Don’t forget about the Adductor Muscles!

Adductor, adductor strain, groin injury









We hear a lot about the hip abductors, but much less about the hip adductor muscles which are the muscle that sit on the inside of your thigh between the hip and knee. Let’s see why they are just as important!

Adductor muscle anatomy

Five main muscles that make up this group:

  • Adductor Longus (most commonly injured)
  • Adductor Brevis
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Gracilis (our weakest adductor)
  • Pectineus

The adductor muscle actions and why they are important.

Adductors are one of the few muscle groups that are active through the entire gait cycle when running. As the name suggests, they adduct or pull the thigh at the hip joint to or past the midline. Contributing to pelvic stability and dynamic balance while standing, walking or running and, assist in hip flexion to an extended leg and hip extension to a flexed leg.

Moreover, like any muscles that act at the hip, they work synergistically or agonist and antagonist roles through hip movements. The adductors and abductors work together to stabilise the pelvis and hip joint in closed chain activities. Often playing a secondary role on lateral hip pain or ITB pain.

Common adductor injuries.

Common injuries are related to lack of strength and capacity particularly in athletes, poor return to sport program that did not adequately build up capacity for chosen sport.

  • Adductor strains: one of the most common groin injuries, has a big re-injury risk especially in sports like soccer and football.
  • Adductor tendinopathy.
  • Kinetic chain injuries due to poor adductor function overloading other muscle groups.

How do we diagnose groin pain?

Presentations include sudden onset of pain during specific activity, bruising or swelling along the inside of the thigh. Diagnosis is done through assessment incorporating mechanism of injury like sudden change of direction, symptoms and timing of pain. In addition previous injury is a common risk factor for re-injury. Physical assessment will show tenderness over adductor tendon and inside thigh. Resisted muscle testing will produce familiar pain and associated weakness. Functional tests like a squat give a full picture of the lower limb.


soccer, adductor Treatment starts with isometric exercises to load the tendon and help with pain, based on presentation. Exercise will advance to progressively increase the load,  build muscle capacity and keep pain within a good range. Return to sport program is the final piece. Finally adding in more chaos to prime the injured muscle for sport and reduce re-injury risk.

Although, adductor strength exercises should be incorporated into any gym program, especially those playing field sports. Furthermore, a good warm up before games will help to reduce your risk of re-injury.

It should be noted rehab is individual due to a number of variables between patients who have adductor injuries, if this is you come in for an assessment we’d love to help.

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