Delayed onset of transversus abdominus in long-standing groin pain

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Dec;36(12):2040-5. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000147587.81762.44.


Long-standing groin pain is a persistent problem that is commonly difficult to rehabilitate. Theoretical rationale indicates a relationship between the motor control of the pelvis and long-standing groin pain; however, this link has not been investigated.

Purpose: The current experiment aimed to evaluate motor control of the abdominal muscles in a group of Australian football players with and without long-standing groin pain.

Methods: Ten participants with long-standing groin pain and 12 asymptomatic controls were recruited for the study. Participants were elite or subelite Australian football players. Fine-wire and surface electromyography electrodes were used to record the activity of the selected abdominal and leg muscles during a visual choice reaction-time task (active straight leg raising).

Results: When the asymptomatic controls completed the active straight leg raise (ASLR) task, the transversus abdominus contracted in a feed-forward manner. However, when individuals with long-standing groin pain completed the ASLR task, the onset of transversus abdominus was delayed (P < 0.05) compared with the control group. There were no differences between groups for the onset of activity of internal oblique, external oblique, and rectus abdominus (all P > 0.05).

Conclusions: The finding that the onset of transversus abdominus is delayed in individuals with long-standing groin pain is important, as it demonstrates an association between long-standing groin pain and transversus abdominus activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Groin / injuries*
  • Groin / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Pelvis / physiology*
  • Soccer / injuries*