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By Dr. Pamela Fernandes  |  10 April 2021   

Groin injuries are no joke. Ask Peter Stanonik, who was brought to his knees during a kickboxing fight. He winces in agony and utters a guttural cry that you would seldom hear from a man. Yet, it was one of several bazooka spins kicks that accidentally landed on his groin and crushed the fighter. The video went viral. Groin injuries are painful and, if ignored, can worsen.

Signs and Symptoms of Groin Injuries

Other than the obvious pain, sometimes groin injuries can be insidious. The pain may not even originate in your groin. It could hurt from the hip down to the knee. There may be some bruising or swelling, decreased strength in the leg, inability to walk or run. Occasionally, the pain may only occur when you move. Or you may notice these symptoms weeks after the original injury.

How to Prevent Groin Injuries?

Groin Injuries could include many things, a hematoma, a hernia, adductor strain, femoral injuries, and the list goes on. Groin injuries are preventable no matter what kind of combat arts you practice. Here is how you can go about it. 

Warm-up your Ligaments

You hear it all the time about stretching your hip muscles. Condition and prep the adductors, abductors, and hamstrings. You never hear people saying warm up the ligaments. Muscles stretch easily, but ligaments not so much. And so, it is important to condition the ligaments.

Female Athlete Groin Stretch | Fighting Arts Health Lab

stretching the groin area.

Do hip circle stretches aimed specifically at your ligaments to warm them up before you train. You can also do the inguinal ligament stretch. In this stretch, sit and place your feet together on the floor. Keep your knees slightly apart. Grasp your feet and pull them toward your groin area. As you do this, lean slightly forward, and keep your back straight. Hold this position for five seconds, then release the stretch. Repeat 15 to 20 times.

Stretch the Muscles!

There are a variety of stretches to warm up and condition your hip muscles. These include Side lunges, box splits, side splits, butterfly stretches, and front stretch kicks. Spend about thirty minutes warming up these muscles if you find yourself feeling a tightness in the groin area. Kickboxers should also focus on strengthening the core abdominal muscles to prevent any adductor strain. This means training the obliques and rectus muscles.

Wear Protective Guards

Accidents happen. During your combat arts training, it is not uncommon to suddenly have a kick land in the groin area accidentally. Wearing protective groin guards can protect the delicate structures as well as the inguinal area susceptible to bruising and injury. Using a high-quality protector, like the Diamond MMA Guard, which UFC fighters wear can reduce the likelihood of life-altering damage. Some may complain that it can limit mobility. However, with time, you may forget a groin guard is even there.

Don’t Train with a Hernia

You’ll see questions on combat arts forums all the time from people who have a hernia and ask how long they can train. If you have a hernia, STOP. Do not train unless you have met with a doctor.

Your hernia is likely reducible at this stage, but at some point, it will be irreducible. When that happens, surgery is your only option. Get your hernia checked out and find out how to take care of it before you decide to train any further.

Stay Alert and Block

Groin Strike Injury | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Many dojos today do not teach groin attacks even though it is part of combat arts. Nobody wants to risk an injury. The degree of accuracy needed for such moves is great.

However, the errant kick and sudden shocks can be overcome with good technique. Stay alert as you spar.

Do not assume the intent of your opponent. Block any move you judge to be a risk to Elvis and the backup singers or the stage in general.

Treat Groin Injuries

If your symptoms last for more than two weeks, seek medical help. Find out the cause of the groin injury. Sometimes, urinary tract injuries, gynecological conditions, and other secondary conditions present with groin pain. You need to address these problems and treat them.

Ready to Rumble?

You can ride out a groin injury with adrenaline and endorphins. A Tylenol will also help, but it is not pretty. Everyone who has had it wish they never have to experience it again.

Stanonik left his match on a stretcher, his opponent apologetic about the groin kick. You do not want that to happen to you. What are your tips for preventing groin injuries? Let us know.

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About the author

Dr. Pamela Q. Fernandes is an author, doctor and medical writer. Born and raised in Kuwait, she graduated from Angeles University College of Medicine, Philippines in 2007. Soon after that, she started her career as a medical writer and physician. Pamela is an advocate of preventive health, rural medicine, women’s health and tele-medicine having been active in these roles for the majority of her decade long career in medicine. She an Aikido practitioner. You can find out more about her at https://www.pamelaqfernandes.com.

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