Adduction-related groin pain
Groin pain is a common symptom among athletes. There are various causes. One common cause is an injury to the hip adductors. This is the group of muscles located on the inside of the thigh.
Injuries to the hip adductors are common among footballers and in sports such as running, volleyball, gymnastics, skating and dancing.
Description of condition
The hip adductors are the muscles that move the thigh inward (adduction). They are located on the inside of the thigh and originate from the hipbone (os coxae). The hip adductors are called the "adductor brevis", "adductor longus", "adductor magnus", "pectineus", "gracilis" and "obturatorius externus". Both the adductor longus and gracilis in particular are often affected by a groin injury.
In an adduction-related groin pain there is usually a problem with the tendons of the muscles in the area where they attach to the hipbone, or the muscle-tendon junction. The tendon may be inflamed (tendinitis), deteriorate in quality and structure (tendinosis) or may be strained or torn (rupture). This causes symptoms in the groin area.
Cause and history
The symptoms may develop either gradually or acutely. The acute form is associated with pain immediately once a person missteps or makes any other awkward movement. If the symptoms develop gradually, they are often first noticeable following exercise. At a later stage, the pain will also occur during exercise.
The exact cause of adduction-related groin pain is not known. It is thought that biomechanical abnormalities of the leg (e.g. foot position or difference in leg length), imbalance in the surrounding muscles of the hip, and muscle fatigue all increase the risk of adductor injuries. Increased muscle tension (hypertonicity) of the hip adductors appears to be an important factor that results in chronic groin problems.
Signs & symptoms
- Pain on the inside of the thigh, in the groin area.
- Pressing on the adductors and their attachment point can provoke the pain.
- The pain often radiates along the inside of the thigh. Sometimes it even radiates to the lower abdomen or genitals.
- inward movement of the leg increases the pain, particularly if this movement is forceful.
- Sometimes the patient will feel that their underwear is causing the symptoms.
- There is increased muscle tension in the thigh. This can cause a tight and hard feeling, particularly if the symptoms have existed for a longer period.
If the symptoms do not disappear on their own, the first important task is to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms. A physiotherapist can assist you in this. As soon as any tears have healed, the treatment consists of (eccentric) strength training of the hip adductors and a general exercise program for the muscles of the buttocks, legs and trunk. In addition, stretching exercises and physiotherapy techniques can be applied.
An exercise program for adduction-related groin pain includes (eccentric) strengthening of the hip adductors, stretching exercises and a general exercise program of the gluteal, leg and trunk muscles. See also exercises for adduction-related groin pain.
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Nugteren, K. van & Winkel, D. (2006). Onderzoek en behandeling van peesaandoeningen - tendinose. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.
Stappen, B.W.J. van der (2011). Diagnostische tekens bij een chronische liesblessure. Physios. 2011 jul; editie 2.