The hip is a very complex joint in which several muscles work together. When practicing sports, for various reasons, these tissues may suffer an injury. What should you do if an injury happens and, above all, how to prevent muscle injuries of the hip? We asked Dr. Federico Della Rocca, chief of Hip Orthopedics at the Humanitas Prosthetic Surgery Department.
There are numerous muscle groups that can be affected by an injury: «If there is anterior pain of the muscles involved it can be due to ileopsoas or rectofemoral; in case of pain in the inner thigh it may be the adductors; finally, in case of back pain, the ischiocrural or knee flexors», explains Dr. Della Rocca.
«Muscular strains of the anterior or posterior groups of the hip – he continues – are caused by intense contractions occurring during flexion of the hip or the knee, or during extension of the hip. This is very common in jumpers, centometrists, tennis players, people who play sports in which there are sudden shots or sudden changes in direction (football, basketball, rugby, asymmetrical sports or running on inclined surfaces, such as running in the mountains) ».
Other sports can cause injuries to the adductors: «Sports with sudden side changes and sudden stops, such as football or tennis, for example in the recovery of very angled balls, and those with splits and hyperextensions as slides on the football».
Relieving pain is the first goal; afterwards you can start working on the muscles to recover their well-being and be able to get back to the playing field: «In the first phase it is essential to reduce inflammation, so it is necessary to rest and, if useful, to use a crutch; sometimes oral anti-inflammatories, ice and physical therapy such as diathermy (tecartherapy), are also prescribed».
«As pain decreases you can return to normal life, focusing on muscle toning and stretching. The next phase is characterized by the beginning of the sport-specific exercises for the complete recovery that, generally, takes place not before 4-5 weeks after the trauma», warns the specialist.
How can the risk of hip muscle strain be minimized? «Prevention through stretching exercises of the affected muscles is very important to improve the elasticity in the preparatory phase and to cool down. It is also useful to perform a good warm up before doing sport and using footwear or clothing suitable for the sport. Moreover – concludes Dr. Della Rocca – we must always evaluate the patient’s physical condition in correlation with the sporting activity that they want to practice».