Adductor Muscle Strain

with Rehab

ExitCare ImageThe adductor muscles of the thigh are responsible for moving the leg across the body and are susceptible to muscle strains. A strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon that attaches the muscle to a bone. Strains of the adductor muscles occur where the muscle tendons attach to the pelvic bone. A muscle strain may be a complete or partial tear of the muscle and may involve one or more of the adductor muscles.

These strains are usually classified as a grade 1 or 2 strain. A grade 1 strain has no obvious sign of tearing or stretching of the muscle or tendon, but may include significant inflammation. A grade 2 strain is a moderate strain in which the muscle or tendon has been partially torn and has been stretched. Grade 2 strains are usually accompanied with loss of strength. A grade 3 muscle strain rarely occurs in the adductor muscles. A grade 3 strain is a complete tear of the muscle or tendon.

SYMPTOMS

  • Occasionally there is a sudden "pop" felt or heard in the groin or inner thigh at the time of injury.

  • There may be pain, tenderness, swelling, warmth, or redness over the inner thigh and groin. This may be worsened by moving the hip (especially when spreading the legs or hips, pushing the legs against each other or kicking with the affected leg). There may be bruising (contusion) in the groin and inner thigh within 48 hours following the injury.

  • There may be loss of fullness of the muscle with complete rupture (uncommon).

  • Muscle spasm in the groin and inner thigh can occur.

CAUSES

  • Prolonged overuse or a sudden increase in intensity, frequency, or duration of activity.

  • Single episode of stressful overactivity, such as during kicking.

  • Single violent blow or force to the inner thigh (less common).

RISK INCREASES WITH:

  • Sports that require repeated kicking (soccer, martial arts, football), as well as sports that require the legs to be brought together (gymnastics, horseback riding).

  • Sports that require rapid acceleration (ice hockey, track and field).

  • Poor strength and flexibility.

  • Previous thigh injury.

PREVENTION

  • Warm up and stretch properly before activity.

  • Maintain physical fitness:

  • Hip and thigh flexibility.

  • Muscle strength and endurance.

  • Cardiovascular fitness.

  • Complete the entire course of rehabilitation after any lower extremity injury. Do this before returning to competition or practice. Follow suggestions of your caregiver.

PROGNOSIS

If treated properly, adductor muscle strains usually heal well within 2 to 6 weeks.

RELATED COMPLICATIONS

  • Healing time will be prolonged if the condition is not appropriately treated. It needs adequate time to heal.

  • Do not return to activity too soon. Recurrence of symptoms and reinjury are possible.

  • If left untreated, the strain may progress to a complete tear (rare) or other injury caused by limping and favoring the injured leg.

  • Prolonged disability is possible.

TREATMENT

Treatment initially involves ice and medication to help reduce pain and inflammation. Strength and stretching exercises are recommended to maintain strength and a full range of motion. Strenuous activities should be modified to prevent further injury. Using crutches for the first few days may help to lessen pain. On rare occasions, surgery is necessary to reattach the tendon to the bone. If pain becomes persistent or chronic after more than 3 months of nonsurgical treatment, surgery may also be recommended.

MEDICATION

  • If pain medication is necessary, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, or other minor pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, are often recommended.

  • Do not take pain medication for 7 days before surgery or as advised.

  • Prescription pain relievers may be given. Use only as directed and only as much as you need.

  • Ointments applied to the skin may be helpful.

  • Corticosteroid injections may be given to reduce inflammation.

HEAT AND COLD

  • Cold treatment (icing) relieves pain and reduces inflammation. Cold treatment should be applied for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours for inflammation and pain and immediately after any activity that aggravates your symptoms. Use ice packs or an ice massage.

  • Heat treatment may be used prior to performing the stretching and strengthening activities prescribed by your caregiver, physical therapist, or athletic trainer. Use a heat pack or a warm soak.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Symptoms get worse or do not improve in 2 weeks, despite treatment.

  • New, unexplained symptoms develop. (Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.)

EXERCISES

RANGE OF MOTION (ROM) AND STRETCHING EXERCISES - Adductor Muscle Strain

These exercises may help you when beginning to rehabilitate your injury. Your symptoms may resolve with or without further involvement from your physician, physical therapist, or athletic trainer. While completing these exercises, remember:

  • Restoring tissue flexibility helps normal motion to return to the joints. This allows healthier, less painful movement and activity.

  • An effective stretch should be held for at least 30 seconds.

  • A stretch should never be painful. You should only feel a gentle lengthening or release in the stretched tissue.

ExitCare Image STRETCH - Adductors, Lunge

  • While standing, spread your legs.

  • Lean away from your right / left leg by bending your opposite knee. You may rest your hands on your thigh for balance.

  • You should feel a stretch in your right / left inner thigh. Hold for __________ seconds.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

ExitCare Image STRETCH - Adductors, Standing

  • Place your right / left foot on a counter or stable table. Turn away from your leg so both hips line up with your right / left leg.

  • Keeping your hips facing forward, slowly bend your opposite leg until you feel a gentle stretch on the inside of your right / left thigh.

  • Hold for __________ seconds.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

ExitCare Image STRETCH - Hip Adductors, Sitting

  • Sit on the floor and place the bottoms of your feet together. Keep your chest up and look straight ahead to keep your back in proper alignment. Slide your feet in towards your body as far as you can without rounding your back or increasing any discomfort.

  • Gently push down on your knees until you feel a gentle stretch in your inner thighs. Hold this position for __________ seconds.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

ExitCare Image STRETCH - Hamstrings/Adductors, V-Sit

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended in a large "V," keeping your knees straight.

  • With your head and chest upright, bend at your waist reaching for your left foot to stretch your right adductors.

  • You should feel a stretch in your right inner thigh. Hold for __________ seconds.

  • Return to the upright position to relax your leg muscles.

  • Continuing to keep your chest upright, bend straight forward at your waist to stretch your hamstrings.

  • You should feel a stretch behind both of your thighs and/or knees. Hold for __________ seconds.

  • Return to the upright position to relax your leg muscles.

  • Repeat steps 2 through 4 for the right leg to stretch your left inner thigh.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

STRENGTHENING EXERCISES - Adductor Muscle Strain

These exercises may help you when beginning to rehabilitate your injury. They may resolve your symptoms with or without further involvement from your physician, physical therapist, or athletic trainer. While completing these exercises, remember:

  • Muscles can gain both the endurance and the strength needed for everyday activities through controlled exercises.

  • Complete these exercises as instructed by your physician, physical therapist, or athletic trainer. Progress the resistance and repetitions only as guided.

  • You may experience muscle soreness or fatigue, but the pain or discomfort you are trying to eliminate should never worsen during these exercises. If this pain does worsen, stop and make certain you are following the directions exactly. If the pain is still present after adjustments, discontinue the exercise until you can discuss the trouble with your caregiver.

ExitCare Image STRENGTH - Hip Adductors, Isometrics

  • Sit on a firm chair so that your knees are about the same height as your hips.

  • Place a large ball, firm pillow, or rolled up bath towel between your thighs.

  • Squeeze your thighs together, gradually building tension. Hold for __________ seconds.

  • Release the tension gradually and allow your inner thigh muscles to relax completely before repeating the exercise.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.

ExitCare Image STRENGTH - Hip Adductors, Straight Leg Raises

  • Lie on your side so that your head, shoulders, knee and hip line up. You may place your upper foot in front to help maintain your balance. Your right / left leg should be on the bottom.

  • Roll your hips slightly forward, so that your hips are stacked directly over each other and your right / left knee is facing forward.

  • Tense the muscles in your inner thigh and lift your bottom leg 4-6 inches. Hold this position for __________ seconds.

  • Slowly lower your leg to the starting position. Allow the muscles to fully relax before beginning the next repetition.

Repeat __________ times. Complete this exercise __________ times per day.