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Iliopsoas strain (Hip Flexor): Causes and Symptoms

Iliopsoas strain (Hip Flexor): Causes and Symptoms


The hip flexors

The two main muscles in this group are iliopsoas and rectus femoris. The hip flexor muscles are connected from the pelvis, lower back and groin area to the femur bone. Their job is to move the femur bone upwards toward your chest, flexing the hip joint.


An iliopsoas strain can be a common complaint from people participating in sporting or recreational activities. Injuries to the iliopsoas most frequently occur because of a strenuous hip flexing motion, such as kicking, running or jumping. An injury may also occur from over-stretching the muscle, which would result from a backward movement of the thigh.


  • Tenderness, pain or discomfort at the front of the hip joint.
  • Sudden, sharp pain in the hip or front of the pelvis after trauma to the area.
  • Muscle spasm, cramping or clenching sensation in the muscles of the thigh.
  • Difficulty or inability to continue sprinting, kicking or jumping.
  • Reduced mobility and discomfort when moving, this may include a limp.
  • Tightness or stiffness at the front of the hip after sitting or lying.
  • Loss of strength at the front of the groin/ hip area.
  • Swelling or bruising around the hip or thigh region.


The treatment for an iliopsoas strain is similar to any other muscle strain. Rest from aggravating factors or modification of activities is important, to give the muscle time to repair and recover. Your physiotherapist will complete a thorough assess to create an individualised rehabilitation programme to suit your specific needs and advice you on activity modifications. Exercise therapy is the most important part of your treatment.

Your rehabilitation programme will include range of movement, strengthening and functional exercises. The aim of your rehabilitation programme is to get you back to activity as soon as possible and try to prevent further injury.

Tips for prevention

It’s always best to try and prevent an injury rather than recovering from one. Completing a thorough warm up and cool down while exercising can help prepare your muscles for exercise and reduce muscle soreness post training. This will also include stretching and ensuring you have adequate mobility for your desired activity. It is also important to remember to approach your training in a progressive manner, allowing the body to adapt and adjust to the increase in training volume, intensity or frequency.

If you feel pain at the front of the hip it is advisable to get it looked at early to prevent further injury and a longer recovery period. Don’t let an iliopsoas injury prevent you from staying fit and active this autumn! Contact us here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic to book your appointment today. We have both early morning and evening appointments to suit a busy schedule.


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