What is a Hip Adductor?

Mary McMahon

A hip adductor is one of the muscles in the adductor muscle group of the hip. This muscle group consists of the muscles which are used to pull the thigh back to the median of the body after the leg has been extended. Adductors are used in movements like running as well as in other athletic endeavors such as yoga and dancing. Injuries to these muscles are not uncommon for athletes of all ages.

Hip adductor muscles provide stability and flexibility to the hip joint.
Hip adductor muscles provide stability and flexibility to the hip joint.

There are three different hip adductor muscles: the adductor magnus, adductor brevis, and adductor longus. They originate around the pubis, and attach along the inside of the femur and tibia. These inner thigh muscles complement other muscle groups in the hip to give the hip a wide range of motion while also adding stability to the hip. The hip joint is one of the most important in the body, as it allows people to walk upright and to bend their bodies in a variety of ways.

Adductors are used in movements like yoga.
Adductors are used in movements like yoga.

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The most common injury to occur in this area of the him is a groin pull. Groin pulls can happen when these muscles are overextended, when people work too hard, or when the muscles are injured as a result of trauma, which can be the result of a fall, a fracture, or a similar type of injury. Groin pulls are characterized by small tears in the hip adductor muscles, with the size of the tears dictating the severity of the injury; groin pulls are graded I-III depending on the extent of the tearing.

The hip joint is one of the most important joints in the body.
The hip joint is one of the most important joints in the body.

Treatment for a groin pull varies, depending on which of the hip adductor muscles are torn and how badly they are torn. It is difficult to immobilize the hip adductor group during healing without essentially forcing someone to become totally immobile. Thus, best practices focus on resting the muscles as much as possible, applying ice and heat as needed to address inflammation, and following a gentle stretching regimen as healing progresses. Stretching will help the muscles retain their tone and rebuild strength after an injury, as long as the stretches do not push the muscles to their limits before they are completely healed.

Conventional lunges can help strengthen and tone the adductors of the inner thighs and hips.
Conventional lunges can help strengthen and tone the adductors of the inner thighs and hips.

There are a number of hip exercises which target the adductor group. These exercises involve varying levels of difficulty, and can be tailored to varying levels of ability. A personal trainer or physical therapist can devise an exercise regimen well suited to a specific goal and level of fitness.

Stretching is a good way to recover from a pulled groin.
Stretching is a good way to recover from a pulled groin.

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