Common Running Injuries - Groin Strain

Common Running Injuries - Groin Strain

Often the cause of a groin strain may be a quick start to a race or a sudden turn, twist or skip such as on a cross country course.

Muscle or tendon strain in the groin area is a fairly common injury among runners and, if it is only a simple strain, then osteopathic treatment can usually sort out the problem.


Groin pain in general, however, can be due to numerous other causes, such as iliofemoral or genitofemoral nerve entrapment, inguinal hernia, stress fracture of the femur neck or pubic ramus, and others. So it is important to get a correct diagnosis from a sports specialist.


Groin strain itself can involve muscle and/or tendon strain of the upper thigh, pelvis and lower abdomen. The most common muscles to be strained are the adductor muscles of the inner/upper thigh. Other muscles that can be involved are the pectineus, rectus femoris, psoas major, iliacus, sartorius and gracilis.




Cause


Any strain, often referred to as a ‘pull’, involves the tearing of muscles or tendons, ranging from tiny tears to complete rupture. Strains result from overuse, or from a sudden excessive stress put on the area.


Often the cause of a groin strain may be a quick start to a race or a sudden turn, twist or skip such as on a cross country course.


However, it could simply be due to chronic overuse - too much running with not enough rest, stretching or maintenance massage.


Groin strain produces pain on stretching and usually on running. The pain may vary considerably from a mild ache to a very sharp pain that forces you to stop running.




Treatment


An acute injury should be iced three or four times a day for 15 minutes each time. After a few days, switch to alternate hot and cold showers (one minute hot, then one minute cold, repeated three times), three or four times a day.


It is important to get the condition treated as soon as possible by a skilled therapist, even though you may not really feel like having someone prodding around in your groin area if the pain is acute.



"I’ve seen runners who have struggled on with this injury for many months before going for treatment"




Early treatment means you’ll get over the problem much quicker. I’ve seen runners who have struggled on with this injury for many months before going for treatment, by which time the muscles have become chronically contracted and fibrous and the treatment is much more painful and prolonged.

Mild strains often heal in a couple of weeks, but very severe ones may even require some time on crutches. Deep (but sensitive and skilled) soft tissue trigger point and massage therapy usually overcomes the problem fairly quickly. Stretching, though very important for preventing the problem recurring, should be done with caution, and only if your osteopath or other therapist advises you to do so. Returning to training should also be very gradual and under supervision.



Prevention


Prevention involves maintenance treatment by your osteopath or sports massage therapist to reduce any bio-mechanical problems you may have. Self-massage and regular stretching are also very important. Beware that you are not overtraining.



Graeme Stroud ND, MRN, DO, ACOH is an osteopath, naturopath, certified zen body therapist and a qualified healer.

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Graeme Stroud ND, MRN, DO, ACOH is an osteopath, naturopath, certified zen body therapist and a qualified healer.



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