I had an opportunity to contribute to a friend’s webmagazine (hurdlesfirstbeta.com) the other day in regards to “groin” strains. There are many ways that people look at it, but it is a reminder of how each body part works in unison with each other.
The “groin” is a catch-all term, referring to five muscles in the inside of the thigh. Their major function is to bring the leg towards the midline of the body (adduction). Injuries to these muscles are usually due to these muscles doing more than they can handle, as a large component of their activity is postural in nature (keep the body upright). This excessive activity is due to muscular imbalances and faulty body positioning elsewhere in the body.
Tight hip flexor musculature (lifting the leg and thigh up at the hip) is something I find all too common with patients, specifically the iliopsoas muscle group). This can be created by prolonged sitting, bad postural (forward lean) when walking and of course, the dreaded high heel shoegear. These can all make for an overworked iliopsoas group, which causes it to become tight.
Two muscles that make up the “groin” have a lesser function in hip flexion also. If the iliopsoas is not able to perform its usual function, these muscles become the primary hip flexors. This increases its muscular activity, making it more prone to strain/injury.
Another result of an overworked/tight iliopsoas muscle group would be its effect on the pelvic bone. Because of their attachment to the pelvis, its tightness causes the pelvis to tilt, lengthening some other muscles attached to the bone, i.e., the hamstrings (muscles at the back of your thigh). The hamstrings changes from a primarily postural muscle to a hip extender (bringing your hip and thigh down), as the gluteal muscles (“butt” muscles) loses this role and its resultant strength via pelvic positioning. In addition to the hamstrings, three other muscles of the “groin” become hip extenders. These muscles are prone to become overworked, due to their increased activity.
Treatment of “groin” injuries involve the usual rest, compression and elevation. But the emphasis should be on not forcing these muscles to be overworked. Hip flexor stretching, along with soft tissue release can help with the tight iliopsoas muscles, in addition to flatter shoes, more erect posture when walking and lesser sitting. Abdominal exercises will help tilt the pelvis properly; variety is the key (the regular crunches do not work the right muscles and are not recommended). Lastly, exercises that focus on the gluteal muscles will help it regain some of its strength, i.e., Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Hip thrusts.
Please feel free to contact me if any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Health and happiness!
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