Key Points about Hip Strains and Sprains

  • Hip sprains or strains deal with the tearing of the muscle or overstretching the ligaments attached to the hip.
  • Muscles and tendons may be injured if you suffer from a hip strain. Typically, hip strains occur around the area where the muscle connects to the connective tendon tissue.
  • The most common symptom for a sprain or strain in the hip is pain over the hip and gets worse as the hip is used more. In some cases, you can lose strength and flexibility in the hip resulting in difficulty walking.
Common related conditions
Hip Arthritis Hip (Trochanteric) Bursitis Hip Dislocation Hip Fractures Hip Tendonitis

Overview

A hip strain occurs when a muscle that supports the hip tears. A hip sprain may occur when a ligament that supports the hip is stretched beyond its limits. If you have severe hip strains or sprains, you may not be able to move your hip correctly. 

Most hip strains or sprains can be effectively treated with conservative treatments such as rest, ice, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. In more severe cases, physical therapy or further medical treatment is necessary.

Hip strains and sprains causes

Hip strains or sprains can be caused by a variety of factors such as;

  • Overuse from repetitive movements
  • Trauma directly to the hip such as from a direct hit from participating in a contact sport
  • Overstretching the affected area
  • Not warming-up before an activity
  • Doing too much activity too quickly in the recovery process

Hip strains and sprains symptoms

The most common symptom for hip strains and sprains is pain over the hip that generally intensifies as the hip is used more.

Other symptoms of hip strains or sprains include:

  • Pain in the affected area when it is used
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Bruising along the hip
  • Weakness in the muscles around the affected hip

Other symptoms you can experience are:

  • Tenderness in the calf
  • Sharp pain in the lower leg
  • Swelling and bruising

Hip strains and sprains risk factors

If you have had a hip strain or sprain in the past, you are more likely to have another.

Other risk factors of hip strain or sprain include:

  • Repetitive movements from sports such as running or cycling
  • Participating in contact sports where you may experience a direct hit to the hip

Hip strains and sprains prevention

Everyone is prone to hip strains or sprains, but those who exercise and participate in sports are more likely to experience them.

To lower your chances of getting one, you should warm-up before any activity or exercise and making sure you don’t overdo anything.

Wearing protective sports gear that protects your hips during contact sports will also reduce your risk of experiencing a hip strain or sprain.

Hip strains and sprains diagnosis

Your doctor will perform a physical examination to confirm a hip strain or sprain diagnosis. During the exam, your doctor will take a full medical history to understand what activities could have caused your symptoms. Your doctor will likely ask you to perform exercises or movements to evaluate the injured muscles.

To rule out more severe hip injuries, your doctor will likely order an X-ray or MRI. An X-ray will produce detailed images of the bone and dense structures.

Hip strains and sprains treatment

The goal of treatment for a hip strain or sprain is to relieve your symptoms and improve your hip strength. Generally, hip strains or sprains can be treated with nonsurgical treatments.

If the hip strain or sprain is mild, your doctor will recommend compression, ice, and elevation in combination with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications.

If your strain or sprain has not improved with conservative treatments, physical therapy may be needed to increase strength and flexibility.

If the hip strain or sprain is severe, surgery may be necessary to stitch the torn muscle back together.

In qualified candidates, your doctor may recommend a plasma rich protein (PRP) injection. During a PRP injection, your doctor will inject platelets into the affected area.

When should I seek care?

If you are experiencing hip pain or other symptoms related to hip strains or sprains, contact your doctor to make an appointment.

Next Steps

Your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan for you. If your stain or sprain is mild, your doctor may tell you to ice and rest as well as prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to relieve your pain.

If you are active or participate in activities that put stress on your hip, make sure to take precautions like stretching or educating yourself on proper activity techniques to minimize your risk of developing hip strains or sprains.

Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and call your doctor if your symptoms change or worsen.