A groin strain is a tear of the adductor muscles on the inside of the thigh. It is often referred to as a ‘pulled groin muscle’, or a ‘groin pull’. A sudden sharp pain is felt which can range from a mild to very severe.
Groin strain symptoms vary depending on the type and severity of your injury and include:
- Sudden sharp pain on the inside of the thigh which ranges from mild discomfort, to severe.
- Symptoms may be felt either in the belly of the muscle or higher up where the tendon attaches to the pelvis.
- Often pain is felt when sprinting or changing direction quickly.
Groin strains are graded 1 to 3 depend on severity.
Although muscle strains can occur randomly there are factors which can increase the likelihood of sustaining a groin strain. These include:
- Not warming up properly.
- Weak and/or Tight adductor muscles
- Previous injury to adductors or Lower back injuries/dysfunction
- Biomechanical factors
Strains usually occur when sprinting or changing direction quickly. Or during rapid movements of the leg against resistance.
Overstretching the muscle such as in martial arts high kicks can also cause a torn adductor muscle.
There are five groin (adductor) muscles. Three of them are called the ‘short adductors’ (pectineus, adductor brevis, and adductor longus). The other two are known as the ‘long adductors’ (gracilis and adductor Magnus).
The main function of the adductor muscle group is to pull the leg back towards the midline (adduction).They also stabilize and control the pelvis during walking and running. They are especially important in any sport which requires rapid changes in direction.The adductor muscles on one side keep the pelvis level while the adductor muscles on the opposite side are used to move the leg.
Sports massage may be beneficial once the acute stage has passed (after 72 hours) by releasing tension in the muscle and encouraging blood flow and nutrients.
Caution is advised as massaging an injury too soon may increase the bleeding and may make the injury worse.
After the initial acute stage of the injury has passed, a comprehensive rehabilitation program should begin.
This is especially important to avoid recurrent Groin strains.
Exercises should always be pain-free, starting with gentle static stretches where you eases into the stretch and hold.
Strengthening exercises aim to gradually increase the load through your muscles, within the limits of pain.
Before returning to full competition fitness, sports related and movement control exercises should be done.
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