What is hip strain?

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Hip strain: Overview

A hip strain happens when you overstretch or tear one of the muscles or tendons that support the hip.

Tight muscles around the hip make a strain more likely. Hip strains might be caused by overuse from sports, everyday tasks, or falls. Pain or problems with other joints, like knees and ankles, may change the way you walk. This can also strain the muscles or tendons that support the hip.

A hip strain may make your hip feel tight or tender. Your hip may have a limited range of motion.

Most minor hip strains get better with simple self-care.

How can you care for yourself when you have hip strain?

  • If your doctor gave you crutches or a walker, use them as directed.
  • Rest and protect your hip. Try to stop or reduce any action that causes pain.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your hip for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If a doctor gave you a prescription medication for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • For the first day or two after an injury, avoid things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, or hot packs.
  • After 2 to 3 days, if swelling is gone, put a heating pad (set on low) or warm moist cloth on your hip before you do light stretches. The warmth will help you move your hip.
  • Do exercises to make your hip stronger, as directed by your doctor or physical therapist.
  • Return to your usual level of activity slowly.

Hip Strain: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your pain is worse.
  • You cannot walk or stand without help.
  • You have signs of blood clot, such as:
    • Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
    • Redness and swelling in your leg or groin.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness on your leg, foot, or toes.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your pain does not get better in 2 or 3 days.
  • You still have pain after 2 weeks.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.