Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been stuck in the revolving door of the treatment room a lot lately, but there’s not been much discussion about his injury.

So what actually is his problem?

The Ox left the FA Cup match against Manchester United on 9th March with an inflamed iliopsoas muscle.

This is actually a group of muscles (iliacus and psoas major). They connect between the lower vertebrae and the upper femur and play a major part in lifting the knee.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury - Iliopsoas Muscle
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury: Iliopsoas Muscle (courtesy iMuscle2)

The iliopsoas can be overused from things that involve repetitive hinging between the lower back and upper leg, such as over doing sit-ups, lots of uphill running, or from climbing lots of steps. The bursa that sits behind the muscle and/or the associated tendons can become inflamed, causing an intense pain in the groin area, especially during exercises such as high knee lifts.

The injury requires rest and cold treatments until the pain subsides. Stretching the hip flexors with lunges, prone and kneeling waist and hip stretches can also help speed up the process. Care needs to be taken not to overdo those as well or it too can become detrimental to progress.

This is a tricky injury, because it is one where the pain can disappear during stretching or training, but reappear and possibly become more inflamed right afterwards. It is critical that it is rested right away and if not rested properly can become chronic and increasingly difficult to treat.

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Originally slated for a 4th April return back in the middle of March, Ox’s return is now estimated to be for the 4th May match at Hull City however as he hadn’t returned to training by last week that seems unlikely.

This has been constantly re-evaluated and pushed back – which is the frustrating part that we see. It’s quite possible that he’s a victim of his own youthful over-exuberance, which is typical when rest is a key part of the healing process.

Surgery has also been mentioned as a possible solution if rest is not effective.