Groin Injury in Hockey

Written by Dr. Marcus Wong

In the light of the 2014 Winter Olympics I think this is a good topic to discuss.  During the past hockey seasons, many injured patients has injured their groin from playing hockey.  As many people who watches hockey realize that groin injury is a very common thing, and can affect the athlete’s performance and recovery.  Some players might not be able to reach the same level of performance again after this injury.  A major reason for this common injury is through improper training of the groin area and skating technique.

Also goaltenders suffer groin injuries as well due to the quick lateral push off movements and splits.  This injury to goaltenders are more substantial then to other positions, as it requires a very strong and healthy groin to be a goaltender.

Roberto Luongo injured in the first period against the Penguins in Pittsburgh

ant-view-of-legmed-view-of-legLets start off with describing the anatomy of the groin region of the leg.  The groin area is the medial or inner part of your thigh area.  It is made up of several muscles mainly the adductor longus and brevis, adductor magnus, pectineus, and the gracilis.  Any of these muscles can be injured through strenuous skating, which may weaken other surrounding structures such as the hip joint or the knee as these muscles comes from the hip, and attaches to the knee.

During skating there are mainly two groups of muscles that are involved, the ones that abducts the leg (move the leg outwards), and the ones that adducts the leg (move the leg inward).  The muscles which are used to abduct or move the leg outward in the initial power stroke to propel the player are the tensor of fascia lata and the sartorius.  The muscles which are used to adduct or move the leg inward in the movement to bring back the leg towards the body are the groin muscle group.  Usually the abductor muscle group is more powerful and tighter than the groin muscles, therefore, if the two muscle groups aren’t equally trained the groin muscles will be overused and injured resulting in a groin pull or strain.

To treat the groin injury it will take time and patience.  The initial part of the treatment will be actively stretching out the scar tissue or adhesion formed from the injury.  As with any tissue injury, inflammation and scar tissue formation is inevitable.  Also loosen up the tight abductor muscles as well.  Once the pain level has decrease and the groin has healed, rehabilitation of the groin area can take place.  First will start off with light stretch exercises and active range of motion of the leg.  Next will be adding some tubing exercises for light resistance rehabilitation.  Lastly, will be strengthen exercises using light weights and properly skating technique.

If you have any more questions about groin injuries or treatment options please email Dr. Marcus Wong at drwong@truehealthstudio.com