This refers to a sprain or tear in the powerful deep hip flexor muscle called iliopsoas. It is most common in sprinters or in kicking sports when the muscle is working in a stretched position or against a load.
Patients feel a sudden strain in the front of the hip and groin as part of a definite injury. You may feel something tearing. You may be able to carry on playing, but as you cool down, and bleeding occurs at the site of the tear, pain and stiffness may worsen. In severe cases you will be unable to continue play and will walk with a limp.
If you think you have this injury it is well worth getting it checked out by Mr Willis-Owen. It is important to treat this early with rest, ice, compression and elevation in order to minimise the bleeding and swelling. You should avoid any aggravating activities which may prolong the problem. You may need crutches for the first few days. It generally will get better on its own if diagnosed early and treated appropriately but in some cases there can be long term problems.
Treatment involves first confirming the diagnosis then establishing the underlying causes. Options may include activity modification, physiotherapy, or anti-inflammatories. Usually a carefully directed graduated physiotherapy program is all that is needed but recovery can be slow for severe tears. Good rehabilitation is required to prevent recurrence.