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Mechanisms of acute adductor longus injuries in male football players: a systematic visual video analysis


Background Change of direction and kicking have been described as the main actions resulting in adductor longus injury. Video descriptions of inciting events are lacking.

Objective Perform a standardised visual video analysis of a series of acute adductor longus injuries in football.

Study design Cross-sectional.

Methods Video footage was reviewed by players, and assessed independently by five sports medicine professionals. Inciting events were described and categorised using standardised scoring, including playing situation, player/opponent behaviour, movement and body positions.

Results Videos of acute adductor longus injuries in 17 professional male football players were analysed. Most injuries occurred in non-contact situations (71%), following a quick reaction to a change in play (53%). Injury actions were: change of direction (35%), kicking (29%), reaching (24%) and jumping (12%). Change of direction and reaching injuries were categorised as closed chain movements (59%), characterised by hip extension and abduction with external rotation. Kicking and jumping injuries were categorised as open chain (41%), characterised by a change from hip extension to hip flexion, and hip abduction to adduction, with external rotation.

Conclusion Acute adductor longus injuries in football occur in a variety of situations. Player actions can be categorised into closed (change of direction and reaching) and open (kicking and jumping) chain movements involving triplanar hip motion. A rapid muscle activation during a rapid muscle lengthening appears to be the fundamental injury mechanism for acute adductor longus injuries.

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