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What is an Adductor Strain?

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  • Written By: Alex Paul
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 27 March 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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An adductor strains involves a tear to one of the five adductor muscles located in the inner thigh and groin. A tear to one of these tissues is usually the result of explosive athletic movements combined with a tight or cold muscle. Symptoms of an adductor strain include pain and swelling over the injured area; the severity depends on what grade of strain has occurred, however. Treatment for an adductor strain involves rest, ice, physical therapy, and in some cases surgery.

The adductors are used in activities such as sprinting and changing direction. If the muscles are tight, or if they are put under a large amount of stress, sharp movements can cause one of them to tear. Some of the most common activities which cause an adductor strain include sprinting, kicking a football, and pushing the legs inwards against resistance. Any one of the adductor longus, adductor magnus, adductor brevis, and gracilis muscles could be affected.

Pain is the most common symptom of an adductor strain. If the strain is mild, the pain may only become noticeable when the activity stops. More severe strains will be immediately painful. Other symptoms include tightness in the injured area, tenderness while stretching, and bruising or swelling. The adductors might also feel weak and painful when the legs are squeezed together.

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There are three grades of adductor strain. Grade One strains are the least severe, and involve tears to less than 10% of the muscle fibers. If the strain involves more than 10% but less than 90% of the muscle, it is considered to be a Grade Two tear. Grade Three strains are the most severe, and involve a partial or full rupture to the muscle. In most cases, Grade Two and Three strains will be felt immediately, while a Grade One strain may not be noticed until later.

Treatment for an adductor strain depends on its severity. All grades of strain require rest from the activity which caused the pain, ice and compression to reduce swelling, and elevation of the muscle. As soon as the initial acute phase of the injury subsides, a period of stretching and strengthening may be required to aid recovery and prevent the strain from reoccurring. A sports doctor or physiotherapist may also tape the groin to reduce pressure on the muscle and use ultrasound to reduce swelling. If a Grade Three strain has occurred, immediate treatment is essential; surgery might be performed in order to heal the ruptured muscle.

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