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Lonzo Ball and Justin Verlander - Groin Injuries: Risk Factors & Prevention

(Photo: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)

With summer in full swing, people are spending more time outdoors enjoying their favorite recreational activities. In the past few weeks, I've noticed an increase in groin pain complaints, especially in soccer and ultimate Frisbee athletes. I've also noticed several occurrences in sports media mentioning athletes with groin pain: June 4th, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers leaving during the third inning against the Chicago White Sox due to "groin tightness," and July 10th Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers reports he'll sit out the following game against De'Aaron Fox and the Sacramento Kingswith complaints of groin pain in this years' summer league. With groin injuries on the rise, I'd like to talk about risk factors and prevention.

The current available literature on groin injuries in sports reports that activities requiring sudden lateral cutting movements such as soccer, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, and ultimate Frisbee have a higher prevalence of groin injury. Soccer and hockey are found the have highest prevalence due to increased demand on hip adductors during soccer ball kicking and skating. Prevalent physiological findings in subjects who reported a groin injury include decreased hip range of motion and decreased hip adductor strength.A decreased amount of sport specific training during the off-season and having a previous history of a groin injury have also been highly correlated with increased occurrence of groin injury.

Maintaining proper hip range of motion and hip adductor strength are key to preventing groin injury. Since the hip adductors are affected most during groin strains, this post will discuss ways to maintain proper hip adductor flexibility and strength. It must also be noted that you mustn't neglect the strength and flexibility of you other hip muscles,as they are all pertinent to maintaining mobility and stability of your lower extremities and trunk.

Hip Adductor Stretches

Seated butterfly stretch

  • Sit with both legs extended. Bend both knees while keeping your feet together
  • Let your knees fall out to the side
  • The stretch should not be painful, but perhaps just slightly uncomfortable
  • If you can tolerate it, apply a slight overpressure to your knees to intensify the stretch
  • Perform 3 sets, holding for 30 seconds each
  • http://www.redboxfitness.com/adductor-stretch/

Supine wall stretch

  • Lie on your back with your legs up against a wall
  • Get as close to the wall as you can while maintaining a comfortable stretch in your hamstrings
  • Keep your legs straight and let them fall to the side like a split until you feel a stretch
  • The stretch should not be painful, but perhaps slightly uncomfortable
  • Perform 3 sets, holding for 30 seconds each
  • http://www.redboxfitness.com/adductor-stretch/

Hip Adductor Strengthening

Sumo Squat
  • Stand with your feet slightly further than hip width apart and toes pointed outward
  • While maintaining neutral spine position with a core contraction, push your hips back and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Push up through our heels and push your hips forward while straightening your knees continuing to maintain that neutral spine with core contraction until full extension
  • You can increase resistance by holding a dumbbell or kettle bell with your elbows extended or in a goblet position for more challenge.
  • http://workoutlabs.com/exercise-guide/plie-sumo-dumbbell-squat-deadlift/

Sliding lateral squat

  • Stand with feet shoulder width apart with one foot on a valslide or slideboard
  • While maintaining neutral spine and core contraction, push your hips back squat down while sliding one leg out to the slide until your thigh on the stationary leg is parallel to the floor
  • Push your hips forward and drag the leg back to starting position
  • https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/exercise/strength/sliding-lateral-lunge/ss-BBtOcND


Tyler, T. F., Fukunaga, T., & Gellert, J. (2014). Rehabilitation of the soft tissue injuries of the hip and pelvis.International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy,9(6), 785-797.

Ibrahim, A., Murrell, G., & Knapman, P. (2007). Adductor strain and hip range of movement in male professional soccer players.Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery,15(1), 46-49.

Engebretsen, A. H., Myklebust, G., Holme, I., Engebretsen, L., & Bahr, R. (2010). Intrinsic risk factors for acute knee injuries among male football players: a prospective cohort study.Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports,21(5), 645-652.

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