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What do the terms Adductor Related Groin Pain, Adductor Tendinopathy and Adductor Tear Mean?

Adductor related groin pain is pain in the groin region (upper-inner thigh) related to the adductor muscles and their connections, including adductor tears or adductor strains which may occur within the adductor muscles themselves, where the muscles and tendons join (musculotendinous junctions), or within the tendons (attaches the muscle to the bone) known as adductor tendinopathy.

Illustration of the muscles at the front of the pelvis and abdomen. Muscle attachments around the pubic symphysis and abdomen
Illustration of the muscles at the front of the pelvis and abdomen. Muscle attachments around the pubic symphysis and abdomen

As there is so much interconnection between the fibrous structures around the pubic region, there may be one or a number of structures or injuries in the adductor region that can be related to pain. This means that sometimes people are given a different diagnosis than someone they know, even though the pain is in the same area. Sometimes people are even given different diagnoses by different health professionals.


These diagnostic terms might include:

  • Adductor tendinopathy, adductor tendinitis or adductor tear – tendon pain, inflammation or a tear of one or more of the inner thigh muscles
  • Pubic aponeurosis tear – a tear in the blended fibrous tissue at the front of the pubic bone
  • Rectus abdominis tendinopathy/enthesopathy, tendinitis or tear – tendon pain, inflammation or a tear of the rectus abdominis (‘six-pack’) muscle

This might seem confusing, which is why a group of leading experts in groin injury from around the world came together to agree on a single diagnosis. It was agreed that the diagnosis, Adductor Related Groin Pain, would be most useful (3). This term encompasses all these other terms that are all part of the same picture and are largely treated in the same way.

The Adductor muscles viewed from the front pectineus adductor brevis adductor longus adductor magnus and gracilis
The Adductor muscles viewed from the front pectineus adductor brevis adductor longus adductor magnus and gracilis

What are the usual symptoms?

People with adductor related groin pain usually experience pain high in the groin area, within the upper 1/3 of the adductor muscle region. If the pain is long standing however, the painful area may become less localised to the initial area of injury or pain. It can extend across the pubic region and into the lower abdomen. Sometimes it can also spread to the adductor region in the opposite leg.

Following an acute adductor injury pain may be experienced when:

  • Walking
  • Standing on one leg
  • Turning or changing direction while standing on the injured leg
  • Lifting the leg to dress or move in and out of the car
  • Coughing or sneezing

If the pain in milder or has been around quite a while, there is usually little or no pain at rest or during normal low-level daily activities. Pain will usually occur during more strenuous or dynamic tasks such as:

  • Running, especially when accelerating or decelerating
  • Kicking
  • Hopping
  • Bounding
  • Deep split lunges or side lunges

Athletes with adductor related groin pain are often able to continue or return to their sport after the acute injury settles, but they may struggle to reach full speed and sporting performance due to pain or reduced power.

pubic symphysis pain, groin pain, pubic related groin pain injury in young footballer
pubic symphysis pain, groin pain, pubic related groin pain can occur with kicking

What causes Adductor Related Groin Pain

Typically, adductor related groin pain occurs in a more active and sporting populations. It often occurs or becomes more recurrent or persistent in the slightly older athlete, aged more than 25 years. Pain in the adductor region may also occur in association with hip joint conditions such as femoroacetabular impingement syndrome or osteoarthritis.

Adductor related groin pain may develop rapidly or slowly over time, without a clear injury.

Acute, traumatic injury resulting in a rapid onset of pain, is usually associated with sporting actions such as:

  • Changing direction at speed
  • Sliding sideways
  • Kicking

The strongest risk factors for developing groin injury in sport (4) are:

  • a previous groin injury – those who have one groin injury are at significantly higher risk of having another injury or ongoing problems
  • weakness of the adductor (inner thigh) muscles
  • playing in higher grades of field sports such as the football codes, and
  • lower levels of sport specific training such as the FIFA 11 warm up before soccer/football

In some cases, other factors related to the way people move and share forces across all the hip and pelvic muscles may contribute to the development and/or persistence of groin pain.

higher level spots more likely to be injured
change of direction can aggravated adductor related groin pain or adductor tendinopathy
change of direction training can aggravate groin pain

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Check Out More You Can Read on this Area at HipPainHelp:

  1. Adductor Muscles, Adductor Related Groin Pain, and Inguinal Related Groin Pain: Learn more about the specific muscles in this region including of the inner thigh and lower abdominals and their involvement with pain in the area.

  2. Pubic Symphysis Pain, Pubic Related Groin Pain and Pelvic Girdle Pain learn what these terms mean and about the structures involved and how can a health professional can help.

  3. Groin Pain Groin pain is pain this experienced in the groin region and the inside of the upper thigh. There are many potential causes for groin pain. Understand more about the anatomy of the area and things that may go wrong
  4. Hip Pain Explained Explore more about possible causes of pain throughout the hip and pelvis region.

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