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  • Writer's pictureKeshia Petersen

The Infamous Groin Injury

Updated: May 24, 2019

A groin strain is an injury to the muscles of the inner thigh. It is a group of

muscles that brings your thighs together, this is called adduction.


The groin is known as the area that lies between your stomach and your inner thigh.

It is made up of 3 muscle groups –

Your abdominals, Hip flexors muscle and Adductors (bring thighs together).

Groin strains are common in sports where twisting, turning, kicking and sprinting occur; e.g., soccer, hockey, rugby, ballet, Ice skating.


The three most common ways athletes injure their groins:

1. Direct trauma to the area, by a knock or hit, which results in bruising of the superficial soft tissue. Depending on the extent of the trauma will determine the extent of the injury and impact the recovery.

2. A Strong forceful contraction of the groin in a stretched out position. For example kicking a ball in soccer, a ballet dancer leaping across the stage, a hockey player reaching to get to a ball.

3. Repetitive overloading of the groin with short recovery, this can lead to micro tears in the muscle resulting in a tear.

You will experience pain and tenderness along your inner thigh along the muscle belly. The area is most commonly located to the weakest point of the muscle (musculotendinous junction). You will experience pain when you squeeze your thighs together.


This is a mild “pull” in the muscle, associated with no swelling. You will still be able to continue with your sport at a low training intensity. Your strength is not compromised but your range of movement will be, which is why we as physiotherapists recommend you rest from your sporting activity for a few days to allow the muscle fibres to heal.

Recovery from a grade 1 strain is up to 4 weeks before return to sport is allowed. This is important as we need to address and predisposing factors which will be picked up by your physiotherapist.

This has a few more muscle fibres torn, You will be able to explain a specific event associated with the injury and most athletes complain of a a stabbing pain with associated swelling around the torn area.

A few days later bruising will be evident around the tear The athlete will mention that they feel weakness with walking and rotation movements they may do ( getting into and out of the car, turning in bed).

Rehabilitation will be 6-8 weeks, this is a lengthy period for you to be out of action but it is necessary to ensure the muscle fibres heal in the correct position and you feel safe in your return to your sport.

A full tear of the groin is quite obvious, there will be immediate weakness with associated swelling and bruising which will develop within a few minutes.

It will feel as though your muscle is bunched together.

Surgical intervention may be considered depending on where the tear has occurred this is by advice by a Sports Physician or Surgeon to ensure correct healing of the torn muscle.

Rehabilitation is dependent on the plan set out by the Sports Physician or surgeon but can be anywhere from 3 - 6months.


By this stage you are probably asking what should you be doing to prevent a groin injury?

Some injuries are inevitable due to everyone being built differently.

The initial management is essential, the RICE acronym is important; REST the area, ICE to minimise swelling and bruising, COMPRESSION of the injured area which assists with swelling, ELEVATION to stop any blood from pooling around the injury.


Our Physiotherapy management consists of guiding you safely through your injury, identifying high risk factors and addressing them in the rehab sessions

The first few weeks we need to regain your hip range of movement and control the swelling, this is important to ensure full recovery within the healing time frame.

Strengthening can only begin once you have pain free hip range of movement

Once your pain starts decreasing your physiotherapist will start changing the exercises and the load placed on the groin.

When you have full range of movement the aim is then directed to sports or activity specific strength and endurance exercises.

You will be able to start activity specific exercises and graduated return to play.

We as physiotherapist always put our patients’ best interest at heart.

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