Groin pain in athletes – the sports physiotherapist’s perspectiveJune 23, 2017 | by Erik Torchia
Groin pain in athletes can be a frustrating injury, associating itself with significant time away from sport, as well as having high recurrence rates – even higher than ankle sprains. For this reason, there has been more recent development of research for the care and management of such pain. Here’s a look from the sport physiotherapist’s perspective.
WHO IS COMMONLY AFFECTED WITH GROIN PAIN, AND WHY?
Soccer, hockey, karate, and rugby are among the sports with the highest groin injury rates, potentially due to their explosive and multi-directional nature. It appears to be particularly noted in the male population, though that may be due to the limited numbers of females incorporated in the epidemiological studies.
Although not fully understood among clinicians and researchers, the mechanism to the injury often lies within the movement requirements of the sport. A study completed by Serner et al. in 2015 revealed some of the common mechanisms to the injury that included: kicking, change of direction, rapid acceleration/decelerations, jumping, and sprinting.
Modifiable risk factors that have been associated with groin injury include reduced hip adductor strength, and lower exposure of sport-specific training.
WHAT DOES REHABILITATION INCLUDE?
If your groin pain is limiting your daily function, or does not allow you to participate to your fullest in sport – it may be the right time to seek advice from a sport physiotherapist. In addition to an in-depth history taking surrounding your groin pain, our role is also to understand your goals and expectations of your journey through rehabilitation, and to help formulate a path to best care.
1. CLINICAL EXAM:
Groin pain can originate from several different anatomical structures or physiological processes, though often multiple mechanisms and origins of pain may be affected at the same time. Our clinical exam provides insight on potential structures and mechanisms at play.
Additionally, the exam may help us quantify baseline measurements that we will continue to monitor progress through your rehabilitative process. The sport physiotherapist may also be able to determine associated causative factors that may have led to your pain, including the impact of past injuries – even if not local to your pain. With this process complete, and your questions responded to, the sport physiotherapist will work with you to determine next steps.
Understanding your current pain, and how you can play an active role in its management will be of great importance.
3. MOBILITY OF THE LOWER EXTREMITIES AND SPINE:
Your sport physiotherapist may implement techniques or guide self-mobility drills to optimize mobility limitations in different areas of the body.
4. MOVEMENT CONTROL OF THE LOWER EXTREMITIES:
Modifying potentially pain-provoking movements that relate to the way you move your body in life and in sport will be paramount to your successful recovery.
5. STRENGTHENING OF LOWER EXTREMITIES:
This may be to specifically target injured tissue, to build strength and fatigue resistance in sport-specific movements, though it may even boost your performance to levels you were unable to achieve before injury! Although the exercises may seem simple to begin, we will push to provide more dynamic and powerful movements with greater speeds in late stages of care.
6. MAINTAINING FITNESS:
If safe to do so, we will guide you from reducing losses of your current fitness level.
7. PROVIDING HOMEWORK:
What is done in clinic is an aspect of your care. How you manage outside of our institution’s doors is just, if not more important. Self-care and athlete empowerment will be included to help promote recovery.
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM A GROIN INJURY?
The sport physiotherapists at Fortius will work together with your healthcare team of sport medicine physicians, strength and conditioning coaches, physiatrists, biomechanics and other therapy providers including chiropractors and massage therapists to meet your sporting needs.
Book an appointment with a sport physiotherapist today by calling 604.292.2501 or visit the Sport Physiotherapy page on our website to learn more.
MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erik Torchia is a sport physiotherapist and has been a member of the team at the Fortius Institute since its inaugural year. He is currently nearing the completion of his Masters of Clinical Sciences at Western University while continuing to provide therapy service to his clients in the facility. He brings experience from working in several elite sporting cultures varying from figure skating to soccer and bobsleigh/skeleton to lacrosse.
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