A Groin Strain is one of the most common injuries in sports, especially football. The term describes a strain of the Adductor muscles that are located on the inside of the thigh. The most commonly affected muscle involved in a strained groin is the adductor longus muscle.
The injury usually occurs when the muscle is forcibly stretched beyond its limits and the muscle tissue tears. A tear in a muscle is referred to as a strain and, depending on its severity, is classified as a first, second or third degree strain:
Grade 1: a small number of muscle fibres are torn resulting in some pain but allowing full function.
Grade 2: a significant number of muscle fibres are torn with moderate loss of function.
Grade 3: all muscle fibres are ruptured resulting in major loss of function.
The majority of groin strains are grade 2.
- Tenderness or pain in the groin area
- Spasm or shortening (tightness) of the groin muscles
- Pain on stretch of the groin muscles
- Pain on groin muscle contraction – thigh squeeze
With appropriate management, patients with minor groin strains can usually recover in one to three weeks. With larger tears, recovery may take four to six weeks or longer, depending on the severity.
Treatment for Groin Strains
Physiotherapy treatment for patients with this condition is vital to hasten the healing process, ensure an optimal outcome and decrease the likelihood of injury recurrence. Treatment may comprise:
- Exercise programs to stretch, self treat and improve proprioception, balance and strength (especially of the groin or gluteals)
- Biomechanical assessment
- Education / training advise/ phased return to exercise
- Activity modification advice
- Joint mobilisation
- Joint manipulation
- Spinal and pelvic realignment
- Deep tissue massage/myofascial release
- Dry needling /acupuncture
- Orthotic/insole advice
- Ice or heat treatment
- Clinical Pilates