One of the topics discussed in the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport held in Doha last May 2015 was about conservative (exercise-based) treatment for athletic groin injuries.
Groin pain can be a difficult problem because of the variety of factors that are responsible. Also, the anatomy of the groin is complex. But with proper diagnosis, groin pain may respond well to treatment. Exercises are seen to be an important component of a treatment program. Exercise-based treatment can play a crucial role in attaining positive results for athletes with groin injury.
Groin pain is a common ailment for athletes, a frequent disabling injury that can affect most types of sports people including runners, football players, rugby players, and cyclists just to name a few. These athletes, especially in football and rugby are involved in running, changes in direction, repetitive kicking, and physical contact, which is why they are at higher risk of groin pain.
In sports, groin pain is commonly caused by strain of the muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the groin area. The groin areas are located on each side of the body folds where the abdomen joins the inner upper thighs. They are prone to acute injury when involved in rigorous activities.
Evidence supports the common clinical practice of exercise therapy as a key component for treatment for groin pain in athletes.
Overall, it is suggested that exercise, particularly strengthening exercise of the hip and abdominal muscles could be an effective intervention for athletes with groin pain. This is according to a review of the medical literature, Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy and Technology. Strengthening abdominal and hip muscles seems reasonable because muscular imbalance may contribute to functional instability of the pelvis and the groin region (Cowan 2004).
How Physiotherapy Helps
A physiotherapist can help you with strengthening exercises to help restore your normal muscle strength and prevent re-injury, as well as maintain the balance between opposing muscle groups. Core strengthening is also important. Your physiotherapist may also include it in his recommendations.
A study on groin rehab exercises in the 2000 International SportsMed Journal investigates the efficacy of a rehabilitation exercise programme for groin pain. In this study of male athletes with chronic groin pain, it was shown that participants who received physiotherapy combined with a specially designed exercise programme are more likely to participate in sports without pain 4 months after receiving treatment.
Physiotherapists can accurately diagnose the cause of groin pain to ensure that the correct management plan is performed and treat the problem with right techniques.
Your physiotherapist may recommend an initial period of rest to allow the affected structures to ‘calm down’. While you’re on a resting phase, you will be prescribed with special exercises to address the root cause of your groin pain.
You will be given strengthening exercises to prepare your body to return to sport. Afterwards you will be given with a graduated return to sport program, including a detailed running program. You will be ask to continue to monitor your injury as you get back to your sporting activities to prevent re-injury.
If you have groin pain, consider seeing a Perth physiotherapist. Call us at 9444 8729!