Best 5 Exercises for a Groin Strain
A groin strain, also known as a pulled groin or an adductor strain, is a common injury that occurs when the muscle(s) in the groin area become overstretched or torn. The groin muscles, or adductors, are located on the inside of the thigh and are responsible for moving the legs towards the midline of the body.
A groin strain typically occurs during activities that involve sudden changes in direction or rapid acceleration, such as running, jumping, or kicking. It can also occur during activities that involve repetitive movements of the legs, such as cycling or rowing. It can also be torn from being over-stretched too aggressively (this actually happened to me while stretching prior to rugby training many years ago).
Symptoms of a groin strain can include:
- Pain or tenderness in the groin area.
- Occasionally there is swelling or bruising in the groin or inner thigh.
- Pain while walking.
- Pain while lifting your leg, especially getting in and out of a car.
- Muscle weakness or stiffness.
A popping or snapping sensation at the time of injury followed by immediate pain in the inside of the groin.
In the acute phase, or early stage, we recommend a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). The goal of treatment is to reduce pain and inflammation, promote healing, and prevent further injury. Rest: It is important to rest the affected area and avoid activities that may aggravate the injury. This may involve taking a break from sports or other physical activities for a period of time. Ice: we’ll discuss this later as part of one of the exercises. Compression: Using a compression bandage or wrap can help to reduce swelling and provide support to the affected area. Elevation: Elevating the affected area above the level of the heart can also help to reduce swelling and promote healing.
Once the acute phase has finished, we’ll gladly see you at Surrey Physio. We can perform LASER, massage, and ultrasound to help improve the healing. Once the pain has settled, we’ll advise you what you need to do to return to play, and to get your groin as strong as possible.
One study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that physiotherapy was effective in reducing pain and improving function in people with adductor-related groin pain, a common type of groin strain injury. The study involved 55 participants who received six weeks of physiotherapy treatment, including manual therapy, exercise therapy, and patient education. The researchers found that the participants experienced significant improvements in pain, function, and quality of life following treatment.
Best 5 Exercises for a Groin Strain
1. Ice to the Inside of the Hip
Wrap an ice pack or pack of frozen peas around the inside of your thigh. Be careful that its not too cold, you may need to wrap it in a thin towel. Using ice can help reduce inflammation and pain. Hold for 10 minutes and repeat twice per day.
Do the following 4 exercises when your pain has gone, to strengthen your groin muscles:
2. VMO Adductor Strengthening
Turn your leg outwards, and then lift it off the floor/bed. You will feel a pull on the inside of your leg. You can either keep a sustained hold, or move your hip up and down but without resting at the floor. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, and repeat three times.
3. Multi Directional Band Strengthening
With an exercise band secured around your ankle, and the other end anchored to a fixed object behind you, move the leg forwards and then kick (straighten the leg) to create resistance in the band. Start in front of you, then at a 45-degree angle to each side, and work through different angles. This exercise will strengthen the hip flexor muscles, but also improve the balance and stability of your other leg. Repeat for 30 seconds, three times.
4. Magic Circle / Pilates Ring
Lie down, and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the ground. Squeeze a magic circle between your thighs. You will feel the pressure on the insides of your thighs. This exercise is a strengthening exercise for the adductor muscle group. Repeat 10 reps, three times. To buy the Pilates Ring, go to www.rehabme.com/shop.
5. Copenhagen Adductor Plank
Rest on your side, with your bottom leg and elbow bent to 90 degrees. Place your top leg on a chair or high step. Lift your pelvis from the floor. Elevate your bottom leg so your knees touch. Hold this position, and relax. Repeat as required. This is a strengthening exercise for your adductor or inner thigh muscle. Hold for 20 seconds, and repeat three times.
It is important to seek support from Surrey Physio if you experience a groin strain. Consult us around 1-2 weeks after the injury. We’ll advise you on how best to recover, and use a number of treatment modalities to ensure you make a good recovery.
(Therapists, osteopaths, sports therapists, chiropractors reading this page… if you love the exercises here, then please check out the amazing exercise prescription tool www.rehabmypatient.com. You can sign up for a free 14-day trial, and it’s affordable to buy, with pricing starting from £11.23 per month.
For more info on adductor strains, check out this guide: https://www.rehabmypatient.com/hip/adductor-strain
If you are a patient and you’ve strained or torn your groin or adductor muscle, please call us to book an appointment with one of our amazing Surrey Physio team members. We have an awesome team of therapists to help you recover from pain, and get you back to living a normal life. Call us on 0208 685 6930 or click the link at the top to book online.)