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Groin Pain and Groin Pull Therapy

Today I wanted to address an injury that commonly affects youth and collegiate athletes along with recreational sport enthusiasts and weekend warriors such as myself. Groin pain often accompanies sports that include sprinting and excessive lateral forces such as football, soccer, volleyball, track and field, as well as cross-fit training.

What muscles make up the groin region and how do they get hurt?

The groin consists of a group of muscles called the adductors.

Adductor Muscles_Groin Muscles

These muscles include the pectineus, gracilis, adductor brevis, adductor longus, and adductor magnus. While there are multiple muscles that make up the groin, they commonly work together as a single unit. These muscles originate from our pubic bone (partially on the ischium for the adductor magnus) and attach to the femur (upper leg bone). The main job of these muscles is to decelerate the leg during both end range of motion hip flexion and extension. The adductors will also bring the leg the across midline in non-weight bearing positions such as when kicking a ball.

How do the adductors decelerate the leg?

Due to their origin on the pubic bone when we reach end range of flexion or extension, the adductors begin to become increasingly stretched. This stretch then triggers a slight contraction response that slows down the leg and initiates motion in the opposite direction. If the adductor muscles become weak or if an abnormally high force is imposed upon them from the glutes, hamstrings, or hip flexors, they can become excessively stretched and a resultant injury will occur. Pain that is felt in the middle of the groin is commonly a muscle pull, while pain that is felt higher up in the groin is usually a tendon strain. Depending on the severity of the pull or strain, symptoms will commonly alleviate within 2-6 weeks for most cases.

What can you do if you have suffered a groin pull or groin strain?

Recent research has shown that groin strains will respond very well to isometric exercises. Isometric exercises involve a sustained contraction of around 50-75% of total groin strength, and this contraction is commonly exerted against an object between the legs, such a ball or pillow. These isometric contractions are held for 45 sec. and repeated for 5 sets. Light strengthening exercises for the adductors are often very beneficial to help manage a groin pull. These kinds of exercises will help strengthen the adductors, increasing their ability to resist opposing forces while sprinting or performing quick lateral cuts.

Please see the attached video that demonstrates a couple effective exercises for both groin pulls and strains.

If you are currently suffering from groin pain or are experiencing pain that has lasted longer than 6 weeks, the Physical Therapists at Pro Physio can perform an extensive evaluation with you and help get you get back to your active lifestyle. Please visit our website at www.prophysiomt.com or give us a call at 406-577-2730.

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