There are numerous muscles that attach to the bottom of your pelvic bone and each muscle has its own specific role, but generally all of these muscles work together to control your hip and knee position with various movements like running, jumping, landing, kicking and changing direction.
It is common to strain/tear your groin while doing one of these listed movements hence why it this injury is more common in sports like soccer, oztag or rugby league/union.
Why does the groin strain/tear?
The most common mechanism is a high velocity acceleration/deceleration movement which means the muscles in the hip, pelvis and knee have to rapidly contract/relax/contract to execute a fast, powerful movement e.g. kicking a ball.
When the muscle is unable to execute this effectively, the tissue gets put under a large amount of stress and can eventually fail due to this stress and cause a strain or even a tear.
How do I know if I’ve strained/torn my groin?
The key signs/symptoms of a groin strain or tear is a mechanism of injury i.e a pinpoint moment in which you felt the pain develop in the groin region e.g. stepped to change direction and felt a pull/sharp pain in the groin/ inner thigh region.
This is usually followed by a “tightness/pulling” sensation in the groin inner thigh and an increased awareness of the area. If the tear is significant, it may even cause you to limp when you walk for the next couple of days.
What should you do if you suspect that you have torn/strained your groin?
Go to your local health professional. Physiotherapists are trained in diagnosing and assessing the severity of these types of injuries and can inform you on the best plan of action for you.
How do you fix a torn/strained groin?
The rehab for a groin injury will vary depending on the muscles involved and the severity of the tear/strain. Foam rolling, light stretching and low intensity strengthening exercises should be applied in the early phase of rehab (first 1-2 weeks) and progressed as tolerated.
Once pain and tightness have improved, strengthening the groin muscles under higher loads through movement is necessary to improve the muscles load capacity to return to sport.
A good strength benchmark is being able to complete >15 reps of a ‘copenhaagen plank’ pain free without fatigue.
Other then strengthening the groin muscles, improving control/stability around the hip and knee during sport related performances (e.g. changing direction or kicking) is important in reducing excessive loading through the groin. Exercises such as lunges, single leg sit to stand/squats and hopping in various directions, done effectively, can help improve hip and knee control.
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