HEALTH & FITNESS ARTICLES
Prevention of Groin InjuriesGroin Pain and Groin Pull Injury
A Guide for the Treatment
& Prevention of Groin Injuries!
Groin pain; Groin strain; Groin pull injury; or Adductor strain. Call it what you want, the fact is, it's a very common muscle strain injury that currently plagues sports like soccer, basketball, football, hockey, track & field and racquet sports.
The groin, described as the junction between the lower limbs and torso, is vulnerable to a lot of different injuries. Hernias, stress fractures, and avulsion fractures are all common injuries that affect the groin, but for this issue we'll be focusing on one of the most common groin injuries; groin pull or groin strain.
In this issue I'm going to take a slightly different approach to the way I usually write these articles. Firstly, I'm going to talk briefly about what a groin pull is, what causes a groin pull and what to do to prevent a groin pull. Then I'm going to reproduce a detailed management plan for the correct treatment and complete rehabilitation of a groin strain.
This detailed management plan comes from one of my old university text books, called "Modern Principles of Athletic Training" by Daniel D. Arnheim. It's one of those 900 page door-stoppers, but it's the book I refer to most for information on sports injury prevention and rehabilitation. It's extremely detailed and a valuable resource for anyone who works in the health and fitness industry. So...
What is a Groin Pull?
Depending on the severity, a groin pull can range from a slight stretching, to a complete rupture of the muscles that attach the pubic (pelvis) bone to the thigh (femur) bone.
A groin pull or strain specifically affects the "Adductor" muscles. (Adductor; meaning, moves part closer to the midline, or middle of the body) These muscles are located on the inside of the thigh, and help to bring the legs together.
The adductor muscles consist of "Adductor Brevis", "Adductor Magnus" and "Adductor Longus," all of which are displayed in the picture to the right. Adductor Longus has been cut to display the muscles underneath.
Of these three, it is Adductor Longus that is most susceptible to injury, and the most common place of injury on Adductor Longus is the point at which the muscle and tendon attach to the femur (thigh) bone.
Competitors that participate in sports that require a lot of running or rapid change in direction are most susceptible to groin injuries. Other activities like kicking, jumping and rapid acceleration or deceleration also place a lot of strain on the groin muscles.
Another activity that puts a lot of strain on the groin is any movement that results in a sudden pressure being applied. Such as a fall, landing awkwardly, twisting, or bending while stress is applied to the groin muscles.
How to Prevent a Groin Pull?
The basis of prevention comes down to two simple factors. A thorough warm-up and physical conditioning, ie: flexibility & strength.
Firstly, a thorough and correct warm up will help to prepare the muscles and tendons for any activity to come.
Secondly, flexible muscles and tendons are extremely important in the prevention of most strain or sprain injuries. When muscles and tendons are tight and stiff, it is quite easy for those muscles and tendons to be pushed beyond their natural range of movement, which can cause strains, sprains, and pulled muscles.
To keep your muscles and tendons flexible and supple, it is important to undertake a structured stretching routine. For a comprehensive reference of over 100 clear photographs of every possible sports related stretch, get a copy of The Stretching Handbook. If you're interested in stretches for the groin, The Stretching Handbook has over 7 different stretches you can do.
And thirdly, strengthening and conditioning the muscles of the groin will also help to prevent groin strain. There are a number of specific strengthening exercises you can do for these muscles, like cable adductions and machine adductions.
A Complete Treatment and
Management Plan for Groin Strain
The following is a very thorough and detailed management plan for the full recovery and rehabilitation of a groin strain. As mentioned earlier, it's taken directly from "Modern Principles of Athletic Training" by Daniel D. Arnheim.
Considering this management plan was written over ten years ago, my only addition would be the reduction of ice therapy and the addition of massage and heat therapy during the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th phase. Regardless of my suggestions, the following will be extremely useful for anyone who is, or has suffered from a groin strain.
Symptoms & Signs:
There was major point tenderness in the groin, especially in the region of the adductor magnus muscle. There was no pain during passive movement of the hip, but severe pain did occur during both active and resistive motion. When the groin and hip were tested for injury, the hip joint, illiopsoas, and rectus femoris muscles were ruled out as having been injured; however, when the athlete adducted the hip from a stretch position, it caused here extreme discomfort. Management Plan: Based on the athletic trainer's inspection, with findings confirmed by the physician, it was determined that the athlete had sustained a second-degree strain of the groin, particularly to the adductor magnus muscle.
Optional: Flutter kick swimming once daily.
Criteria for Returning to Competitive Basketball:
As measured by an isokinetic dynamometer, the athlete's injured hip should have equal strength to that of the uninjured hip. Hip has full range of motion. The athlete is able to run figure-8s around obstacles set 5 feet apart at full speed. -------------------------------
Article by Brad Walker. Brad is a leading stretching and sports injury consultant with over 15 years experience in the health and fitness industry. For more articles on the prevention & treatment of sports injury, subscribe to The Stretching & Sports Injury Newsletter by visiting: www.TheStretchingHandbook.com.