What is it?
First of all, how does a groin strain happen? There are many ways that it can happen. What we see most often in the clinic is a strain from sprinting when pushing too hard, or from when you’re really tired hiking and you start to push through pain and irritation because you’re trying to get to that last mile. When your hips are getting really tired, your quads are getting tired, your hamstrings are getting tired, and the only muscle that you have left to be able to propel yourself forward is the groin muscle then it can become strained. The groin muscle, or the adductors, attach right on the inside of the knee and they come up and attach to the pelvis in the crotch area. Those muscles normally draw your leg from the outside to the inside, or from lateral to medial, but they do this crazy thing when your legs get really tired. They can actually bring it forward if it’s back and they can bring it back when it’s forward. So, if you’re really tired, or if your muscles are not warmed up properly before sprinting, this muscle gets strained and it can get overworked and overused.
What Can You do About It?
There are a few exercises that you can do to target some of the groin muscles in order to help them get strong, and not be quite so painful. The first exercise begins with sitting on the edge of a bench, table, or anywhere that you have your feet up off the ground. Next, rotate your foot out to the side and then back in in order to stretch that muscle a little bit, and then engage it. Your knee should stay bent throughout the exercise. This is really working the rotators but as you do this motion, it stretches the adductor muscles as well. It might be a bit uncomfortable but that is to be expected.
The second one that you would do is going to be lying on your side and it’s kind of an awkward position. You are going to straighten the bottom leg, cross over the top leg, and then lift the bottom leg when you do this. You will feel both the groin muscles engage in order to help stabilize you. You should do this to the point where it’s a little bit uncomfortable.
The last exercise that you’re going to do is lying down on your back this time. It is called a straight leg raise, but with your leg rotated out (external rotation). Simply rotate your toe out to the side, keep your leg straight, and then lift your foot up and down. You do not have to go super high, just lift to the opposite leg and back down, but make sure your toes stay turned out.
Do each of these exercises about 10 times, two or three sets a couple times a day. Getting the muscles working is going to be helpful but strains take time to heal so you need to do them for a couple of weeks. If you do them for a couple weeks and things are starting to get better, we’d love to hear about it, drop us a comment in the box below. If you do them and you’re not doing a whole lot better, we’d also love to hear about that. We’d love to be able to get you into the clinic and get you pain free so you can go back out to sprinting and hiking without pain. We look forward to hearing from you soon.