Groin pain often presents as an uncomfortable and persistent sensation on the lower abdomen or inner thigh area. Let’s be candid it can be pretty irritating and worrying especially because any pain around the groin immediately makes you think that there may be a problem with one of your reproductive organs. However, in most cases this pain results from muscle strain or adaptive muscle shortening.

Adaptive shortening is muscle tightness caused by a muscle being forced to remain in a shortened position for a long period of time such as sitting at a desk and driving. The groin muscle strains are encountered more frequently with sporting activities such as running, football, rugby and hockey.


The groin muscles consist of three large muscle groups that can be injured:

  • Iliopsoas muscle – A hip flexor
  • Adductor muscles
  • Abdominal muscles

In this blog post we will discuss the causes, physiotherapy treatment and prevention measures of groin pain.


Under the causes of groin pain, we’ll discuss two major muscle groups that are responsible for this pain.

  1. Hip Flexor Muscles

These muscles are responsible for bringing the knee closer to the chest. Think of the position of your hip when you sit, the movement of your hip when going up stairs; that is hip flexion.

These muscles run from the low back through the groin to the hip. Tension on these muscles can result in groin pain.



What leads to tension in these muscles?

  • Long periods of sitting – At the office, while driving
  • Activities that involve repetitive hip flexion and extension such as running, football, rugby etc.
  1. Adductor Muscles

These are the inner thigh muscles and their role is to pull the thighs together. Sports such as athletics, rugby and football require contraction of the adductor muscles. Contraction of these

muscles during the above-named sports may lead to a strain on their attachment site on the pelvic bone resulting in groin pain.

Adductor muscles may also undergo adaptive shortening as mentioned above with prolonged sitting.



Physiotherapy Diagnosis

A physiotherapist will be able to diagnose the underlying muscle causing your groin pain depending on:

  • The nature of your pain i.e. throbbing, sharp or dull pain
  • Activities that ease and worsen your pain
  • The location of your pain

Each of the mentioned muscle groups present symptoms differently and in some cases more than one muscle group is involved.

Physiotherapy Interventions

  • Muscle release to relieve accumulated tension or strain on the muscle.
  • Stretches and exercises to target the culprit muscles.
  • Strengthening exercises of the opposing muscles.
  • Electrostimulation of affected muscles to relieve pain and improve circulation.

Prevention Measures

  • Reducing long hours of sitting
  • Incorporate stretching into daily routine
  • Take part in warm up and cool down exercise before and after sporting activities. Warm up exercises involve active movements targeting the muscles greatly engaged during the sport. Cool down exercises greatly involve stretches to relieve previously contracting muscles.

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