Groin Strain

GROIN STRAININTRODUCTION:-A groin strain is a tear or rupture to any one of the adductor muscles. There are five adductor muscles, the pectineus, adductor brevis and adductor longus (called short adductors which go from the pelvis to the thigh bone) and the gracilis and adductor magnus (long adductors which go from the pelvis to the knee). The most common muscle to be injured is the adductor longus muscle which connects from the pubic ramus to the medial (inner) surface of the femur (thigh bone).

The main function of the adductors is to pull the legs back towards the midline, a movement termed adduction. During normal walking they are used in pulling the swinging lower limb towards the middle to maintain the bodys balance. They are also used extensively in sprinting, playing football, horse riding and hurdling. A rupture or tear in the muscle usually occurs when sprinting, changing direction or in rapid movements of the leg against resistance such as kicking a ball.

Groin pulls are often seen in athletics who participate in sports such as ice hockey and soccer. The injury appears to be related to factors including hip muscle strength, preseason conditioning, and previous injury. Because of this, proper conditioning is of utmost importance to prevent the occurrence of a groin strain injury.

Symptoms of groin strain


Tightening of the groin muscles that may not be present until the following day.

A sudden sharp pain in the groin area or adductor muscles during exercise.

Bruising or swelling (this might not occur until a couple of days after the initial injury)

Inability to contract the adductor muscles (squeezing the legs together or possibly lifting the leg out in front).

Pain on passive adduction or when stretching the muscles

Pain on resisted adduction

Pain on resisted hip flexion

A lump or gap in the adductor muscles may be felt

Grade 1, 2 or 3?

Groin strains are graded 1, 2, or 3 depending on how bad they are.

The athlete with a grade 1 strain might feel mild discomfort, possibly a little tenderness at a particular point but no swelling. No disability and does not limit activity.

A grade 2 strain might feel more painful with swelling, pain to touch, reduced range of motion and interference with running.

A grade 3 strain may be very painful, lots of swelling and total inability to run or even walk.

What other problems can cause similar symptoms?

A pulled groin is usually a clear diagnosis. Most athletes know what the injury is before they seek medical attention. However, other conditions can mimic the symptoms of a groin strain like- sports hernia, inguinal hernia, labral tears and low back aches (pinched nerves)

Groin strain treatment

What can the athlete do?

Apply  R.I.C.E.(Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) immediately.

Rest and use crutches if needed.

Visit physioline for rehabilitation of the injury.

P.S.:-For a grade 3 strains seek professional help immediately.

Physioline management

Electrotherapy- to reduce pain and inflammation

Advise on a rehabilitation programme consisting of

  • soft tissue treatment
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening (adductors)
  • Sports massage
  • Pelvic stabilization exercises
  • Core strengthening exercises.

 Rehabilitation differs for grade 1, 2 or 3 strains.