Groin strains occur more often than we would like to believe, and are usually accompanied by pain and restricted movement. Treatment for groin strain injuries aim to reduce initial pain and inflammation, improve flexibility and muscle conditioning, strengthen and support while gradually rehabilitating to full fitness. The severity of the strain injuries may dictate the rehabilitation program and one must get the correct diagnosis before choosing a treatment process.
Rehabilitation program for groin strain
Reducing pain and swelling – Complete rest with minimal activity is advised for at least 5 -7 days, but if pain persists, one must avoid exercise or activities for up to 3 weeks. Applying cold compress for 15 minutes every two hours for the first couple of day could help with the pain. Later, you can wear a compression support or apply a groin strapping to reduce the swelling, keep the muscles warm and give them support during stretching or training. With more severe pain, crutches may be required for 3 – 4 days. The leg may even need to be immobilized to prevent further injury. If advised by a professional, you may return to low level activities such as jogging, cycling or swimming after 14 days to prevent the muscles from tightening.
Improve flexibility – Gentle stretching exercises may be done from day 3 as long as it does not cause pain. If pain persists, defer stretching exercises to after 2 weeks. Stretching exercises should be done at least three times during the early stages of recovery. Lightly massages of injured area using sports massage techniques can also be done 48 hours post injury, this will help to relax and loosen the muscle, prevent formation of scar tissue and encourage blood flow and healing of the muscle.
Strengthen muscles – One of the most important things to avoid doing during muscle strengthening is to not re-injure the muscles. It is important to strengthen the muscles in the same direction/way that they were injured. Strengthening exercises must be done at least 5 days after the injury and stopped if you experience any pain. In the beginning, you should do these exercises regularly, but as their intensity increases, you can reduce it to 3 times a week. More advanced resistive exercises can begin from day 7 or 2 weeks, when you feel comfortable. Strengthening exercises should be continued throughout the strengthening process, both before and after a strengthening session.
Return to full activity – This should be a slow process. Build up gradually from slow jogging to more speed, depending on how long and how far you can go without experiencing problems. This stage should involve functional activities that are related to your sport, like changing speed or direction. Return to full activity may take 1 – 4 weeks for acute injuries or 8-12 weeks for severe strains. You should only return to competitions when you feel comfortable managing specific speed work and training.
Over all, the general rehabilitation therapy includes initial period of rest post injury and then gradually building up muscle activity and tone. So keep these points in mind and get a professional to help in the recovery.