Groin Strain

(Adductor Strain; Groin Pull; Pulled Groin; Pulled Groin Muscle; Strain, Adductor; Strain, Groin)

Definition

A groin strain is a partial or complete tear of the small fibers of the adductor muscles. These muscles start in the groin and run down the inner thigh to attach to the inner side of the knee.

Muscles of the Groin
Groin muscle

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

This problem with the adductor muscles may be caused by:

  • Stretching them too far
  • Putting sudden stress on them when they are not ready for stress
  • Overusing them over time
  • A direct blow to the muscles

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Playing sports that need bursts of speed, such as track, basketball, soccer, football, and rugby
  • Prior strain or injury to the area
  • Muscle imbalance, fatigue, or weakness
  • Tight groin muscles
  • Poor fitness
  • Unusual bone structure

Symptoms

Problems may be:

  • Pain and tenderness in the groin
  • Stiffness in the groin
  • Bruising in the groin
  • A popping or snapping feeling when the muscle tears

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to make the diagnosis.

Images may be needed if symptoms are severe. This can be done with an MRI scan.

Treatment

How long it takes to heal depends on how badly the muscles are strained. Treatment will include:

  • Resting the area
  • Ice to ease pain and swelling
  • Compression bandages to help move fluids out of the area
  • Elevating the area to help fluids drain or prevent fluids from building up

Medicines may also be given to ease pain and swelling.

Prevention

This problem may be prevented by:

  • Keeping the muscles strong to absorb the energy of sudden physical stress
  • Learning the proper technique for exercises and sports
  • Warming up the muscles slowly and stretching them properly
RESOURCES:

American Council on Exercise
http://www.acefitness.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine
http://www.casem-acmse.org

REFERENCES:

Derry S, Moore RA, Gaskell H, McIntyre M, Wiffen PJ. Topical NSAIDS for acute musculoskeletal pain in adults. Cochrane Database of Syst Rev. 2015;(6):CD007402.

Muscle strains in the thigh. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00366. Updated September 2019. Accessed July 28, 2020.

Silva AG, La FM, Afreixo V. Pain prevalence in instrumental musicians: a systematic review. Med Probl Perform Art. 2015;30(1):8-19.

Sports-related groin pain. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/sports-related-groin-pain. Updated October 31, 2019. Accessed July 28, 2020.

Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT  Last Updated: 7/28/2020