Muscle strains in young athletes

 

Recently I have seen an increased number of younger athletes turning up to the clinic with complaints of pain at the front of their hip and/or groin. Their stories share a common theme of rapid movement at the hip resulting in pain, either from kicking a soccer ball or fast direction changes between bases when playing ball. In each situation the most likely diagnosis has been a strain of the muscle that bends the hip forwards, a muscle commonly known as the ‘hip flexor’ (Iliopsoas muscle).

The hip flexor attaches to the pelvis and front of the lower spine then runs down across the front of the hip to attach to the upper bone of the leg known as the femur. It is the main muscle responsible for bending the hip forwards when we are walking, running, kicking or swimming. If you think about how much power is required in the hips when we are sprinting or kicking a ball, it’s not hard to imagine how much force is being placed on this muscle. If the force is beyond what the muscle can withstand, a tear can occur within the fibers of the muscle belly.

If you suspect a muscle strain of this kind, the recommended initial management is to get ice over the area for 15 minutes every hour for the first 1-2 days and rest. The healing time for a muscle strain of this kind would be 2-6 weeks depending on the size of the tear. The way you manage the return to your sport is crucial for a smooth and timely recovery. Firstly, you have to respect the pain, it is telling you that you are working the injured area too hard. Think of a cut on your knuckle, if you keep bending your finger you will keep pulling the cut apart and it won’t heal, this injury is much the same.

For the first 5-7 days activity should be limited to gentle active bending and straightening of the hip while lying on your back, as well as gently stretching the hip back for 30 second holds. If you are able to perform an activity pain-free it is a good sign that you are ready to progress to the next stage. Progressions should include increasing your walking pace and distance, building to a jog, then run and sprint. Sport specific progressions should also be included. For example, a soccer progression would include beginning with individual ball dribbling skills, followed by light passing, then faster ground balls and finally lifting the ball with kicks on goal. These progressions would be expected over a 2-6 week period, depending on your pain. Strength training is another extremely important part of recovering from a muscle strain. If adequate strength isn’t regained then the risk of re-injury is high. Weights, exercise balls or exercise bands can all be used for targeted strength exercises.

It is important to remember that other injuries to the hip can occur in similar ways to the hip flexor muscle. I would always recommend an initial assessment from your medical doctor or physiotherapist to ensure your injury is managed in the most appropriate and timely fashion.

 

Nick Black is a Registered Physiotherapist at Sun City Physiotherapy Winfield. He can be contacted at the Winfield clinic (250.766.2544) or by email at winfield@suncityphysiotherapy.com.

 

Just Posted

Okanagan Wildfires: An afternoon update on wildfires and evacuations

A Sunday afternoon look at the major wildfires impacting the Okanagan and Similkameen.

BC Wildfire merges Mt. Eneas and Munro Lake fires

Large plume of smoke seen over the fire was a controlled event

Motorcyclist taken to hospital following crash near Vernon

Extent of injuries not yet known following motorcycle in ditch on Commonage Road Sunday, July 22

All-Indigenous teams break new ground, making BC Games history

This is the first time there have been dedicated Indigenous teams at the BC Summer Games

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

The Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw people signed an agreement-in-principle with the B.C. government

The signing ceremony, at the Eliza Archie Memorial School, was 25 years in the making

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Mediation talks break off in casino strike

Gateway and BCGEU have no new date set for mediation

ZONE 2: Okanagan twins bring ultimate competition to the BC Games

Brothers Connor and Holden Berrisford are each other’s main motivators

Most Read