Brief Outline of Groin Strain
As with any strain, the groin strain (also known as rider’s strain) is a stretch or tear of any or all of the adductor muscles of the inner thigh or their tendons. Soccer, hockey and other sports that require pivoting and quick direction changes are the most common activities for groin pulls. These injuries range from simple stretching of the muscles to more severe tearing of the fibres. As with other strains it is graded 1 through to 3 with 3 being the most severe tear.
Anatomy and physiology
The groin area covers the inner thigh. The muscles involved include the pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, gracilis and adductor magnus. These muscles are responsible for pulling the leg in toward the midline of the body, and attach at the pelvis and the femur, some up high and others closer to the knee. Due to this location and fucntion, athletes involved in sports where the leg is moved forcefully inward or outward are more susceptible to this injury. Damage is usually to the musculo-tendinous junction about 5 cm from the pubis.
Cause of Groin Strain
Forceful stretching of the adductor muscles of the hip. Forceful contraction of he adductor muscles.
Signs and symptoms
Grade 1: Mild pain, stiffness in the adductor muscles, and little or no effect on athletic performance.
Grade 2: More painful, swelling, tenderness, limited range of motion, pain when walking or jogging.
Grade 3: Very painful, a lot of swelling, pain with weight bearing, sometimes pain at rest or at night.
Complications if left unattended
Untreated groin strains can lead to an awkward gait and chronic pain that could lead to injuries in other areas. A minor muscle tear could become more severe and eventually tear completely.
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Grade 3 strain may need to seek medical attention
Rehabilitation and prevention
After initial treatment, minor strains will respond to a gradual stretching and strengthening program. More serious strains will require additional rest and a slow entry back into activities with extra warm-up activities before each session.
Prevention of groin strains requires warming-up properly before activities, stretching for good flexibility in the adductors and strengthening of the abductor muscles, adductor muscles, abdominals, and hip flexors for good muscular balance.
Most groin strains will heal with no lingering effects. Only the most severe strains, with complete tears, require surgical correction.