A groin strain is a partial or complete tear of the small fibers of the adductor muscles. The adductors are a group of muscles located on the inner side of the thigh. They start in the groin area and run down the inner thigh to attach to the inner side of the knee.
Groin strain is a common sports-related injury. Treatment depends on the severity of the strain.
Muscles of the Groin
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A groin strain can be caused by:
Factors that may increase your chance of developing a groin strain include:
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Most groin strains can be diagnosed with a physical exam. Your doctor may want images of the area if severe damage is suspected. Images may be taken with MRI.
Muscle strains are graded according to their severity:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include:
Your muscle will need time to heal. Avoid activities that place extra stress on these muscles:
Apply an ice or a cold pack to the area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for several days after the injury. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel.
To manage pain, your doctor may recommend:
Use heat only when you are returning to physical activity. Heat may then be used before stretching or getting ready to play sports to help loosen the muscle.
When the acute pain is gone, start gentle stretching as recommended. Stay within pain limits. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds and repeat six times. Stretch several times a day.
Begin strengthening exercises for your muscles as recommended.
If you are diagnosed with a groin strain, follow your doctor's instructions.
To help reduce your chance of getting a groin strain, take the following steps:
American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor
American Council on Exercise
Canadian Physiotherapy Association
Muscle strains in the thigh. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00366 . Update August 2007. Accessed April 25, 2013.
Sports-related groin pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what . Updated January 20, 2010. Accessed April 25, 2013.
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Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 3/18/2013