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Sports Health. 2010 May;2(3):231-6.

Groin injuries in sports medicine.

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Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, New York.



An in-season groin injury may be debilitating for the athlete. Proper diagnosis and identification of the pathology are paramount in providing appropriate intervention. Furthermore, an adductor strain that is treated improperly can become chronic and career threatening. Any one of the 6 muscles of the adductor muscle group can be involved. The degree of injury can range from a minor strain (grade 1), where minimal playing time is lost, to a severe strain (grade 3), in which there is complete loss of muscle function. Persistent groin pain and muscle imbalance may lead to athletic pubalgia.


Relevant studies were identified through a literature search of MEDLINE and the Cochrane database from 1990 to 2009, as well as a manual review of reference lists of identified sources.


Ice hockey and soccer players seem particularly susceptible to adductor muscle strains. In professional ice hockey and soccer players throughout the world, approximately 10% to 11% of all injuries are groin strains. These injuries have been linked to hip muscle weakness, a previous injury to that area, preseason practice sessions, and level of experience. This injury may be prevented if these risk factors are addressed before each season.


Despite the identification of risk factors and strengthening intervention for athletes, adductor strains continue to occur throughout sport. If groin pain persists, the possibility of athletic pubalgia needs to be explored, because of weakening or tears in the abdominal wall muscles. A diagnosis is confirmed by exclusion of other pathology.


adductor strain; athletic pubalgia; groin injury

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