Two weeks ago, I got a little over zealous on the track, which resulted in some annoying inner thigh and groin pain. This experience thus inspired this article on groin pain while running. So let’s talk about where to start when you start experiencing groin pain while running.
After an injury, your inflammatory process kicks into high gear removing dead or damaged cells and replacing them with new and healthy ones. This process requires a lot of energy which is why runners should allow for a period of rest immediately after an injury occurs. The length of rest depends on the runner and their…
👉🏼 Training Intensity
👉🏼 Injury History
👉🏼 Severity of Current Injury
👉🏼 Health Status
As with the onset of any injury the first step is to take some time off and rest. Depending on the severity this can mean 2 days or 2 weeks, all depends. But after you’ve given some time for your body to heal, the next step is starting to load the tissues again. Simulating the demands of daily life and sport in a pain free environment.
90/90 Hip Shift
The first exercise I would encourage a runner with this injury to do a 90/90 Hip Shift. Hip shifting is a relatively simple concept necessary for runners to master in order to learn how the pelvis can move as a unit or individually on each side. When a runner shifts their hips to one side they move each side individually; one side of the pelvis rotates inward and the other side rotates outward. This motion is controlled and coordinated primarily by the inner thigh and groin muscles and is necessary to alternate between left and right single leg stance while running.
The next progression of this exercise is the 90/90 hip shift with reach (video below.) This movement involves taking one foot off the wall and reaching through the opposite shoulder to further engage the deep core and obliques. This simulates the opposite arm and opposite leg motion we see while running.
90/90 Hip Shift With Reach
Once you’ve mastered these two movements, it is time to come to a weight bearing position. This will better simulate the demands of walking and running on the body. Your inner thigh muscles, or adductors, are the ONLY muscle group that remains 100% on during the entirety of the gait cycle. And they create a direct link between the big toe & the muscles of the pelvic floor! So learning how to engage your adductors improves the connection between the foot and hip which increases your running efficiency.
My favorite exercise to use with runners to help this foot to hip connection is a split squat! Here is a version specifically to address inner thigh and groin pain.
Active IR Resisted FFE Split Squat
If you’re currently dealing with inner thigh and/or groin pain give these exercises a try at your own discretion. Typically, I recommend building up to 3 x 30 seconds holds on each side for the first two exercises. After that, I recommend 2 x 20 reps on each side with the last exercise. But you know your body best, so make sure to listen to it when attempting these movements.
But remember, there is no one size fits all. These exercises may do wonders for you or they may not be the right fit! So if you’re dealing with groin pain while running and nothing you’re doing on your own seems to be working, it is time to work with a physical therapist!