How do you treat hip and groin injuries in athletes?
Hip and groin injuries are likely to happen when muscle Imbalances are present in the lower body. These injuries are most common in athletes that play hockey or soccer, often occurring during the full extension of a running stride or skating motion.
Some common symptoms of a hip or groin injury include swelling, bruising, decreased range of motion, and loss of strength. Treatment time of a hip or groin injury is dependent on the severity of the injury and can include isometric and strength based training. To prevent a hip or groin injury, it is recommended that athletes follow a pre-season strength program to even-out any muscle imbalances in the lower body.
What do hip and groin injuries feel like?
Symptoms of a hip or groin injury vary depending on the exact area of injury and the severity of the injury. Generally hip and groin injuries can be categorized into three different “grades” – grade 1 being the mildest and grade 3 being the most severe.
People experiencing a hip or groin injury can experience:
- Mild to severe swelling
- Loss of strength
- Difficulty walking – Those with a grade 3 hip or groin injury may need to use a gait aid, such as crutches or a walker due to decreased weight-bearing ability.
What are the most common causes of hip and groin injuries in athletes?
Hip and groin injuries are most common in athletes that play hockey or soccer due to their increased demands on these muscles while running, skating, or kicking.
Hip and groin injuries occur when there are muscle strength imbalances present in the lower body. For example, if your abductor muscles in your glutes (outer hip) are stronger than the adductor group (inner thigh), it puts excess stress in the groin, leading to strain and injury.
In athletes, hip and groin injuries occur most often during:
- The full extension of a skating motion
- The full extension of a running stride
- A sharp change of direction when running or skating
How do you treat a hip or groin injury?
Treatment type varies depending on the grade of injury, the athlete’s strength and mobility and the stage of rehabilitation.
At The Bridge, we begin by managing the pain and swelling, getting the athlete on crutches if necessary. We initiate an exercise program early on in rehab that allows for strengthening in the pain free movements. For example, this might be a band-resisted adduction exercise or an isometric adductor ball squeeze. As pain and swelling settles and strength and movement improve, we progress the athlete through a complete dynamic strength and conditioning program to ensure they are fully ready to return to sport.
Total treatment time for hip and groin injuries depends on the grade of the injury. Typically a grade 1 strain can heal in 0 to 7 days, a grade 2 injury can heal in 6 to 8 weeks, and a grade 3 injury can take upwards of 3 months.
How do you prevent hip and groin injuries as an athlete?
As an athlete, the best way to prevent hip and groin injuries is to follow a pre-season strength program that focuses on balanced strength training of the muscles in the lower body.
While training, be sure to focus on areas of the body that may be forgotten. The adductors (inner thigh) are often neglected because they are not major force producers but they are extremely important in stability and control and help to support the larger muscles that produce most of the power in the lower body.
The Bridge model consists of three pillars
Injury treatment and management to relieve pain, including physiotherapy, massage and chiropractic treatment.
We introduce strength and mobility exercises to build tolerance to the demands of your activity and to develop more efficient movement patterns, making sure you don’t get hurt again.
Performance or return to sport training: Is the last part of our model and reserved for those needing to return to a competitive sport or wanting to train at a higher level.
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