Hip Flexor Pain in Dancers: How to Keep Moving

Hip Flexor Discomfort in Dancers

Hip pain is not a new phenomenon for dancers- so much so that often they simply dance through the discomfort until it becomes unbearable. The constant excess rotation on the hip and repetitive extension of the legs put extra stress on a very important and large joint. Hip injuries in dancers can arise over time or occur suddenly. Overuse of the hip joint and surrounding muscles can evolve into hip flexor tendonitis, causing bouts of frustrating pain while dancing or sitting for extended periods of time. A bad landing or fall can cause a hip flexor injury that if not tended to correctly can develop into a lifelong struggle.

What to do with Hip Flexor Pain?

Dancers are rarely willing to sit out or mark movement to accommodate a mild hip flexor injury. They wouldn’t be a dancer if they preferred not moving and holding back. Having the tools and guidance to approach rehearsals and classes in a manner that doesn’t worsen the injury can immensely increase the chance of hip flexor pain relief. It’s critical to have injuries professionally diagnosed to develop a plan of conservative and minimally invasive treatment options before more serious interventions are required.

These tips and exercises may be provided following a hip pain evaluation to reduce symptoms and restore range of motion. However, before DIY-ing your way through the pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Van Thiel to properly identify the source of pain and develop a comprehensive hip flexor pain relief plan that meets your goals.

Warm Up, Warm Up, Warm Up

Before any physical activity, properly warming up the muscles cannot be emphasized enough. Hip flexor injuries most always occur from a lack of preparation before a dance class or rehearsal. The hip is involved in nearly all movements, and the hip flexor irritation and inflammation will only get worse faster without a proper warm up. It’s important to keep in mind that stretching and warming up are not synonymous. Exercises are meant to build strength and increase mobility to support the joint and prepare the surrounding muscles so the hip flexor experiences less stress.

Dancers should consult a doctor for hip flexor exercises specific to their injury to warm up the joint before any excessive movement or rotation.

Strengthening Exercises

To relieve tension and excess stress on the hip flexor, your doctor may suggest exercises to build the surrounding muscles. Strengthening muscles in the backs of the leg, hip, and core can stabilize the hip joint and provide hip flexor pain relief.

  • Tone the inner thighs by squeezing a ball or pillow between your legs to provide extra support to the hip joint.
  • Build core and glute muscles with a bridge by lifting the hips off the floor while lying on your back with bent knees and feet flat on the floor.
  • Stabilize the hip by building core strength with exercises that focus on the lower abdominals
  • Hip rotations while holding the knee and relaxed muscles can improve mobility and strengthen smaller muscles throughout the joint.

Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation.

Following a long rehearsal or demanding class, your doctor may recommend treatment often referred to as R.I.C.E. Muscles that are overworked and overstretched can greatly benefit from simple rest, ice, compression, and elevation. These four elements of injury care are meant to effectively diminish inflammation and irritation so the hip flexor can heal. R.I.C.E will be implemented with most hip flexor pain relief regimens alongside exercises and warm up recommendations. A doctor can help provide guidance on when and how to implement each element of hip flexor pain care.

When to Start your Hip Flexor Treatment

Before trying any of the above exercises or tips for hip flexor pain relief, make sure to get a proper diagnosis to determine the best approach to keep you moving. Dr. Van Thiel specializes in treating highly active individuals with conservative and minimally invasive options to prevent further damage to the hip and support an active lifestyle.

Schedule an Evaluation with Dr. Van Thiel to learn more about what is causing your hip flexor pain.


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