This is a guest post from The Physio Centre, Shaftesbury - who specialise in treating a range of conditions including groin strain, supraspinatus tendonitis and sciatica, from their premises in Dorset, UK.
For more information on groin strain or physiotherapy in Dorset, please visit
The Physio Centre website.
Groin strain injuries can be extremely painful, and unless treated effectively, can have both serious and long-term effects. Groin strain injuries are also extremely easy to sustain, and can manifest themselves very quickly as a result of a single ill-advised movement, which makes them harder to prevent.
The term 'groin strain' encompasses bruising, over-stretching, wrenching or tearing of the groinal muscles – specifically the 'adductor' muscles of the thighs and hips. It's not confined to muscle damage, either: damage to the tendons, including irritation through rubbing or stretching, can also lead a groin strain injury.
The first (and easiest to prevent) potential cause of a groin strain is a lack of warm-up exercises, prior to strenuous activity. Warming up allows the adductor muscles to loosen, becoming more flexible, and therefore less likely to fray or split. In the interests of preventing a groin strain injury of your own, make sure you stretch carefully before jogging, running or playing sports.
Overuse of the groinal muscles can also be a weighty contributor to groin strain injuries, and is a problem often encountered by people who regularly go running or jogging for long periods of time. Even when the appropriate muscles are warmed up effectively prior to exercise, continuous use of the pelvic muscles can cause friction between the bones of your hip joints, and the muscles or tendons of your groin. To prevent a groin strain of this type, ensure that you allow plenty of time for your muscles to rest between periods of exercise.
Sudden, spontaneous movements can also cause damage to your groin. Anything that subjects the groin to significant force, be it G-force or an impact of some form, carries the risk of wrenching or tearing the adductor muscles. Landing awkwardly after a jump, spinning suddenly or moving suddenly in another direction, or moving from a walk into a sprint without a gradual build-up are all movements that carry significant risk of sustaining a groinal injury.
We often hear the phrase 'lift with your legs, not with your back' when shifting heavy objects. Poor posture when lifting or carrying heavy articles can cause strained or torn muscles and tendons, so this is one old saying that should be obeyed. Lifting with a bent back, or without sufficiently bent knees, can misalign your adductor muscles, placing them under additional strain – which, should it prove too much, will lead to a groin strain injury.
Sudden, forceful impacts are probably the most risky, but fortunately also the rarest, cause of a groinal injury. Players of contact sports such as rugby or American football regularly experience this type of strain – most often when a blow to the innermost side of the leg forces the limb out of line with the rest of the body. This overexerts the muscles and tendons at the top of the leg, potentially even resulting in torn tissue.
Groin strain can come as a shock, as many movements that we tend to carry out without thinking can cause damage to the adductor muscles. To give yourself the best chance of avoiding such injuries, however, ensure that you stretch thoroughly before exercise, make gentle or gradual transitions between movements where possible and always assure yourself of the correct posture before lifting anything heavy.
Most importantly, though – if you are unfortunate enough to sustain a groin strain injury, then be sure to listen to the advice of your physiotherapist.