You keep aggravating it with too intense of activities, you’re resting it too much, or a combination of the two.
In this article, we will briefly discuss why your groin strain is taking much longer to heal than it should.
You keep aggravating it. This is likely very frustrating as you are doing rehab exercises or taking it easy, but it still flares up symptoms.
Here’s the thing… this diagnosis is usually incredibly sensitive and can be aggravated by even low effort activities. This is why it’s important to go through a step-by-step process, usually with a rehab professional to make sure that you aren’t pushing too hard, too soon. You can read more by checking out this article where I lay out a multi-month plan of different exercise progressions and things to look out for.
The best way around this as I discussed in the other article is to take it slower than you think you need to and keep pain levels with activity to a maximum of 4/10, twenty-four hours after activity or exercise.
The main thing is to reduce the prevalence of flare-ups while rehabbing.
You’re only resting or stretching. While rest can be beneficial for a few days to allow for the initial inflammatory response to do it’s thing, it is counterproductive over a longer period of time.
Here’s why; if you rest for several weeks or months, you start to lose muscle mass, as well as the conditioning that you had built up in your muscles and other tissues. Then, when you do decide to get back to activity, your tissue capacity has decreased, and its tolerance for load has also decreased.
This is the error most people make. They rest for several weeks or months and then try to get back to the same level of activity as they were at prior, not realizing that they are now deconditioned for that particular activity.
If you’re nodding along right now, you get it.
Stretching is also not necessarily beneficial either as this is a strained muscle, which, generally does not respond well to stretching. Some people do get short-term relief from stretching, which if that’s you, that’s fine.
But, if stretching causes more discomfort, greater than a 4/10, I would suggest removing this stretching from your program altogether until your symptoms are better under control.
They are choosing the wrong exercises to perform.
For adductor strains (groin strains), a combination of rectus abdominis (your six-pack ab muscles), and adductor strengthening exercises should be the staples in your rehab plan.
Too often, I see people only performing bridges, clamshells, and isometric adductor knee squeezes. Some people will benefit from this, but many others need what i’ll share below.
For athletic pubalgia (adductor strain with abdominal strain), the best protocol that I’ve found and implemented has been this one. It’s a combination of abdominal exercises, adductor strengthening exercises, and lower body strength exercises.
I also detail this in this article that I wrote.
Don’t over-exercise, don’t under-exercise, and choose the right movements and you’ll likely start making progress. If you need help with this I’d recommend working with a physical therapist who is experienced in working with this condition.