Adductor Strain

Adductor Muscle Strain:

This is a common injury in sports players where there is a sudden change in direction (i.e. football)

Image showing the Adductor Muscle anatomy

Image showing the Adductor Muscle anatomy

Subjective History:

  • The onset is usually acute and the pain will be felt either localised to the belly of the adductor longus , proximal to the musculotendinous junction or in the tendon near its insertion at the inferior pubic ramus.
  • They may present with pain on walking , getting in and out of cars or with crossing their legs

Objective Examination:

  • On examination there will be pain on passive abduction, pain on resisted adduction or combined flexion and adduction with localised tenderness

  • Refer to Physiotherapy
  • Initial management should involve protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation (PRICE).
  • Painful activities should be avoided 
  • The athlete should not be advised back to sport too quickly to avoid the condition becoming chronic
  • Patients should not be taught stretches as there is evidence that this may be a risk factor for developing tendinopathy.

The treatment regimen can be summarised as follows :

0-48 hrs:

  • POLICE Protocol (Protection, optimal loading , ice, compression, elevation) 
  • Active pain-free exercises (gentle range of movement)

After the first 48 hrs:

Gradually increase strength:

  • Active abduction/adduction
  • Adduction/flexion against resistance( e.g. therabands/light weights)
  • Stabilising exercises  (e.g. pulleys with other leg, one-leg squats)

Functional Strengthening:

  • Bike
  • Pool running
  • Jogging
  • Swimming

Sport Specific skills:

  • Running-straight line
  • Running-figure of eight
  • Rapid changes of direction 
  • Kicking-gradual increase


  • Image from OpenI – Licensed by CC

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