One-Year Clinical and Imaging Follow-up After Exercise-Based Treatment for Acute Complete Adductor Longus Tendon Avulsions in Athletes: A Prospective Case Series

Andreas Serner*, Per Hölmich, Javier Arnaiz, Johannes L. Tol, Kristian Thorborg, Adam Weir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Complete avulsions of the adductor longus tendon are serious injuries, yet we have few data to inform clinical decisions on management. Previous studies are limited by a lack of detailed follow-up. Purpose: To describe detailed clinical and imaging measures 1 year after complete proximal adductor longus avulsion injuries in athletes who received exercise-based treatment. Study Design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4. Methods: A total of 16 adult male competitive athletes were included in this study <7 days after an acute adductor longus tendon avulsion injury. All athletes were advised to complete a supervised standardized criterion-based rehabilitation protocol. Standardized clinical examination, a modified Copenhagen Hip and Groin Outcome Score (HAGOS), the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Centre Overuse Injury Questionnaire (OSTRC-O), and detailed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) assessment were performed after inclusion, on the day of completion of the treatment protocol (return to sport), and at 1-year follow-up after injury. Results: One player was lost to follow-up. Median return-to-sport time was 69 days (interquartile range [IQR], 62-84). One player had an early reinjury and performed an additional rehabilitation period. One-year follow-up was completed a median from 405 days (IQR, 372-540) after injury. The median HAGOS score was 100 for all subscales (IQRs from 85-100 to 100-100), and the median OSTRC-O score was 0 (IQR, 0-0). The median range of motion symmetry was 100% (IQR, 97%-130%) for the bent-knee fall-out test and 102% (IQR, 99%-105%) for the side-lying abduction test. Side-lying eccentric adduction strength symmetry was 92% ± 13% (mean ± SD), and median supine eccentric adduction strength symmetry was 93% (IQR, 89%-105%). MRI results at 1-year follow-up showed that from the original complete discontinuity in all cases, 10 athletes (71%) had partial tendon continuity, and 4 (29%) had complete tendon continuity. Conclusion: Nonsurgically treated athletes with a complete acute adductor longus avulsion returned to sport in 2 to 3 months. At the 1-year follow-up after injury, athletes had high self-reported function, no performance limitations, normal adductor strength and range of motion, and signs of partial or full tendon continuity as shown on MRI. This indicates that the primary treatment for athletes with acute adductor longus tendon avulsions should be nonsurgical as the time to return to sport is short, there are good long-term results, and there is no risk of surgical complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3004-3013
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge all the physical therapists and sports rehabilitators who were involved in the treatment of the athletes, the Aspetar sports medicine physicians, and the doctors and physical therapists from the National Sports Medicine Program, who have all contributed to making this project possible. Also, a big thanks to the athletes, who agreed to follow a standardized exercise-based treatment program despite some uncertainty in the outcome.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


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