What is a Groin Strain Injury?
A groin strain is a tear or rupture to any one of the adductor muscles. There are five adductor muscles, the pectineus, adductor brevis and adductor longus (called short adductors which go from the pelvis to the thigh bone) and the gracilis and adductor magnus (long adductors which go from the pelvis to the knee).
The main function of the adductors is to pull the legs back towards the midline, a movement called adduction. During normal walking they are used in pulling the swinging lower limb towards the middle to maintain balance. They are also used extensively in sprinting, playing football, horse riding, hurdling and any sport which requires fast changes in direction.
A rupture or tear in the muscle usually occurs when sprinting, changing direction or in rapid movements of the leg against resistance such as kicking a ball. This is especially likely if a thorough warm-up has not been undertaken first! Repetitive overuse of the groin muscles may result in adductor tendinopathy.
What can the athlete do?
- Apply R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) immediately.
- Use crutches if needed.
- Gently stretch the groin muscles provided this is comfortable to do so.
- See a sports injury professional who can advise on rehabilitation of the injury.
- For a suspected grade 3 strain seek professional help immediately.
What can a sports injury specialist or doctor do?
- Use ultrasound or laser treatment.
- Tape the groin to take the pressure off the area.
- Use sports massage techniques after the acute phase. This is extremely important.
- Operate if the muscle has torn completely.
- Advise on a rehabilitation program consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises.