Injury Tip Sheet: Adductor Strain

adductor strainsLearn what you need to know about adductor strains
Kathy Weber, M.D., M.S.
Daphne R. Scott, PT, Dsc
Chicago, IL

Fast facts

  • 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

Risk factors

  • 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.


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