Are you experiencing Groin Pain?

Groin pain is a common injury sustained in sports involving kicking and quick acceleration, deceleration and change in direction. More specifically, groin pain is one of the most common injuries in football and in the top three injuries in AFL. Athletes are more likely to develop groin pain if they’ve had a previous groin injury, they’re playing at a high level, have reduced hip adduction strength and do minimal sports specific training.

The pain can arise from many structures surrounding the groin area. The most common classifications of groin pain are: adductor related, iliopsoas related, inguinal related, pubic related and hip related.

The adductor muscles run along the inside of your thighs and control the movement of the leg coming towards the body. So actions like kicking, twisting, turning and side to side movements are often painful in people with adductor related groin pain. The hip flexor, iliopsoas, often causes groin pain when on stretch and when activated with straight line running. The inguinal ligament travels from the pelvic bone down to the pubic bone and can become painful during coughing or sit ups. Lastly, pubic related groin pain is simply local tenderness on the pubic bone and bones immediately surrounding it.

So how do we treat this?

Initially we want to protect the tissues, control pain and normalise movement before progressively loading the joints and muscles. We address the deficits in muscle function and start therapeutic exercises with low load and high reps. Throughout the next two phases, we train and load the muscles appropriate to the sport our patient wishes to return to. This involves improving muscular endurance, strength and control, as well as sport specific training and of course preventing re-injury.

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