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I have had a recurring groin injury for over a year now. I have trained for 2 half marathons so do a fair bit of running. Just when I think I have it conquered, something happens and once again, I am forced to cut back on the training. I have been receiving Physio each time. I can run steadily and not have any pain, but when I stop to walk (I do 10 and 1's) that's when I have the pain, sometimes to the severity that I don't think I can even take another step!
Have you any advice on groin injuries and how long before it will completely heal?



Dear H.B.:

Your plight is not uncommon. Your running program was/ is most likely too ambitious, as almost all walk-jog and other "running programs" are.

While the actual act of jogging and running is considered in these "programs" little or no attention is paid to the initial fitness of the individual entering the program.

As a result existing muscle imbalances, poor posture, and biomechanical errors are not addressed or even assessed. Further, the rate at which connective tissue and muscles adapt to exercise is rarely considered with most walk-jog and other running programs. Typically, only the individuals' perception of effort (exercise feels as though it gets easier over time) is considered, and possibly heart rate.

Because of these factors, no measured indication of whether or not a person is physiologically prepared for the ongoing repetitive stress of jogging are collected leaving the individual to exercise with a misinformed expectation that the "walk-jog" formula is a gentle progression. In fact, it is merely a cookie-cutter style generalized program that is applied to the masses.

If you had a prior injury to your groin, it may be exacerbated by all the above variables.

If an injury reoccurs even with seemingly successful treatment, then the cause of the injury has not been eliminated and the return to training is too early.

You are in this common cycle:

With With the exception of an actual tear, most muscle strain injuries need the standard 1 - 6 weeks of rest, treatment, and rehabilitation exercises.

However, in cases where insufficient physical preparation is part of the culprit, then it could well take 6 months of careful treatment and gradual progressive exercise to get an individual back on track.

If you repeat the same process, and continue to get injured, you could not possibly be following the correct process. While this seems innately logical, many people have difficulty identifying this when they are in the cycle.

In fact, some trainers and training programs promote injury. Click here for a related article.

It is common for the adductor muscles (muscles of the groin) to be overused in running when the abductor (outer hip muscles) are not strong enough to do their job, forcing the adductors to do more work resulting in strain.

The pain while walking but not jogging needs to be worked out. There are several variables that can cause this symptom, such as back and hamstring problems, but you really should get a complete assessment to find the culprit.

Have a complete biomechanical assessment done:

  • Pelvis alignment and muscular strength balance
  • Hip/ femur (leg bone) alignment and muscular strength balance
  • Strength balance of quadriceps (thigh) and hamstring muscles
  • Ankle alignment and muscle strength balance
  • Strength and strength balance of torso muscles

I'm sure there will be a few problems found. Address these problems, and return to your jogging program more conservatively.

- Cris LaBossiere

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For more information contact: clabossiere@rhinofitness.ca

This page was last updated on March 19, 2007