A hip strain, also known as a hip flexor strain, is a small tear in the hip flexor muscles that results in pain in the hip area; these types of injuries range in severity from a grade 1 to a grade 3 tear, and the treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the injury. In general, as soon as you feel a hip strain occur, you should immediately stop what you are doing and apply ice to the area. It may also be necessary to visit a doctor to determine the degree of injury that has occurred, and to learn if physical therapy will be necessary to treat the strain.
Minor hip strains will typically just require rest and keeping weight off the injured side of the body, so some people will choose to use a cane to relieve pressure on the hip. This is because continued use of the muscle can cause the hip strain to worsen. It is absolutely necessary to stop participating in physical sports or activities such as jogging, which place extreme strain on the hip. For the first few days after the hip strain occurs, it is best to apply ice at regular intervals to reduce pain and inflammation. Just be sure to remove the ice every ten to twenty minutes to prevent damage to the skin.
In addition, taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain reliever can be helpful at initially reducing swelling and pain. Try not to sleep on that side at night, and sleep with a pillow between the legs to take pressure off the hips and prevent it from straining any more. If rest, ice, and pain relievers do not help the hip strain to begin feeling better within a few days, it will be necessary to visit a doctor for further assessment and treatment. If necessary, the doctor may recommend a period of physical therapy.
The physical therapy will help to strengthen the muscles that were injured, as well as increase flexibility and mobility in the area to prevent further injury. Depending on the extent of the injury, physical therapy may only be necessary for a few weeks, or it may be needed for a longer period of time. It is important to always follow the directions of the doctor and the physical therapist when treating a hip strain, because if the condition does not heal or gets worse, surgery might be necessary to repair the damage.