Hip strains are an injury to any of the many muscles that attach to the bones of the thigh and pelvis and move the hip joint. Strains can be caused by traumatic injury, overuse, or use without proper stretching and warmup.
The symptoms of hip strain include pain over the injured muscle, pain with movement, swelling, and loss of strength. Your physician will ask about your activities before the pain and will probably have your perform a series of movements and may order an X-ray in order to distinguish between a hip strain and other conditions with similar symptoms, which include stress fractures and inflammation.
Treatment involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). Avoid the activity that caused the strain for about two weeks. During that time, you can rebuild muscle strength with stretching and strengthening exercises.
You can reduce your chances of getting a muscle strain by warming up (light jogging or walking) before stretching, and stretching before your exercise or athletic activity. This applies to exercise like running or playing sports, but also to exercise such as climbing onto a counter or moving a heavy object. First warm up, then stretch, then do your exercise.
People who exercise on a regular basis generally have fewer injuries than people who occasionally exercise intensely.