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.
What Causes a Groin Pull?
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.
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