Groin Pain in Runners and Walkers
Chelsea Hall PT, DPT
Fit For Life Physical Therapy
Groin pain in runners & walkers is not the most common injury compared to other body parts like the knees and ankle/foot. Studies have found that they occur in less than 2% of runners’ injuries. Although it is not as common, it is important to find the root cause so you can start your successful recovery.
Groin pain can be due to the adductor muscles, hip flexors, rectus abdominus or “6 pack muscle,” a stress fracture in your femur, or impingement or pinching deeper in your hip. Due to the complexity of this area, it is important to be evaluated by a doctor or a Fit For Life Physical Therapist to determine the nature of your pain.
This article will address groin pain related to the adductor muscles. The adductor muscles are located in the upper thigh and consist of 3 muscles: adductor longus, brevis, and magnus. The adductor muscle that is most commonly injured in runners & walkers is the adductor longus. This is due to the fact that as the tendon attaches to the pelvis, it rapidly narrows which makes it prone to injury. This muscle helps with flexing the hip when you initially swing the leg forward while running.
Who is more prone to adductor related groin injuries? The American Journal of Sports Medicine determined that those athletes with adductor weakness were more likely to strain this muscle and found little to no relationship with adductor flexibility and injury.
Curious if the adductor muscle is causing your groin pain? While it is best to be fully evaluated by a medical professional, a quick test can be to lay on your back, put a ball or foam roller between your knees, and squeeze it. If you have pain with this motion, it can at least in part be due to the adductor muscles.
Research also supports a progressive strengthening program for adductor related groin pain. In comparison to stretching and massage, a progressive strengthening program returned ~80% of participants to their prior level of sport compared to the 13% with stretching and massage. While each program should be tailored specifically to their individual weaknesses, the following demonstrate a gradual progression in exercises targeting the adductor muscles.
Ball squeeze between knees: 10x 10 second holds
Hip adduction leg lifts: 3x10
Standing adduction with resistance: 3x10
In addition to strengthening the adductors, it is important to also address the hip abductors and core strength. Taking a look at running form and cadence can also be helpful as those who overstride are more prone to adductor strains.
If you have tried these recommendations and are still having pain with running or walking, Fit For Life Physical Therapy is here to help! Our specialized physical therapists can evaluate your running form, determine if you have muscle imbalances (weak or tight muscles), provide you an individualized exercise program to improve your running or walking, and work with Fleet Feet to give you footwear recommendations…all to keep you pain free.
If you need more advice regarding your groin pain or any other ache or pain, please contact us.
Fit For Life Physical Therapy cares for people of all activity levels - to help prevent, recover from, or rehabilitate sports & orthopedic injuries. We are proud to move people every day.
Please visit our website https://www.fitforlifephysicaltherapy.com/, email us at email@example.com, or call or text us at any of the phone numbers for our three convenient locations inside Fleet Feet + FrontRunner stores:
Polaris: 1270 East Powell Road Lewis Center, Ohio 43035 ~ 614-981-2065
Upper Arlington: 1344 West Lane Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43221 ~ 614-981-1979
New Albany: 5792 North Hamilton Road, Columbus, Ohio 43230 ~ 614-581-7441