Learn what you need to know about adductor strains
Kathy Weber, M.D., M.S.
Daphne R. Scott, PT, Dsc
- Muscle strains are the most common sports injury in the United States
- Groin strains represent about 10% of all hockey injuries
- 10%-20% of all soccer injuries involve the groin
- Sometimes referred to as a “pulled groin”
What you need to know
What is an adductor strain?
- The adductor muscle group is a group of five different muscles in the back, hip, and thigh. The essential function of these muscles is to pull the legs together and stabilize the knee and pelvis.
- A groin strain is most often a result of a tear or strain to the major inner thigh muscle, the adductor longus
Signs & symptoms
- Minor strains will induce pain and stiffness in the morning or at the onset of activity
- Pain and tenderness in the groin/inner thigh area
- Difficulty raising the leg or flexing the hip
- Pain when walking or changing directions quickly such as pivoting or cutting
- Severe strains will have swelling and/or bruising at the site of injury
When should I see a doctor or other professional?
- You should see a doctor if the pain keeps you from your normal routine
- You develop a rash or severe redness and bruising at the injury site
- If pain does not improve after two or three weeks of self-treatment
- Intense side-to-side motion that overstretches the muscle
- Sudden changes in direction or speed when running
- Poor technical mechanics or inadequate warm-upsprior to exercise
- Sports that require extensive side to side action such as soccer, hockey, and football have a higher groin injury rate
- People with a history of groin injuries or people recovering from a groin injury are more likely to have a recurrence
- People with muscle imbalances or tight muscles are more likely to overstretch or tear their adductor muscle
What you can do
- Always stretch and warm up prior to exercising to loosen muscles
- Ensure that you have allowed any previous groin injury to heal properly, to avoid a recurrence or worsening of the injury
- Always increase your workout intensity slowly over a period of weeks to avoid overusing the muscles
Recommendations for treatment and rehab
- Treatment for a strain involves active, pain-free rest, icing.
- An anti-inflammatory may be prescribed by your physician to reduce swelling and control pain
- A physician may refer you to Physical Therapy if warranted to address pain, swelling, decreased strength, flexibility and muscle imbalances.
- Most strains, if properly treated, typically heal in 4 to 6 weeks
What can I do to stay active?
- Participate in pain free activities only
- Pain-free activity such as cycling, elliptical trainer, swimming or circuit weight training without lower extremity exercise may be tolerated.Avoid all activity that causes any symptoms.