • Intense pain
  • Sudden swelling

Is hip pain getting in the way of enjoying your day or hobbies? We can help! Here at CONA, our orthopedic physicians are ready and able to help you regain your strength and pain-free living. So first, check out our website and see our locations. Then, give us a call at (864)582-6396 to set up an appointment.

Make an Appointment
with A CONA Specialist!

If you are experiencing hip pain, we encourage you to make an appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates (CONA) Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Hip Specialist as soon as possible. We have offices located in Spartanburg, Duncan and Greenville, SC.

Remember, the road to recovery starts when you walk through our doors. 

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