Groin injuries are extremely common among sportsmen and women and are strains to the muscles of the inner thigh. The medical term for the groin muscles is the ‘abductor muscles’, a group of six muscles that span from the thighbone to the inner pelvis.
As these muscles pull together and help with movements of the hip joint, the groin muscles are important to many different athletes, including football players, swimmers and runners.
When one of the abductor muscles is stretched too far it can result in injury and strain. Whilst less severe groin injuries pull the muscle beyond its normal limit, more severe groin injuries tear the muscle fibres and, in extreme cases, may tear the muscle itself. Typically groin injuries are the minor tears of muscle fibres, with the majority of the muscle tissue remaining intact and unhurt.
Despite groin strains being extremely common, there are certain actions athletes can take to help prevent groin strain and avoid sustaining an injury to the abductor muscles.
Warming up and stretching
To help avoid any type of sports injury it is essential that athletes warm up and stretch their muscles prior to performing. To help reduce the risk of contracting a groin strain the abductor muscles need to be warmed as warm and properly stretched muscles so there is an increased blood flow into the muscles, which will result in decreased muscle stiffness, prevent groin strain and improve performance.
Increasing the strength of the muscles results in the muscles being less prone to tears and injuries. This principle can certainly be applied to the abductor muscles, which by increasing their strength by doing exercises, can prevent groin strain and injuries.
This philosophy has been solidified by research, including a study that was published recently in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. The study informed that a group of professional hockey players experienced fewer injuries to the groin after they had participated in strength program aimed at specifically strengthening the abductor muscles to prevent groin strain.