After suffering a Hip Flexor injury, whether it’s a nasty one or even just a minor strain, it’s always important to complete a rehab program before jumping back into activity at 100 percent. This article will go over the situations that need rehabilitation the most, what sort of program is necessary, and how to do it the right way.
Why Hip Flexor Rehab is Needed
Many people, especially serious athletes, try to come back from a serious injury too soon and end up getting hurt again. There’s two factors at play here when you return to training or playing your respective sport.
First there’s the issue that your muscles/ligaments/tendons may not be fully healed, which means they will easily be damaged and could expose you to further tissue damage. The second issue is that without a rehab program, your muscles will not be used to the typical level of stress needed in your activity, which can overload them and cause a new injury. This happens often in professional sports where athletes are pushed to return early for a big game.
While rehab might extend your recovery time, it will significantly decrease the likelihood of having problems when you come back. However, even with great physical therapy, you should know that there is always a risk of starting out too fast right away after an injury and getting hurt again.
The Proper Way to Recover from an Injury
The first step in healing any injury is to rest and let it heal. No matter if it’s a strained muscle or a tendon/ligament condition, time is almost always the first step in a treatment plan. In some rare cases with serious injuries, surgery will be needed to fully heal, but your doctor will be able to tell you if it’s needed.
Once everything is fully healed, you can slowly start exposing your body to low amounts of stress. The longer you have taken off to rest, the slower this phase should be. When you don’t use your muscles on a regular basis, they atrophy fairly rapidly. Doing low amounts of activity will provide adequate stimulation for growth. The idea is to keep exposing your Hip Flexors and surrounding muscles to stimulation until they have reached or exceeded necessary strength levels.
Rehab Exercises and Stretches
Before you begin the rehab portion of your recovery, make sure that your injury is fully healed. This means you have full range of motion without pain. It is also advisable to use a foam roller to break down any scar tissue from the healing process.
There are three parts of a rehab routine you will have to incorporate:
- Strengthening: Create a simple strengthening routine to stimulate your weakened muscles. Gradually increase the weight every session, but always stay on the cautious side. If you feel any pain, it’s likely that your muscles weren’t fully healed or you are pushing too hard.
- Stretching: To restore and improve mobility, you need to perform stretches that target the Hip Flexors. An alternative to incorporate some strengthening work as well in order to regain mobility is to take yoga classes. Most athletes find that they are stiff and tight when they return to activity due to not being used to the range of motion that activity requires.
- Sport specific drills: One thing that strengthening and stretching won’t prepare you for are the specific motions and stresses of your sport. In the same way as strengthening, start off with some light drills that mimic gameplay and slowly build up as you feel comfortable.
Making the Return to Activity
If you’re coming back from a particularly bad injury, rehab may take a long time, but is well worth it to avoid recurring problems.
Before returning, perform one final test by going through a variety of common high stress motions your sport requires. Sprinting, cutting, changing speeds and jumping are the most common movements you need to check. If you have no significant pain or tightness, you should be good to go!
What to do if You Have to Cut Rehab Short?
While a thorough rehabilitation of your Hip Flexors should be your goal, it’s not always possible as noted with professional athletes above. In these situations your goal is to prevent a re-injury. To limit your risk you need to look into different Hip Flexor brace options.
That is rehab in a nutshell. Warm up thoroughly before attempting to compete again and pay extra attention to your Hip muscles for any signs of pain or discomfort.