Hip Flexor Pain

Back pain and hip pain can be related to tight hip flexors.  Here’s why:

  • Young athletes get fatigued and use hip flexors rather than abdominal muscles
  • Gymnasts don’t fully use their gluteus maximus muscles (butt muscles) during jumping
  • Because of this, hip flexors are always engaged, become overused, and put extreme pressure on the spine


Last night we saw an 8 year old with a tight, painful hip flexor because she showed her friends her gymnastics at a party without warming up!  Remember, muscles can be easily injured when not warmed up, even in 8 year-olds!  For treatment, we did exactly what we listed here.  She’ll be better in 3 days!

Let’s discuss what to do immediately, then get in to a more permanent fix.

At Home Care for Injured Hip Flexors in Gymnasts

KT Tape Pro is a great solution to begin the healing process.  KT Tape increases the proprioception of muscles and joints, allowing the body to know where it is in space better.  This allows our young athletes to move their bodies with more information, keeping them in injury free ranges of motion.

Imagine giving your athlete information so they are able to move their bodies with more control INSTANTLY.  This is KT Tape Pro!

Get your increasing control KT Tape Pro from the Gymnast Care Store now by clicking here, and keep your gymnast protected when they become injured.

Here’s how to apply KT Tape Pro for injured hip flexor:


30 Day Hip Flexor Stretch Challenge

With all of my gymnasts, I challenge them to stretch their hip flexors for 30 days.  The first 3-7 days will include soreness, but continue stretching. At day 10, you’ll notice a huge difference.  Here is the stretch with instructions:

  1. Body in lunge position
  2. Shoulders up and back
  3. Core tight, glutes squeezed
  4. To isolate, tuck hips under (posterior pelvic tilt)
  5. At this point, tight hip flexors will begin to be stretched
  6. If you need more of a stretch, gently bring hips forward as if someone was pushing on your lower back.
  7. It should look just like the picture to the right!

Preventing Hip Flexor Pain In Gymnasts

Most hip flexors become tight because gymnasts never give them a chance to rest.

Resting hip flexors does take work.  Why?  Because hip flexors is an antagonist muscle to the gluteus maximus muscle.

This means when the hip flexors are contracting, the gluteus maximus muscle is relaxing, and when the gluteus maximus muscle is contracting, the hip flexors are relaxing.

So our goal is to get full contraction of our glute muscles allowing hip flexors to relax.  We do this by squeezing the glutes as hard as possible during jumps and we recognize this in our athletes when they have absolutely no pike to their jumps.  Here are two examples:

What Happens If My Gymnast Doesn’t Use Glutes to Jump and Land?

Great question!

Here are several guarantees:

  • Before puberty, they’ll experience back pain
  • After puberty, the’ll experience stress reactions in their spine, and there is a great possibility they will experience stress fractures in the spine (pars fractures or spondylolysis)
  • Jumping/leaping is limited due to inability to recruit gluteus maximus muscles (in other words, very small gymnastics)

Here’s an example of the proper technique for landing and jumping:

Click here to see a all of our jumping/landing progression videos on YouTube.  This will not only decrease pain, it will be amazing for their performance!

Where Else Are Hip Flexors Overused?

Another great question!

Bars.  Bars is a combination of rotational physics and extreme core strength.  Of course, we don’t always see this happening in the gym.  What we see is the overuse of hip flexors in order to achieve position.

The other aspect of bars that is seldom discussed, is using your glute muscles to bring the body into a straight line.  By using your glutes to achieve this position, you’ve given your hip flexors another opportunity to relax.

The Gymnast Care Solution to Overcoming Hip Flexor Dominance

Developing Incredible Jumps and Protective Landings

  1. Learn to squat.  All other athletic movements come from this.
  2. Learn the position of take off, and landing.
  3. Stress these positions.

Develop A Responsive, Protective Core

  1. Learn to initiate core without the shortening of your abs.
  2. Stop tucking your hips under when accessing core…it’s dangerous and it decreases your ability to perform.
  3. Elongate, and now try to keep tight!  Now stress this position.
  4. Get to an unstable surface.
  5. Make it sport specific.
  6. Become a core superstar.

Here’s a video of our basic core from the Gymnast Care Book on Injuries. All of these protocols are found there:


Thanks for joining us, if you have specific questions, please send us a message or leave a reply in the comments below..

Dr. Joshua Eldridge

About Dr. Joshua Eldridge

Dr. Joshua Eldridge has specialized in protecting gymnasts from injury. He is the inventor of The X Brace, and has developed a treatment protocol for Sever’s disease and heel pain that has helped thousands of gymnasts throughout the world. Dr. Eldridge brings practical, easy injury care and prevention that can be done at home.

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  • How many of you have ever injured your hip flexor? It’s definitely not very fun haha!

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  • Allergy to adhesive

    My daughter is allergic to adhesive. She can not even wear a band-aide for a couple minutes with out a rash beginning to appear. When we wrap her it is with Co-ban. Do you happen to know if the adhesive on the KT tape would cause a reaction? The last thing she needs is to develop sores where the adhesive on the KT tape touches her skin.

  • drjosh

    Sorry this took a few days to get back to you. The new KT Tape Pro has worked well for our athletes not causing reactions. We’ve had athletes allergic to everything, try it and have great luck.

    With that being said, there are athletes that do have reactions to KT Tape Pro. All of the reactions I’ve seen have been very mild, but it does happen. I’ve used the tape on 1,000’s of female gymnasts and I’ve had reactions in 3 that I know of.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to call or email me at any time if you have important questions needing answered right away. doc@gymnastcare.com or 425-260-0991

    Dr. Josh

  • drjosh

    They are horrible! Stretching and learning to jump properly really helps though!

  • Pingback: Don’t Let These 3 Overuse Injuries End Your Gymnastics Career | Gymnast Care()

  • Guest

    Are there any video links tied to the word *** here in the two flowing directions?

    Developing Incredible Jumps and Protective Landings
    1. Learn to squat. All other athletic movements come from this. Check out our squat instruction video *** here.
    2. Learn the position of take off, and landing. View the video *** here.

    Thanks for the information; we’re learning a lot!

  • Colleen Shelley Markham

    Are there any video links tied to the word *** here in the two following directions from the above post?

    Developing Incredible Jumps and Protective Landings
    1. Learn to squat. All other athletic movements come from this. Check out our squat instruction video *** here.
    2. Learn the position of take off, and landing. View the video *** here.

    Thanks for the information; we’re learning a lot!

  • Joshua Eldridge

    Colleen, I’ve updated the post. The video here will get you started with the squats and then the Book on Injuries (http://gymnastcare.com/book-on-injuries) has the rest of the protocols in an easy to use format.

    Thanks for the comment and checking in…I really appreciate it!!!!

  • Guest


    I’ve recently discovered your websites and posts, and am reading through them. Sometimes, I discover small oversights like this one, in which a link isn’t connected, etc. If you’d like to know when I find an error, I can continue to contact you when I notice them. If, however, it’s annoying and you’d rather I not bother you with this information, please let me know, and I’ll just read on.

    Our family really appreciates information about nutrition as well as landing protocol – thanks for sharing!


  • Joshua Eldridge

    I am really excited that you’ve gotten into our site and you’re learning from the content. Definitely let me know if you find something that we’ve overlooked and I can make sure it gets fixed! We’ve worked hard to get the info out and we want our community to get the most out of it.
    Feel free to leave a comment, send us a message on Facebook, or send me an email at doc@gymnastcare.com.
    I am glad you’re learning and please let me know any questions. I’d love to be a resource for you and your family.

    Dr. Josh