The Story: A lot of my running, walking, hiking and cycling client raise an eyebrow when I tell them that they need to foam roll their groin muscles. It’s not because I’m being too personal. It’s because they don’t feel they need to. The common answer I get is, “Brian I don’t really use the groin muscles in my sport or activity.   If I don’t really use them how can they be tight, and If they are tight what difference does it make.”
In a since they are right.  Their sport may not stress out the groins muscles.  But if they are tight they are going to effect the mobility of the hip and leg, and they are going to put unnatural stress on the hip and leg. All of which will put a great deal of wear and tear on all the joints of the lower body, and impact how your leg moves and land while you are walking, hiking, running or cycling. 

YourHealthySteps:  Christina and I  teach foam rolling and self care skills. So you can be active, pain free, and healthy.  We are not medical doctors. We are not diagnosing, treating or prescribing, This is for educational purposes only. We are giving you 14 Years of experience as Neuromuscular Massage Therapist. We have worked with  professional, and semi-professional collegiate athletes and highly athletic adults.

The groin muscles (Adductors): The groin muscles can have an impact on the your body no matter what sport or activity you do. Ok so let’s talk about these muscles what they are and what they do.

Where are these muscles located: First of all we are talking about the area on the inside of the upper leg. From the pelvic floor to the inside of the knee. There are 5 muscles that occupy this area and they are called the Adductor muscles. I like to use the analogy of a fan when I am talking about these muscles. These 5 muscle originate fairly close together from out of the pelvic floor or the bottom of your pelvis. This is like the handle of the fan. They then attach one right after the other (Pectineus, Adductor brevis, Adductor longus, Adductor magneus, Gracilleus). down the inside of the upper leg. Graciileus the last adductor attaches below the inside of the knee. They fan out just like an open fan.

What do these muscles do: All 5 of these muscles pull the legs inward, and rotate the hip inward. All of the Adductor muscles except Gacillis pull the hip backward. Gracillis is the only groin muscle that bends the knee and rotate the knee inward.

Why is that important: Because of what these muscles do they give us the ability to move in multiple directions. So they are very important in sports like soccer, lacrose, field hockey, volleyball, etc. This is the reason that those who do more linear sports like running, cycling, and hiking don’t feel they need to worry about their groin muscles.

Tight Groin muscles (Adductors) Its their location, location, location:
Because of where these muscle are they can place a great deal of stress on the bones of the hip which can effect our whole body’s alignment. Causing a great deal of pain, inflammation and wear and tear on many of the joints of our body. Since these muscles cross the hip joint so they can effect the angle, the tension, and the function of the legs, creating problems with the way we walk and stand. These muscles also attach down the entire inside of the leg and can pull the leg inward placing strain on the knee, ankle and foot. Tight groin muscles along with tight oblique muscles can place strain on the thin fascia putting it at risk for tears  Tight groin muscles themselves can be torn, creating a situation known as a groin pull.  These muscles may not be used much in your sport, but they can have an impact on how you move in your sport.

Trigger Points and their pain patterns: Another issue with tight groin muscles are trigger points. Muscle trigger points are hyper irritated points in a muscle that can create pain pattern that can be frustrating, confusing, and hard to diagnose. Typical pain patterns for the groin muscles are pain in the front of the upper leg, pain on inside portion of the front of the upper leg, pain on top of the front of the knee, pain down the inside of the lower leg to the inside of the ankle. and pain any where along the inside upper leg. You can also get a burning sensation down the inside upper leg, These muscle can fire pain up into areas like the rectum, groins, and bladder. These internal pain patterns have been described as a pain that travels up and then ends with a burst of pain, like a firework.

So how do I know if the groin muscles (Adductors) are tight?  If you are experiencing any of the issue I just went over it is very likely these muscles are tight. A good way to check is to sit on the floor, put your legs together, then bend your knees, pulling your feet toward your butt,  Now drop your knees to the side. If this is difficult to do then these muscles are tight. You can also sit on the floor and spread your legs apart. Keep your back tight and bend forward. If this is difficult the groin muscles are most likely tight.

Sports and the groin muscles (Adductors).
Sport like Soccer, LaCrosse, Field Hockey, Horse Back Rider (English) etc. Also you sit at work or school for long periods you are going to have tight groin muscles. The other group of people who general don’t worry about their groin muscle but should are those that do more liner sports such as runners, cyclist, hiker,

What can we do about it: What can we do about it? Prevention is the best policy. If you break up the scar tissue and adhesions you will help the muscles move more fluidly. This will help the muscle strength, power, endurance and reduce the risk the injury.


If you would like to learn more about our online Foam Rolling Program
“Purposeful Foam Rolling”

Christina and I are the creators of the online self care course “Purposeful Foam Rolling”. We teach you how to effectively and efficiently Foam Roll. So you can take control of reducing your muscle pain and tightness. This video is for educational purposes only. We are not treating, diagnosing or prescribing. We are giving you 15 Years of experience as Neuromuscular and Sports Massage Therapist. Check with your doctor first before doing this or any exercise program.