The hip abductor muscles are a group of four muscles that stabilize the gait and control the ability of the leg to rotate away from the body. These four muscles include the gluteus minimus, the tensor fascia lata, the gluteus maximus and the gluteus medias.
Hip abduction is necessary for any side to side movement, which is required by athletic activities. Strains are common in this area due to overexertion or overstretching. Symptoms of hip abductor muscle strains include hip and lower back pain accompanied by pain when attempting to move the leg.
Treatment for strains of the hip abductor muscles consists of rest and ice. Once pain has receded, gentle stretching exercises may be attempted, progressing to jogging short distances and eventual side to side motions. Full return to physical activities can be attempted once there is no discomfort.
Injuries and weakness in hip abductor muscles is often related to weakness in the core muscles. Weakness in the core muscles results in the hip muscles attempting to compensate. Developing the muscles of the abdomen and back can help relieve the extra stress placed on the hips. Hip circles, lunges, planks, bridges, back extensions and squats can all be effective in strengthening these muscles and preventing injury.