Pulled Groin Muscle
A pulled groin muscle is a common sports injury in athletes who find themselves twisting and turning in their sport, such as tennis, racquet ball and football. A pulled groin muscle is also called a groin strain and is located between the torso and the leg. The muscles that are affected are the adductor muscles. These are the muscles on the inside of the legs and are responsible for pulling the legs together.
The adductor muscles are used in swimming, football, sprinters and soccer players. They play an important role in the use of the legs to perform the role required for the athlete in kicking, sprinting and sudden direction changes.
In a pulled groin muscle injury the adductor muscles are pulled, stretched or strained beyond their normal abilities. Severe strains pull the muscles to the point where the fibers tear and can even result in the entire muscle tearing. Most commonly a pulled groin muscle is more moderate or mild resulting in some of the fibers tearing but not the entire muscle.
A pulled groin muscle is determined to be a grade 1,2 or 3 which helps to determine the rehabilitation and treatment necessary for recovery. A Grade 1 strain results in some mild discomfort and no disability. A Grade 2 strain results in moderate discomfort, swelling and bruising and the athlete is limited in their ability to perform functions. If there is a Grade 3 strain there is a severe injury that causes pain while walking, muscle spasms, bruising and swelling.
As with any other muscle pull or strain you should apply the R.I.C.E. method to initial treatment. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Rest does mean total rest for as many hours as you can manage. If this is a Grade 1 injury rest means no athletic activity. For Grade 2 or 3 you will want to attempt to stay off your feet for at least one day. Apply ice to the area and elevate your legs while using compression bandages to support the muscle groups.
Once you are past the initial couple of days you will monitor your pain level. The pulled groin muscle resulted from a strain or extension of the muscle beyond its current ability. Once the pain is gone you will want to increase the stretch and strength of the muscle to prevent this particular injury from happening again.
It is important to be evaluated by your physician who can also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to help decrease the inflammation and speed the healing. A visit to a physical therapist after the pain has subsided will help you to learn individualized exercises and stretches specific to your situation. This will help you to strengthen the proper muscles and help to prevent this condition from reoccurring.
This type of injury is common in athletes who don’t take the time to warm up their muscles. Warmed muscles have a greater ability to withstand sudden changes in direction, stretching and increased movement. Muscles that are cold and stiff may tighten up when asked to stretch or change direction quickly which only tears at the muscle fibers resulting in a pulled groin muscle.
When you incorporating stretching and strengthening into your routine you must remember to strengthen not only the adductor group of muscles but also the opposing abductor muscles, or those that pull the legs outward. When you strengthen one group without strengthening the opposing group of muscles you are only asking for another injury to occur since one muscle group becomes significantly stronger than the opposing group.
You can compare this imbalance to a balanced scale. If one side has more weight than the other the scale is tipped in the favor of the heavier side. The lighter side is unable to do the job and therefore is more likely to become injured.
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