We’ve been seeing a fair bit of groin issues in our clinic recently! Including one of our own receptionists (who is a soccer superstar) right now!
This may be because a lot of people are in the thick of pre-season training and matches! Running, kicking, change of direction and rapid stop-starting are considered contributing factors to the development of groin pain. So it’s something your physio is likely to ask you about if this is your area of complaint!
Whilst it's not what we like to tell athletes, in the initial phase some rest from kicking and agility drills may be required! However that doesn’t mean we want you to stop completely! Your physio can work with you to figure out how to keep up your conditioning whilst you sort out this issue.
What muscles make up the groin?
Before getting into it - what area of the body are we actually dealing with?! What is the groin?
When people report groin pain, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals will often be looking to assess the adductor muscle group as a source. These muscles attach from the pelvis to the bones of the leg - both above and below the knee joint!
That said, our body is one system - pain in one area might be a result of an issue elsewhere! So we may also look to you hip joint, other surrounding muscles (i.e. glutes!) as well as trunk control. Our body segments are never truly working in isolation, so our mentality to assessment and rehabilitation shouldn’t work that way.
Introduction to Groin Rehab
Here I will discuss some commonly prescribed exercises and some progressions for people with groin pain! Do remember though that everyone is different and this article and others like it cannot substitute individual assessment and management! It’s important to have the history of your pain considered and your physical function assessed and monitored for optimal results. Everyone has different expectations and desires for what they want their body to do - so we need to work towards that specifically!
1. Isometric Adductor Squeeze
Iso-adding-what? Don’t stress - just think of it as ‘Knee hugs’
- Lie on your back
- Put a foam roller between your knees
- Give it a gentle squeeze for 10-15 seconds
- Relax for 5-10 seconds, and repeat!
By squeezing the roller you’re asking your inner thigh/groin muscles to do some work, without the muscle itself getting any shorter or longer. In the early days when pain is more of an issue, this may be an ideal starting point to calm things down a bit!
2. Bent Knee Opening
- Lie down
- Keep your pelvis still (use your hands to keep accountable here if necessary!)
- Let one thigh lower out with control
- Bring it back in!
The main thing here is we don’t want your low back rocking side to side, only the thigh is allowed to move!
Whilst it might look simple, some people have great difficulty distinguishing hip movement from their pelvis and lower back.
Soft Tissue Release Work
Have a painful, tight, stiff or otherwise gunky feeling area? Provide an input to change the output!
Working on a few soft tissue pieces may be beneficial in easing symptoms at rest or easing perceived stiffness or restriction through movement. There are many different options to try!
3. Glute Release
The Groin is near the hip, the Glutes are also near the hip...
Bit of love through the hip muscles can affect how movement feels for the better! Even without groin pain, jump up now and perform 12 steady squats. Self-assess how it feels - now spend a minute or two rolling around through each side gluteals! Find the yucky spots that make you want to pull a face and question why you’re doing this. Then jump back up, repeat your squats - how does it feel!?
4. Adductor Release
Now whilst you may have quite happily tolerated the glute work, adductor work may be a different story! When in pain people can experience muscle guarding - cause movement to feel restricted or that the muscle to touch is sore compared to the opposite side. Gently working on that area can work to ease that guarding!
Easiest way to do this is lie comfortable on your side, foam roller between your legs above your knee joint. Gentle rotate your top leg to change the area of pressure through the muscles. You can gently squeeze the roller also in certain spots to change the feeling.
What to remember
- If you have a niggly groin that isn’t getting any better, seek some guidance from your physiotherapist or other movement focused, allied health professional!
- Physiotherapy outcomes are about what you do! You could have the best program in the world written for you but if the work doesn’t get done, you don’t get better.
- Take deloading seriously. Physios generally don’t enjoy telling someone they can’t play sport or participate in whatever thing it is that gives them joy! We are making this recommendation so you can get back to playing and feeling 100% as soon as possible. If you jump back in too quickly, the more likely the issue isn’t going to be resolved properly and its just going to raise its head again!
- If prescribed rehab and are receiving ongoing monitoring from a physiotherapist, see it through! When prescribed anti-biotics, you finish the whole course even if your symptoms have subsided. Physical therapy is much the same, just because your pain is gone - doesn’t mean the issue is resolved and won’t come back!
If you have any question, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or if you wished to be assessed by myself or one of our awesome physios - contact our friendly reception team on (08) 8340 4932!