I have reinjured the same groin muscle three times now. Each injury is a little worse than the last and takes a little longer to heal. Is there anything I can do to stop this cycle? Track and field training is about the start and I don't want to miss it.
Groin pain is serious business for athletes trying to stay in the game or on the field. Adductor muscle strain seems to top the list as far as causes for groin pain go. The adductor muscles are located along the inner thigh. There are six different muscles and any one or combination can be affected.
The first thing to do is make sure the tissues have healed fully before jumping back into activities and exercises that can aggravate the problem. The temptation to play through the pain can lead to worse problems later. In your case, it may be running while in pain is part of the picture.
Studies show that muscle weakness and loss of flexibility can contribute to adductor muscle injuries (and reinjuries). When it comes to muscle weakness as a cause of groin injuries, decreased hip abduction (moving the leg away from the body) is a problem. And adductor muscle strength being weaker than the hip abductors is also linked with adductor muscle strains.
The adductor muscles move the leg toward the body. The abductor muscles do the opposite (move the leg away from the body). So, in other words, when the abductor muscles are stronger than the adductor muscles, the risk of an adductor strain goes up dramatically.
An incorrect rehab program can be a risk factor. Adductor strengthening is important. This can be done with a variety of exercises such as squeezing different size balls between the legs, using a sliding board, and working against the resistance of various strengths of elastic bands. Sports-specific training refers to mimicking the type of activities required by the game that put stress on the adductor muscles.
You will be ready to progress to the final phase of sports-specific training when two conditions are met. First, the passive motion of the injured leg is equal to the uninjured leg. And second, the injured adductor muscles have 75 per cent of the strength of the abductor muscles on the same side.
When all three phases of recovery and rehabilitation have been completed, then it is safe to return to practice and finally, competition. Maintaining prevention program as outlined is important in avoiding any recurrence of this problem.
Working with a physical therapist or an athletic trainer is a good idea. They can help identify the specific problem(s) that might be holding you back and get you past this hump of recurrent strains before it's too late and a chronic problem develops.
Timothy F. Tyler, MS, PT, ATC, et al. Groin Injuries in Sports Medicine. In Sports Health. May/June 2010. Vol. 2. No. 3. Pp. 231-236.
*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.