Groin Pain: Adductor Strains in Athletes

Groin pain is a serious problem endured by athletes, especially in sports that involve kicking, quick accelerations/decelerations and sudden direction changes like football and hockey. The pain is classified as a range of conditions which can be caused by muscle strains, inginual hernias and hip-related injuries. Adductor strains, a type of groin pain, are increasingly becoming frequent, most likely because of hip-related problems.

Adductor Muscles and Groin Pain

The adductor muscles are found in the inner thigh. These muscles originate from the pelvis and insert into the inner aspect of the thigh and lower leg bones.
The main function of these adductors is to pull the legs back towards the midline, a movement called adduction. They stabilise and control the movement of the legs during leg movement.
A tear or rupture to any one of the adductor muscles resulting in inner thigh pain is referred to as adductor strain. The pain can range from very mild to completely debilitating.
The most common sports that put athletes at risk for adductor strains are football, soccer, hockey, basketball, tennis, figure skating, baseball, horseback riding, karate and softball.


Commonly, groin pain results from a sudden contraction of the groin muscles. Tension occurs through the groin. Too much tension from repetitive or high force can cause one or more adductor muscles to tear. Adductor strains range from a grade 1 to a grade 3 strain.
Grade 1 is when few muscle fibers are torn and result in some pain but muscles are still functioning. Grade 2 is when a significant number of muscle fibers are torn and muscles lose moderate function. Grade 3 is when all muscle fibers are ruptured and muscles lose major function.


Symptoms of adductor strain include:
•    Pain and tenderness in the groin and inside of the thigh
•    Pain when bringing legs together
•    Pain when raising your knee
•    Popping or snapping sensation during injury, followed by severe pain

Ignoring muscle strains or getting the wrong treatment can turn a minor problem into a more serious one. This can lead to chronic pain and loss of muscle function, which can put an end of a promising sports career.


The initial management of an adductor injury should include protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (PRICE). To prevent further injury, painful activities should be avoided. Seek help from your physiotherapist for further assistance.

How Physiotherapy Helps

Physiotherapy aims to promote tissue healing, restore movement, maintain or improve pelvic stability, restore muscle balance, prevent further injury and aid in resuming sporting activity.

Your physiotherapist may include electrotherapy, massage, specific exercises, and bracing.

Electrotherapy aids in tissue healing and pain relief. Massage reduces muscle spasm associated with pain. Stretching and strengthening exercises for adductor muscles provide strength and flexibility to reduce risk of re-injury. Bracing using groin straps can be effective in altering stresses through the adductor muscles to prevent further injury.

Don’t let groin pain ruin your play. It is especially important to seek treatment from a Perth physiotherapist near you as early as possible. Call Happy Physio at 9272 7359 today!