Strains are typically graded a level 1, 2, or 3 depending on how severe the injury is. For example, a Grade 1 means you have a minor muscle tear and is the least serious injury; a Grade 2 indicates a partial tear and is more serious; whereas, a Grade 3 is the most severe and means you have a complete rupture of the hip flexor muscles.
Your pulled hip flexor muscles can be assigned a grade based on the following:
You have experienced some overstretching of the muscles and micro-tearing of the fibers. You may experience:
- tightness in the upper hip, lower back, front of thigh, and groin
- ability to walk normally, but aware of discomfort
- minimal swelling
- contracting the hip flexor, especially against resistance, will not cause too much pain
You have experienced partial tearing of the muscle fibers. You may experience:
- affected walk, including potential for a slight limp
- twinges of pain during activity
- visible swelling and pressure will increase pain
- pain when contracting the muscle, especially against resistance
You have ruptured your hip flexor muscle fibers. Experiences may include:
- severely affected walk, including potential to need crutches
- severe pain, especially when contracting the hip flexor muscles with or without resistance
- visible and immediate swelling
- contraction will cause pain and potential bulging/spasm of the upper leg where your leg meats the pelvis.
Chronic injuries are persistent and recurring and are identified by the following symptoms:
- You experience hip flexor stiffness and soreness for over one month
- The hip flexors are not exhibiting sharp pain, but you notice a weakness. They are not yet back to normal.
Full recovery is important. It may take a bit of time and some attention, but nothing is worse than reinjury. Not only does it set you back with training and competing schedules, it adds to the muscle fiber damage, making future injury even more likely.