Investigating Nigel de Jong’s injury

Holland midfielder Nigel De Jong was forced to leave the pitch with a groin injury 9 minutes into the match against Mexico. It has been confirmed that he had a groin tear and is out the World Cup for rehabilitation writes Reema Chandarana.

At AposTherapy, we treat groin injuries as they commonly affect the gait pattern. A groin tear is a rupture of the inner muscles of the thigh called the adductor group. This group is made up of six muscles of the inner leg. They are responsible for pulling the legs together and other movements of the hip. These groin muscles are commonly pulled due to overstretching caused by rapid lateral movement of the thigh, especially affecting athletes during sprinting. In rare cases, this injury can result in a full rupture, requiring surgery to reattach the torn muscle.

“An MRI examination at hospital confirmed that Nigel de Jong is struggling with a tear in his groin muscle,” the KNVB said in a statement. From this statement, it appears that De Jong has a grade 3 groin strain (link to Gemma’s hamstring blog). As he limped off the pitch it was evidently painful to walk. With this type of injury, swelling is expected with increased pain on high impact activities such as running.

In the first 3 days post injury, PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation) would be advised. The Netherlands physiotherapy team in Brazil would have introduced a rehabilitation programme to get De Jong back playing as soon as possible. It is suspected that De Jong will be out of play between 2 and 4 weeks. During this time, his rehabilitation will be graduated towards sports specific drills and plyometric exercises until he is fit to return to play.

De Jong tweeted: “Devastated with the news about my injury. Sadly enough this is part of the sport as well. Will work hard on my recovery now and keep hope.” He is out of the World Cup, however, we wish him good luck towards his recovery for next season.


Groin tears to the adductors can be very tricky. These injuries are not straightforward and I have seen these injuries last for months. It really depends on where the tear has taken place as well. Is it at the tendo-osseous junction – where the tendon meets the bone? Is it in the belly of the muscle? These are the questions that will determine the prognosis. In addition, treating these injuries is not as simple as PRICE Principle. There are innovative new treatments available for tears to the muscle, such as Platelet Rich Plasma. This treatment could also be of benefit in increasing healing time and decreasing the amount of scar tissue when healing. In my experience with injuries like this, if this player is lucky it will be more like four to six weeks before he is match fit. In any event, we wish him well with his rehabilitation and I look forward to seeing him play in future tournaments.

Dr. Ralph Rogers  MD PhD MBA


Consultant in Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine

Website –

Twitter – @DrRalphRogers

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