New Years resolutions and summer outdoors activities can be the perfect storm for injury as you get more active and try to live up to the promises you make to yourself to ‘get in shape’. If you haven’t been keeping up with exercise over the winter, jogging, playing basketball, hiking or riding your bike may result in a struggle for your body to meet the sudden and intense demands placed on it to perform. Such issues as a pulled groin may result.


Understanding the Groin Muscle Group

Groin muscles consist of a group of six muscles known as adductor muscle group that span from the pelvis to the inner thighbone. They are responsible for pulling the legs together (a movement known as adduction), and for supporting hip-joint movements that include walking, running, sprinting or playing any sport that makes rapid directional changes.


How Do Groin Pulls Occur?

By definition, a strain or pull of a muscle means the muscle has been stretched too far.  Strains can range from mild cases where there is no tear in the muscle fibers to the severe where tissues are damaged by complete tears of the muscle fibers.

Groin strains or pulls can be caused from any physical activity that:

  • requires a quick change of direction or rapid leg movements such as kicking a ball
  • over stretches the muscle that can happen in high kicks in martial arts
  • has lateral side-to-side movements such as playing soccer

Damage to the groin muscles can also result when there is an imbalance between strengthening and stretching the muscles. Too much strengthening can cause the muscles to become shorter and less flexible. Too much stretching can leave muscles vulnerable to injuries due to lack of strength and support.



Groin pulls generally do not have visible evidence of damage. In acute strains, there can be sharp and sudden pain deep within the groin area or higher up in the pelvic area that stops the ability to continue activity.  Milder forms of injury can result in discomfort that is felt when walking. More intense damage can result in more pronounced pain that might be accompanied by bruising and swelling.


What to do about it?

Initial treatment usually involves rest, ice and compression to address the acute stage of healing. This is followed up with a rehab program that includes stretching, strengthening, and targeted exercises to restore full function.

During the rehab stage, Sports Massage is a vital healing modality that can release tension in the muscle and stimulate blood flow, help flush out toxins, prevent scar tissue formation, and directionally realign the muscle fibres to promote healing.

Some techniques used include electrotherapy (ultrasound), thorough massage of the groin area including kneading movements to help loosen muscle fibres as well as sustained application of pressure to help smooth out any knots in the muscles. Circular friction can also be used to help soften any tightness in the muscles.

Prevention measures against groin injury include strengthening and core exercises as well as functional workouts that involve running, hopping, and directional change movements.

In addition to supporting recovery from a groin injury, sports massage is a good option for injury prevention. It can be part of an effective and safe pre and post exercise/training program.

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