A hip strain is where a muscle or tendon around the hip joint is pulled beyond its limit. This stretches these soft tissues or, in more severe strains, tears them partially or completely. Hip muscle and tendon tears should not be confused with a labral tear of the hip where the labrum, specialized cartilage inside the hip joint itself, is damaged.
Sudden, acute hip strains usually occur as a result of sports activity. Inadequate stretching before playing sports increases the risk of this type of injury. Prolonged overuse of the hip (repetitive motion over time) can also cause hip strains, but these injuries are usually less severe.
An MRI can sometimes help a physician determine which muscles or tendons are affected by a hip strain and whether or not there is a complete tear. Treatments for a strained hip include rest, physical therapy, or, in cases of severe tears, surgery.
To learn more about hip pain, see Hip Pain: Frequently Asked Questions. For more information about muscle and tendon strains, read the article below.