Groin muscle injuries affect 20% of all players during a football season, where they represent between 20% and 37% of all time-loss injuries in professional football. Injuries to the adductor muscle group are the most commonly seen due to the strain put on these muscles during kicking movements and change of direction, movements that are extremely frequent in football.
How does an adductor strain occur?
The main mechanisms of an adductor strain are:
Direct blunt impact, for example a tackle from the opposition
Forceful contraction from kicking, quick change of direction or reaching/stretching for the ball.
Repetitive microtrauma in the form of overuse or an accumulation of several minor injuries
Therefore, these injuries can be classed as contact and non-contact. The non-contact ones are the ones that you should be aiming to prevent by getting this muscle group used to these kind of actions - a Sports Therapist can help you to devise an injury prevention plan tailored to you!
What are the risk factors for an adductor strain?
There are several factors that increase the risk of an adductor strain as a footballer:
Pre-season - an increase in intensity after the off-season
Playing in a fatigued state
Low hip muscle strength - especially if the muscles on the outside of your hip such as glutes are much stronger than the adductors.
Decreased hip mobility.
Previous groin injury - research has found that this can be a risk factor even when the previous groin injury was 20 months prior!
Therefore, it is vital that, as a footballer, you take steps to decrease this risk by ensuring proper recovery after training and matches and increasing your hip strength and mobility.
It is extremely simple to increase the strength of your adductors. Two extremely simple and effective exercises are Copenhagen’s and ball squeezes - which require no equipment or access to a gym. Even completed twice a week, these will make a big difference! Also, worth a mention is strengthening your core muscles to take some of the load off of the adductors during high-risk movements such as cutting and pivoting.
An effective and thorough warm-up is also extremely important to prepare the adductor muscles - this includes sideways movements such as side shuffles and another classic, opening and closing the gates!
During weeks where you have a mid-week and weekend game, it is so important that you get your recovery right between these matches to ensure that your body is not in a state of stress from the last match. Symptoms of this are usually muscle stiffness and general fatigue - sports massage is a great tool to help alleviate this!
Did you know that alongside SV Sports Therapy, Emily works alongside the academy at Watford Football Club, providing pitch-side first aid, injury assessment and injury rehabilitation to players aged 9-16? She knows her stuff!
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Here at SV Sports Therapy, we can assist in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of adductor strains and other groin injuries by using a variety of treatment methods and devising a bespoke exercise rehabilitation plan to get you back on the pitch performing at your best.
She would love to serve you!