Delayed Onset of Transversus Abdominus in Long-Standing Groin Pain

COWAN, SALLIE M.1; SCHACHE, ANTHONY G.2; BRUKNER, PETER1; BENNELL, KIM L.1; HODGES, PAUL W.3; COBURN, PAUL4; CROSSLEY, KAY M.1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Clinical Sciences: Clinical Investigations
Abstract

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.

Author Information

1The Centre for Sports Medicine and Research and Education, School of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; 2Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Hugh Williamson Gait Laboratory, Royal Children’s Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, AUSTRALIA; 3Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Queensland, Queensland, AUSTRALIA; and 4Lifecare Physotherapy South Morang, Victoria, AUSTRALIA

Address for correspondence: Dr. Sallie Cowan, The Centre for Sports Medicine Research and Education, School of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, 200 Berkeley St., Carlton, Vic, 3010, Australia; E-mail: s.cowan@unimelb.edu.au.

Submitted for publication January 2004.

Accepted for publication July 2004.

©2004The American College of Sports Medicine