• Luke Nelson

Runners: introducing the hip adductors

While hip adductor injuries are not a common injury in distance runners (1-2% of injuries), these muscles serve multiple important roles & are an underappreciated muscle group!

🙋🏼‍♀️What are the hip adductors?

They are a group of 5 muscles on the inside of the thigh that attaches from your pelvic bone to the inside of your knee or thigh bone. They include adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, pectineus & gracillis.



🙋🏼‍♂️What is their role in running?

The adductor muscle group are quite remarkable in that they are one of the few muscle groups that are active throughout the entire gait cycle. They serve multiple functions including:

🔹Assisting the quads & hamstrings to decelerate the body & resist hip flexion on landing

🔸Stabilizing the pelvis during the stance phase by working with the hip abductors, spinal & abdominal muscles

🔹Working with the calf muscles during propulsion

🔸Assisting the hip flexors during leg recovery

🔹Assisting the hamstrings in the late swing phase to prepare the foot for landing.

🔸Help to resist internal rotation of the thigh, & can potentially play a role in limiting pronation of the foot



🙋🏼‍♀️What happens if they don't do their job?

🤕Groin injury: Overload to the adductors can lead to injury, resulting in groin or inner thigh pain that can be quite debilitating.

🤕Kinetic chain injury: Because they work in conjunction with a number of muscles above, it can potentially create greater work for these muscles & lead to injury there.



In a future post, we will discuss how to test the adductors & how to strengthen them!



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📚References

  • Marti, B.; Vader, J. P.; Minder, C. E.; Abelin, T., On the epidemiology of running injuries-the 1984 Bern Grand-Prix study. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 1988, 16 (3), 285-294.

  • Taunton, J.; Ryan, M.; Clement, D.; McKenzie, D.; Lloyd-Smith, D.; Zumbo, B., A retrospective case-control analysis of 2002 running injuries. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2002, 36, 95-101.

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