Hip flexor pain is a common issue experienced by runners and athletes engaged in activities with repetitive and rapid hip flexion such as kicking. This can lead to irritation, stiffness, and pain in the hip flexors.
Lower cross syndrome is also associated with hip flexor tightness and can manifest into other issues. Muscle imbalances in the groups around the pelvis can lead to anterior pelvic tilt, increased hip flexion, excessive curvature of the lumbar spine and back pain. These imbalances include overactivity and tightness of the hip flexors and back extensors, as well as underactivity and weakness of the abdominal muscles and gluteus maximus.
Hip Flexor Anatomy
There are 5 muscles that cause hip flexion: psoas major and iliacus (which together make the iliopsoas), rectus femoris, sartorius, and pectineus. However, the iliopsoas and pectineus are difficult to reach with a muscle scraper, making it essential to complement the scraping routine with targeted stretches. Therefore, we will mostly be targeting the sartorius and rectus femoris when scraping for hip flexor issues.
Scraping for Hip Flexor Pain
When scraping for hip flexor issues, you will want to;
- Palpate for the ASIS, a bony prominence on your pelvis. Start on your hip bones, then follow until you find a bit of a corner on the front of your pelvis. This is where the sartorius muscle originates, a good landmark for where to start scraping.
2. Get into a slight hip extension to create some tension in the muscles. This allows you to get deeper into the tissue to relieve any tension or adhesions in the muscles.
3. Scrape up and down in this area for about 30-45 seconds, this is likely where the person with hip flexor issues will feel the most discomfort/pain.
4. Move down into the quads, scraping from the hip, all the way down to the knee. Focus on the front and inside surface of the thigh as this is where the long hip flexor muscles are located.
As previously mentioned, the majority of the hip flexor muscles are deep and therefore hard to reach with a muscle scraper. In order to relieve tension, a stretching routine should be incorporated.
Alongside stretching and scraping, strengthening can be added to increase the strength and endurance of the hip flexor muscles.
Hip flexor pain is a common issue for athletes and runners, and muscle imbalances in the pelvis can exacerbate the problem. Scraping and stretching routines can help alleviate tension and pain in the hip flexors. Focusing on the sartorius and rectus femoris muscles while scraping can be particularly effective. Strengthening exercises should also be added to improve the endurance and strength of the hip flexor muscles. By incorporating these techniques, individuals can effectively manage hip flexor issues and reduce discomfort.