There are 22 muscles that attach to each side of the pelvis so there are many muscles that can cause a groin strain. The most common muscles injured are the adductor muscles that sit on the inside of your thigh. The term groin covers a wide range of injuries as it is an umbrella term so I am going to focus of adductor groin strains. There are five main hip adductors including adductor magnus, brevis and longis, gracilis and pectineus; there is some debate as to which ones are involved with the adductor strain. The adductor muscles perform adduction of the leg, counteract rotation of the pelvis particularly during single leg stance and support the body when standing. Adductor strains are common in sports that require fast changes in direction such as football, ice hockey and basketball. In ice hockey, adductor strains account for 10% of all injuries.
The most common cause for an adductor strain is sudden eccentric loading of the adductor muscles. Another cause is overloading the adductor muscles due to weak core muscles or weak hamstrings.
Signs and Symptoms
There are three classifications of adductor strains
Grade I – painful without any loss of function or movement
Grade II – loss of strength and mobility but not a complete loss of function
Grade III – complete loss of function
Tenderness along length of the adductor muscle
Pain with adduction, abduction and resisted movements
Initially ice and compression. Adductor strains must not be ignored as early diagnosis and treatment will yield the best recovery. A Sports Therapist can use treatments including ultrasound, taping, TENS for pain control and rehabilitation exercises tailored to each patient. The rehabilitation will go through an increase in range of movement, strength of adductors, hamstrings and core muscles, proprioception and sport specific training.
It has been found that adductors should be no less than 80% the strength of the abductor muscles, this should be taken into consideration when exercising especially strength and weight training.