T Nation

Hip Flexor Help

Where to begin…

I am a wide squatter. Last night during a 5x5 squat I felt a pop in the joint of my right leg. I stood up with the weight but I have trouble walking. This has happened before, particulary in the bottom of front squats. The pain is in the crease between my right leg and the groin and is perpendicular to the ground. I assume that this is a problem with my hip flexor.

I have scheduled an appointment with a Sport Medicine Doctor, but I can’t get in to see him until the middle of January.

I know that it is impossible to properly diagnose this problem over the internet but does anyone have a idea what this could be? If so…and any ideas what I can do to fix it (mobility drills, ect…)? Thanks in advance for any assistance.

I’ve never posted before, but best I can tell from yuor description I have the same thing. it is in my right leg, in the front in the crease between the leg and the groin. It always affects me the most after my front squats and stays with me a day or two, before wearing off.

It is painful, but not debilitating and doesn’t keep me from doing anything substantial. Strangely I feel it the most if I am lying in bed on my back and lift that leg up as in some sort of jane Fonda leg lift…

I know this doesn’t help, but I wil be interested to see if there is anyone with an experience like this as well.

Can’t say this has ever happened to me but I have a couple suggestions. If you aren’t wearing any briefs I’d suggest buying a pair of cheap Inzer powerpants for hip protection. I also usually stretch my hips out before squatting by doing a static lunge with my back foot elevated. This helps stretch the quad-hip tie in. Lastly go through the archives and find two articles by Cressey and Robertson called “Get Your Butt in Gear” for mobility work.

Actually, since your current injury and previous bouts of it have occurred at the bottom of a squat, it probably isn’t your one of your hip flexor muscles. Muscles are typically injured when they are either stretched excessively or when they are asked to contract against a load or in a position which they are not suited to deal with.

At the bottom of a squat, the hip flexors are actually on slack rather than on stretch and they are not contracting particularly vigorously since the hip flexion occurring as you descend into a squat simply occurs with gravity.

It sounds like it might involve your hip joint directly. At times, if an individual is very stiff in their glutes, hamstrings, or back side of the hip joint itself, the head of the femur (aka. thigh bone) can be rammed forward within the joint as the hip flexes. This can lead to impingement upon the structures along the front upper rim of the joint socket (i.e. joint capsule).

Occasionally, a ring of cartilage known as the labrum, which encircles the hip socket and blends into the joint capsule, can actually tear away from its attachment upon the front upper rim of the hip socket.

You might want to try to stretch your glutes and back side of the hip joint by simply getting on your hands and knees, flattening or even arching your low back inward slightly, and rocking your hips back over your feet without letting your back round up toward the ceiling.

You may have to mess around with the position of your legs by moving your knees apart, turning your legs so your feet are closer together, or performing some combination of the two to make the stretch pain-free. I can’t emphasize enough, though, DO NOT reproduce your symptoms with this. It could very likely make the condition worse.

You may also want to stretch your hamstrings although this may not be as big of a factor as your glutes and hip joint. There probably are some specific strength deficits that need addressed as well, but it is just possible to prescribe exercises for them without a proper exam.

Check some of the articles from Cressey and Robertson for ideas on stretching and mobility, but I wouldn’t recommend doing anything that reproduces the symptoms.

Hope this helps.

All the best.

pto pretty much said what I would have. For now, make sure to ice it when it feels a little irritated and stretch the hip joint as pto suggested. It sounds like a joint problem or adductor problem to me. How was your groin flexibility before the problem?


pto and buffalokilla…

I think you hit the nail on the head about the joint problem. When I hit that point at the bottom of the squat I feel a slight movement in the hip joint, almost like a pop. Like I said earlier, I can stand up with the wieght but it hurts like hell to walk or to lie flat.

To answer your question buffalokilla… My groin is about the most flexible of the hip musculature, but on the whole I would have to say that my flexiblity is pretty terrible.

I have already printed off the “Get your butt in gear” articles. I was planning to start slowly with the flexibility and mobility drills and work into the strength after a couple of weeks. Any problems with that plan?

I’ve got a similar problem, I’ve been thinking lately that I might be contracting my hip flexors at the bottom to try to stabilize my hip because my glutes aren’t doing the job…