Adductor related groin pain is a common presentation in junior athletes. Groin pain often affects players of field sports that involve frequent cutting, pivoting and agility running. It is especially common in sports that involve kicking, with the dominant kicking leg more frequently involved in groin injuries.

Adductor related groin pain is particularly common in junior athletes due to high training loads in combination with skeletal immaturity around the pelvis. The bony pelvis, like other bones in the body, has growth plates that fuse as we age. The pelvis has 3 major ossification centres that begin and finish at different times throughout our development. The good news is that our pelvis is generally completely fused by the time we are 23, but prior to this we may be more susceptible to pain and injury!

During sports that involve cutting, pivoting and kicking we expose the muscles and joints of the pelvis to high loads. In younger athletes who are performing multiple training sessions (or who play multiple sports), this constant volume of high load can result in pain and pathology in the groin and pelvis.

Pain may not be the first symptom that the athlete notices – often as a precursor to the development of pain, junior footballers’ will complain of:

  • Lack of acceleration
  • Lack of agility
  • Reduced kicking distance
  • Constant “tightness” during or after activity

Often players will try to continue to play despite pain, however their pain and pathology inevitably worsens and at this point it often means a longer period of rehabilitation and missed game time. Some young patients have described missing training just to “get up” for the weekend match.

Groin pain is often a multifactorial presentation, so a thorough assessment by your physiotherapist will help to identify the source of your symptoms, and discover biomechanical issues that may be contributing to overloading of the groin and pelvis. These may include specific muscle weaknesses, joint range of movement restrictions, motor control (muscle coordination) deficits and/or technique issues when kicking or running.

Groin pain is often a very individual presentation, so physiotherapy will target a rehabilitation program that is specific to you. Remember, early intervention is the key to minimising time lost to injury.

  • Written by Dr Mark Scholes

    Dr Mark Scholes is a highly trained Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist specialising in managing musculoskeletal injuries, particularly hip and groin pain. He holds a PhD focused on studying the impact of hip joint structure and movement patterns on symptoms in individuals with these conditions. Mark works as a post-doctoral researcher at La Trobe University, investigating treatments for chronic hip and knee pain. He also teaches at the University and with the Australian Physiotherapy Association. With a wealth of experience, including serving as the Dandenong Stingrays Football Club physiotherapist, Mark has developed exceptional knowledge in age-related musculoskeletal changes and management of adolescent sports injuries.