Introduction Groin monitoring systems are a secondary prevention tool in youth football. Symptom screenings can be supported by objective findings, such as hip adduction squeeze strength. This study examined how groin pain influenced weekly squeeze strength in youth academy football players over a 14-week period.
Materials and Methods Weekly monitoring of youth football players consisted of groin symptom check-ins and long lever squeeze strength. Players who reported groin pain were stratified into the groin pain group while players who did not report pain remained in the no groin pain group. Baseline squeeze strength was retrospectively compared between the groups. Players with groin pain were examined via repeated measures ANOVA at four timepoints: baseline, one-week-prior to pain onset, pain onset, and return to pain-free.
Results 53 players were included (age 14.4±1.6 years). Baseline squeeze strength was not different between players in the groin pain (n=29, 4.35±0.89 N/kg) versus no groin pain group (n=24, 4.33±0.90 N/kg, p=0.83). Players with no groin pain maintained similar squeeze strength throughout 14 weeks (p>0.05). Compared to baseline (4.33±0.90 N/kg), players with groin pain had decreased squeeze strength at one-week-prior to pain onset (3.91±0.85 N/kg, p=0.003) and at pain onset (3.58±0.78 N/kg, p<0.001), but squeeze strength when pain subsided (4.06±0.95 N/kg) was not different than baseline (p=0.14).
Conclusion Decreases in groin squeeze strength exist in players with groin pain onset, and even manifest one-week prior to groin pain onset, compared to players without groin pain. Weekly squeeze strength may be an early marker for groin pain.
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