Incidence and clinical presentation of groin injuries in sub-elite male soccer

Br J Sports Med. 2014 Aug;48(16):1245-50. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092627. Epub 2013 Aug 16.


Background: Groin injuries cause major problems in the football codes, as they are prevalent and lead to prolonged symptoms and high recurrence. The aim of the present study was to describe the occurrence and clinical presentation of groin injuries in a large cohort of sub-elite soccer players during a season.

Methods: Physiotherapists allocated to each of the participating 44 soccer clubs recorded baseline characteristics and groin injuries sustained by a cohort of 998 sub-elite male soccer players during a full 10-month season. All players with groin injuries were examined using the clinical entity approach, which utilises standardised reproducible examination techniques to identify the injured anatomical structures. The exposure time and the injury time were also recorded. Injury time was analysed using multiple regression on the log of the injury times as the data were highly skewed. Effects are thus reported at relative injury time (RIT).

Results: Adductor-related groin injury was the most common entity found followed by iliopsoas-related and abdominal-related injuries. The dominant leg was significantly more often injured. Age and previous groin injury were significant risk factors for sustaining a groin injury. Groin injuries were generally located on the same side as previously reported groin injuries. Adductor-related injuries with no abdominal pain had significantly longer injury times compared to injuries with no adductor and no abdominal pain (RIT 2.28, 95% CI 1.22 to 4.25, p=0.0096). Having both adductor and abdominal pain also increased the injury time significantly when compared to injuries with no adductor and no abdominal pain (RIT=4.56, 95% CI 1.91 to 10.91, p=0.001).

Conclusion: Adductor-related groin injury was the most common clinical presentation of groin injuries in male soccer players and the cause of long injury time, especially when combined with abdominal-related injury.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Groin injuries; Muscle damage/injuries; Soccer; Tendons.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Groin / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology
  • Leg Injuries / therapy
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / injuries
  • Recurrence
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult