How can I improve an abdominal muscle strain?

I think I got this one, ironically, while doing core stability exercises to support a mild lower back issue...
I have pain in my lower abdominals, possibly in the tendons that attach to the pubic bone. I was able to run through it to start with, but then did a fast 10k race (early May this year) and haven't been able to run since. Hip flexor stretches also hurt. Osteopath suggested strengthening gluteals and improving my rotational flexibility in my torso. I've been doing this, with no significant improvement. A physio suggested an exercise that I think he called the ice-pick, which works abs and hip flexors. Not sure this is doing much to help either.

Has anyone had anything similar? I'd be very grateful for some advice on what to do, as I'm starting to go a bit loopy with no running.


  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Diggazz, I have something that sounds very similar. It almost feels like really bad doms in my lower abs as they attach to pubic bone. Fortunately mine is manageable and isn't getting worse or to stage where I cant run. It is annoying and uncomfortable though.

    I had physio and the view was that it was the hip flexors as they wrap around that area and that I should do a lot of glute work in particular. This did initially help but I can't shake it off and it's particularly sore after slow long runs.

    I wondered whether it was tendonitis in the attachment and have debated trying a 5-7 day course of ibuprofen, which I don't really like taking.

    I am also interested to hear if anyone else has a view?

  • Thanks for the response DT19.
    That makes sense about the hip flexors; as I said, it hurts when I stretch them. I've tried a week's worth of ibuprofen (that's what the GP suggested; I went to see him in case it was a hernia...), which might have helped a bit while taking the pills, but it hasn't cured it.
    I'll persevere with the glutes anyway; it's good to hear some consistency there...
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    i initially feared hernia but ruled it out. I've  not seen gp as i know that ibruprofen will be suggested first. I might try it.

    I am a bit sorer this week as i didnt do any glute and core work for 5 days. Think the key is to do lots of it consistently. 

    Its a tricky issue as well as it's not like you can get some deep tissue work done there. 
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi...sadly I belong to this club!
    Almost six weeks without running, and I normally keep a base of 30'/wk.
    Had a bad fall at end of April, but was able to keep running with no probs. Two weeks later I ran Newport mar. and got good results. After two or three more weeks of normal running I started to feel sore in lwr.abdomen but not too bad. Things went from bad to worse with the ab. soreness extending to groin, then foot (PF symptoms). Doc. and physio agree that it is all muscle soreness, and probably coming from my fall back in April!?
    After three visits to physio and five weeks of various stretches, I can walk without any discomfort. I'll be testing it out with some mini-runs tomorrow; just 20m distances at a time, with plenty of walks. Then review next day. So, a very slow/cautious attempt to return to running. Various exercises to help with hip flexing, and making sure there is no tightness, all the way down to the toes. Physio also worked on my QLs (Ouch!)
    Hope you have access to a good physio. Plenty of You-tube advice but can't beat hands-on.
  • Hi MrM2,
    Thats good to hear that yours seems to be improving... Yes I also sometimes get pain in groin/ top of thigh (but never as far as my toes!) What exercises/ stretches have you been doing to help it?
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    what search term do you use on you tube to get the right responses? 
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Hi...sorry for the delay in answering your questions; had internet problems for a few days.
    Here are four you-tube titles that you should be able to find:
    'Five Steps to Treating Groin Strains in Runners' (18:45) Well illustrated, simply explained and helpful principles.
    'Seven Groin Strain Stretches and Exercises-Ask Doctor Jo' (7:56) Demonstrates useful stretches with good advice.
    'Lower Abdominal Strain Rehab Video-Lower Abdominal Strain' (5:55) Good demonstrations with helpful advice, and how to progress.
    'How to Exercise with a Strained Abdomen Muscle' (2:28) Just four exercises demonstrated, showing how to keep exercising while protecting the abdominal muscles.

    What I have found from my physio, is that almost any tightness, from hips and right down through the legs, can hold back any healing of the abdominal muscles. He gave me the 'kneeling lunge', with hip tilted, and 'standing, hip-hinge' (similar to 'touching toes' but with a slight bend at the knees and front of foot raised on a plank or thick book, then same with heels raised). I feel that these have been beneficial.
    I know I've included groin strain as well as abdomen, but you'll see from the material just how closely they are linked.

    All the best. I've found it tricky to walk that line between helpful exercises and aggravating the problem. Have just started to feel comfortable (after almost seven weeks) to include some very short jog sections in my mile walk. Make haste slowly!
  • Thanks MrM2, they look really useful; I'll see how I get on with them!
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for these. I'll have a look at these.
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    Be prepared to be patient; after seven weeks I have just done a 31min parkrun, and a 4' easy on tarmac (42mins.). All my other walks and walk/jogs have been on grass. I'm still stretching for about an hour each day, and using ice where there may still be inflamation (after  exercises as well as after my runs) Everything is getting a lot more comfortable but I could still be a few weeks away from feeling that everything is back to 'normal'.
    Hope things go well for you.
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