Pain When Lifting Leg To Put Pants On? The Surprising Answer That You Need To Know

Experiencing pain when doing simple tasks like putting your pants on can be frightening. If you are a runner who has felt pain when lifting legs to put pants on, you are not alone. The condition is often caused by a hip flexor pain.

In this article, we will become better acquainted with the hip flexor muscle group, discuss what you can do to prevent pain and give you a few practical prevention methods.


What Is The Hip Flexor?

The hip flexors are a group of three muscles that work together and enable you to bend or flex your hip or leg. In addition, these muscles stabilize the lower back and legs. Basically, any movement that brings your knees toward your chest requires the use of these muscles. (1) Each step you take requires the use of these muscles.

Because these muscles work with other major muscle groups, injuring or straining them can cause a lot of pain even for simple tasks such as putting on your pants. 

  • For a runner, injuring your hip flexor muscles would mean taking a break from your hobby for a while. (2)

Hip Flexor Pain Cause And Symptoms

Hip Flexor Pain Cause And Symptoms

Common cause of hip flexor:

  • Trauma to the hip flexor muscles is the most common cause of the condition. For example, you could sprain these muscles when you run or jump.
  • Another possible cause is weak core muscles which force the hip flexor muscles to work more than normal and eventually strain.
  • Additional triggers include doing deep stretches or performing high knee kicks which put your hip flexor under a lot of strain.

Some of the common symptoms of a hip flexor sprain include: (3)

  • Pain when lifting your thigh such as when putting on your pants
  • ​Pain when stretching your hip to walk
  • ​Swelling in the hip or thigh area
  • ​Tenderness in the hip area

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should take it seriously and lower the intensity of your physical activities. It is also important that you determine the degree of the strain which can be categorized into three: (4)

  • Mild (Grade 1) tear - only a few fibers are torn
  • ​Moderate (Grade II) tear - you have difficulty moving your hip because some fibers are damaged
  • ​Serious (Grade III) tear - the entire muscle is completely torn and you walk with a limp

Hip Flexor Treatment

As with any other muscle injury, the most important treatment method is to rest. Avoid engaging in any activities that trigger pain.

Another basic treatment is using cold compresses on the affected area for periods of up to 20 minutes throughout the day to alleviate the swelling. Keeping your leg elevated is also a good solution. (5)

Hip Flexor Exercises For Fast Recovery

In order to help loosen your muscles, there are a few exercises that can be done. Remember that these exercises should only be performed when there is no swelling or after you have treated the inflammation with cold therapy and other means.

Exercise #1: Pigeon Stretch

This is a common yoga pose. To perform it:

  • Start on a yoga mat in the plank position
  • ​Lift the left foot and move it forward until it reaches the position where your knee is near your left foot and your foot is near your right hand.
  • ​Move your right leg as far back as you can while lowering yourself to the floor and bringing your upper body close to the mat
  • ​Hold the stretch without allowing your chest to fall and switch sides

Exercise #2: Butterfly Stretch

This is a simple move to help you stretch your inner thighs and lower back.

  • ​Sit on the floor keeping your back straight
  • Bending your knees to the sides, push your soles together in front of you
  • ​Slowly pull your heels towards you while relaxing your knees and getting them as close to the floor as possible
  • ​Hold this for up to 30 seconds

Exercise #3: Bridges

This is another easy and very common way to stretch your hip flexors.

  • ​Lie down on your back on a mat keeping your feet on the floor and knees bent
  • ​With your arms at your sides, press into your heels lifting your but off the floor towards the ceiling
  • ​Try your best to stretch so that your fingertips can touch your heels
  • ​Hold for ten seconds and return flat on your back and repeat

Aside from stretching your hip flexor muscles, it is also good to strengthen them with common exercises such as (6)

  • Mountain climbers
  • ​Lunges
  • ​Straight leg raises
  • ​Skater squats
  • ​Hip flexion


The truth is hip flexor strains are more common than you think. If you feel pain when lifting your leg to put your pants on, you likely have a strain. Once you determine the severity of the strain, follow the traditional treatment methods while taking a break from running.

In order to prevent future injuries, make it part of your routine to strengthen and stretch this set of important muscles. 

  • How did you like this article?
  •  Have you ever experienced such a pain when putting your pants on?
  •  What treatment method did you use?

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