An inguinal ligament strain is one of the most common forms of groin injury that is experienced by athletes. Inguinal ligaments connect the top of the hip to the lower central pubic bone, and is one of the main areas related to hernias. A strain is a tear in the cartilage that holds these two bones in place. Inguinal ligament strains can be very painful, though physical therapy services are one way to heal more quickly and learn how to prevent reinjury in the future. Here is a look at some of the things that a physical therapist will do:
Diagnosis: The Three Grades of Inguinal Ligament Strain
The first thing that a therapist or the doctor that they are working with will want to do is to diagnose the extent of the strain. There are three main levels of strain, which are classified as types I through III:
<li>Type I strains retain full motion and have only some pain. No clinical motion restrictions are usually made in this case, and it can resolve on its own without intervention.</li>
<li>Type II strains have moderate bruising and swelling. People with this diagnosis can usually walk around comfortably, but more active motions like jumping, weight bearing and running may be prohibited by a doctor during healing.</li>
<li>Type III strains are the most severe. There may be reduced function of the legs in the most severe versions, and hernia may be an additional complication.</li>
Treatment begins with rest, heat and ice. Exercises can begin right away on types I and II, and focus on increasing the range of motion and flexibility in this region. Abduction and adduction exercises, hip rotation and flexion are all common treatments for this injury. Anti-inflammatory medications may be given to help reduce swelling. No immediate exercise or physical therapy is recommended in type III strains until your surgical needs have been assessed and you are cleared for recovery activities. As the strain heals, increased motions and exercises can be added to the routine.
Groin injuries are most common in athletes, and are often linked to both improper weight bearing and a lack of flexibility. If you are an elite athlete, then a training regimen of ballet or yoga will help to increase combined strength and flexibility. Weight bearing, particularly lifting, can become less of a risk for groin pulls when proper posture is observed. The adage to "lift with your legs" is a good way to help prevent this, particularly when you are lifting anything that is at the upper range of your weight bearing abilities. This is true not only for workout weights, but for furniture, groceries or any other items that you are lifting.