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 email@example.com
Health and happiness!
My son has now started taking karate classes. For his age (four years old), the classes involve lots of games and fun ways to incorporate karate moves into a thirty minute time span. Most of the stuff initially seemed to have little fitness value, until I thought about some of the drills they are doing, i.e., army crawls, frog jumps, bear walks. These drills mirror a lot of the drills I do with my athletes which helps reinforce and build basic movement patterns. These drills help build stability in the joints, flexibility in the muscles and a coordinated effort of tendons, nerves and muscles.
These basic movement patterns become the precursor for such activities as standing, walking and running. If these patterns are not properly established by mastering these preceding drills, problems arise in the neuromuscular system, for example, a muscle does not work when it is supposed to when running. When I looked at the children performing these drills at my son’s karate class, I can see that there were several that had great difficulty in performing these simple drills. Dan Pfaff, arguably the greatest and smartest track and field coach ever, offers an explanation for this lack of function:
It is my belief that general activities that enhance posture,
joint strength, muscle and joint coordination and all aspect of mobility
are in short supply with today’s youth. A highly sedentary lifestyle
exhibited by today’s society has precluded the acquisition of
these general qualities once found in abundance several generations ago.
(“Alternative Methods for Developing Strength, Power and Mobility”, p.2)
I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment. Our sedentary society has trickled down from the adult to the children with devastating results. When basic movement patterns should be developed by crawling and jumping, they are being delayed or blunted by sitting while watching television or playing video games. This leads to a lack of function when it comes to doing higher levels of activity such as walking and running and a higher incidence of injury.
If you look at things in this perspective, you will understand the importance of recess in school and general outdoor play for children.
Health and happiness!
The barefoot/minimalist running debate rages on (I am completing an article for footanklehealth.com) and there are benefits to both sides. The most obvious one is that running shoes increases the weight of the runner, therefore increasing metabolic cost. This increase in metabolic cost is where the real debate should be focused on. This metabolic increase gives you increase efficiency during running, that barefoot/minimalist running can not provide. So the question for any runner should be, “Do you want to risk injury with barefoot/minimalist running due to inefficient running patterns or do you want to run with more efficiency, but more effort?”. Barefoot/minimalist running can be more efficient, but it requires a complete biomechanical examination with a corresponding stretching and strengthening protcol. My previous post would be good way to start with that. Here is an article that talks about this: http://t.co/GEIlrXtD
Health and happiness!
I just came across this article and thought it would be worth a look at. It just reaffirms my belief that structured exercise has great benefits for everyone at any age; it keeps people away from seeing physicians and prolongs people’s quality of life.
Happiness and good health!
- About Armstrong Podiatry
- barefoot running
- Bowen Therapy
- Children feet
- Fascial Manipulation
- Foot and ankle injuries
- Foot type
- Massage therapy
- Overuse injuries
- Physical Activity
- Resistance training
- Robert Schleip
- track and field