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Sprain in hip

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What is a sprain?

There are four main groups of muscles holding the hip joint together. A hip sprain occurs when the muscles or tendons are loaded abnormally, stretched beyond their limits or even torn. The sprains or tears may vary in severity, with some more severe cases having an ability to significantly impact daily activities. Once the muscle is injured, it becomes vulnerable to another injury.


What causes sprain?

Hip sprain most commonly develops as a result of exercise, but may also occur during your daily activities. A hip sprain can be an acute injury resulting from a fall, a stretch injury, or a direct impact during contact sports. Overuse of muscles can cause a hip sprain, as the repetitive movement weakens your hip muscles and makes them more prone to injury.


The severity of symptoms varies significantly from patient to patient. For some patients, the symptoms are not constant and may come and go. Symptoms of sprains and strains may include:

  • Pain in the hip

  • Increased pain when moving the hip

  • Swelling

  • Limited range of motion

  • Muscle weakness


When should I seek medical help?

There are circumstances when hip pain might be caused or accompanied by severe issues. If such symptoms are present, it is best to seek immediate medical attention to avoid further complications.

  • A deformed joint

  • Inability to move your leg or hip

  • Inability to bear weight on the affected leg

  • Severe pain in the hip

  • Any signs of infection (fever, chills, redness)

  • Recent history of trauma



To diagnose any strain in your hip, your doctor will take your case history and past medical history into account. Then they will perform a physical examination on you and examine your leg and hip for pain or swelling. Your doctor will apply pressure to your hip and move your leg and hip in different directions to assess your range of motion. Your doctor may also examine your lower back or your knees to determine if they cause your hip pain.


Other tests which may help your doctor confirm your diagnosis include an X-ray, which shows exemplary images of bones. An X-ray can rule out the possibility of hip fracture, another cause of hip pain.



The goal of treatment is to reduce pain and restore function. Using RICE protocol and other self-care methods can help you recover faster:

  • Rest. Rest the injured hip for a few days. Restrict all activities that cause pain in the hip.

  • Ice packs: Apply ice bags over the sprained hip for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.

  • Compression: Compression shorts can support the hip to reduce swelling.

  • Elevation: Keep your hip elevated. Place a pillow under your ankle to elevate your hip.

Other non-surgical treatments may include: 

  • Medications: Simple painkillers like paracetamol help control pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can help reduce pain and swelling caused by inflammation.

  • Physical therapy or home exercise program: Strengthen your hip muscles and mobility with exercises.


A severe injury such as a complete tear of a tendon may require surgery. The goal of surgery is to re-attach the torn tendon to the bone.


Prevention of strain in the hip

There are ways to prevent sprains or strains in the hip. Here are some examples:

  • Exercise regularly to improve muscle strength.

  • Use proper technique during exercise. 

  • Always warm up and stretch your muscles before exercising.

  • Practice good posture for sitting and standing.

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