Groin injuries are typically associated with sports that require explosive movement like track, soccer, and hockey. But one new fitness routine has led sore athletes to the doctor as well. “More recently, I’ve been seeing CrossFit athletes with groin pain,” said Dr. Jeffrey S. Hoadley, an Atlanta-based surgeon who specializes in groin injuries and is a certified CrossFit trainer.
Six muscles in the inner thigh, called the adductors, make up the groin. When the adductors are stretched too far, often while jumping, running, or quickly changing direction while running, muscle fibers can get small tears in them. This injury to the muscle fibers is a groin pull. Depending on the severity of the pull, recovery may take 16 weeks or more.
How to prevent it:
Researchers don’t all agree on what might predispose an athlete to a groin pull. Some studies blame weak hips, previous injury to the area, and inexperience at specific sports as risk factors. Newer studies highlight the importance of core strength in preventing groin injuries.
“The theory is that there’s an imbalance between the strength of the lower extremities and the strength of the core,” Hoadley says. “Someone who can maintain a balance between the two is going to have a lower incidence of developing these kinds of injuries.”
Because core muscles and adductors all connect to the pelvis, one muscle group will directly affect the other. “If the adductor can’t keep up with the abs or the abs can’t keep up with the adductor, you’re set up for an injury,” Hoadley says.
Hoadley recommends some of the following dynamic stretching exercises, as well as a strengthening routine that focuses on the core and leg muscles .
1. Front Leg Swing
Swing one leg back and forth out in front and behind you. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
2. Side Leg Swing
Face a wall. Leaning with both hands against the wall, swing one leg across your body from side to side. Repeat 10 times on each leg.