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The iliopsoas muscle is in the hip flexor muscle group. An iliopsoas strain occurs when one or more of these hip flexor muscles become either stretched or torn. The hip flexor muscles are responsible for moving the knee towards the chest during activity. If the tension is more than the muscle can tolerate, these muscle fibres may tear. When a strain occurs within this muscle group, it is most commonly found in the iliopsoas muscle which runs from the lower back and pelvis to the femur.
An iliopsoas strain is most commonly caused by sudden movements such as sprinting, kicking and changing direction while running. Therefore, individuals who participate in sporting activities such as running, martial arts, soccer and hockey are more likely to experience this type of injury. Other factors which can contribute to a strain within the hip flexor muscle group include muscle weakness and tightness, inappropriate training, not warming up correctly, joint stiffness, poor biomechanics, decreased fitness and poor core stability.
Patients who suffer an iliopsoas strain usually feel a sudden sharp pain or pulling sensation. This pain in either the front of the hip or the groin. This occurs when the individual lifts the knee towards their chest or walking, climbing stairs and from sitting to standing. Individuals may also experience stiffness after a long period of rest, swelling, tenderness and bruising within the area.
You may be able to keep exercising. It is dependent on the severity of your injury. A minor iliopsoas strain injury may take up to three weeks to fully recover. More serious strains and tears could take up to eight weeks of recovery before returning to your activity of choice.
Initially, it is important to rest the injury to allow time for pain to decrease. For the first few days, apply ice for 20 minutes every 3 or 4 hours for swelling to go down.
Physiotherapy treatments such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation, dry needling and ultrasound therapy can be very beneficial in the initial stages of treating an iliopsoas strain injury. Once initial pain and inflammation has settled, a biomechanical assessment may be carried out. It assess your lower limb function and to identify any other factors that may have caused the injury.
Your physiotherapist may prescribe you with a programme of flexibility and strengthening exercises. These will target the muscles around the hip area and help you to gradually return to activity. You may also be given core strengthening exercises to help improve the stability of the pelvis area which will help to prevent any further overuse problems in the pelvis and groin.
One you return to activity, it is important to ensure that you take steps to prevent any further injuries. Warming up correctly before sporting activities is very important. It helps to increase the temperature of muscle tissue which decreases the probability of sustaining a muscle or tendon injury. Wearing compression clothing can also be very beneficial especially among runners and sprinters, as the clothing helps to maintain muscle temperature in the groin and pelvic area.
If you have suffered an iliopsoas strain injury, contact us here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic. Our physiotherapists are expertly trained in treating a range of sport related injuries and providing biomechanical assessments to ensure that you can prevent any further injuries in the future.