Symptoms: Iliopsoas muscle strain is usually recognized by an achy pain in the inner part of your thigh. This pain can develop either immediately or as long as a day after you injure yourself, occurs when muscles or tendons in either the iliacus or the psoas become damaged or torn. This damage can have an effect on how all the thigh muscles function.
Overview: The psoas muscle is primarily in charge of determining the speed and direction of your thigh’s movement, but secondary responsibility for thigh movement belongs to the iliacus muscle. These the two muscles work in tandem as the main thigh flexors, which help you raise your knees to your chest and initiate forward motion when walking. In addition, these muscles help to reinforce the natural inward curve (the “lordosis) of the low back.
Iliopsoas is a combination of the words psoas and iliacus, and used because both muscles share a common tendon, which attaches them to the femur. It’s often difficult to tell whether an iliopsoas muscle strain has affected the psoas or the iliacus, so healthcare practitioners commonly refer to them simply as the iliopsoas.
Both the psoas and the iliacus are strong muscles, and those who take part in thigh-intensive sports like hockey and soccer are more apt to suffer from iliopsoas muscle strain. In some cases similar injuries like groin strains can cause damage to the iliopsoas.
Iliopsoas muscle strain can also be caused by muscle imbalance where one group of muscles has to work harder than it should to compensate; by muscle fatigue due to excessive stress; from previous injuries; and from joint misalignments or dysfunctions in the lumbar spine or pelvis. Slips and falls may also cause the condition.
Iliopsoas muscle strains range in severity from mild to severe. Mild strains which involve a slight tear usually heal within ten days. Moderate strains can take up to six weeks to heal and severe strains may take as long as ten weeks to heal.
Dr. Suzan Starler, D.C., can perform an evaluation to determine the cause of your iliopsoas muscle strain and implement a treatment plan of care and rehabilitation to speed your care. In most cases this care will be effective.