Pulled Groin Symptoms And Treatment

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: April 9, 2020
Pulled Groin Symptoms And Treatment

Groin muscles are the group of muscles that join the inner thigh to the pubic area. They are responsible for pulling the legs together, lifting them in the air and also stabilizing the pelvis. That is why they play a very important role in performing everyday activities, such as kicking, running and changing directions. Soccer and hockey players often get pulled groin muscles because they need to do a lot of running and changing directions while playing sports. Although athletes are at highest risk of having this injury, it can happen to anyone who suddenly puts excessive pressure on the groin muscles. Let’s have a look at pulled groin symptoms and treatment in this oneHOWTO article.

What is a pulled groin?

A pulled groin is a partial tear of one or more of the groin muscles and is most commonly suffered by people while playing sport. In one study, 13% of all soccer related injuries were pulled groin injuries[1]. If you are associated with any kind of sports activity that involves turning or twisting, then you are at high risk of getting some degree of pulled groin at different stages. These sports include football, rugby, soccer, hurling and others.

Pulled groin strains may be severe, moderate or mild, and may range from simple to complex cases. Although a pulled groin is not a very serious condition to worry about in general, it may take a very long time to get better if it is severe and exacerbated if not attended to immediately. In addition, a pulled groin can be painful and may need a long time to heal completely. Pulled groin muscles may affect any group of muscles on the top of your thighs. It may lead to a partial or a complete tearing of a particular muscle, causing considerable discomfort and pain. For serious pulls, physical therapy and exercise is needed.

Symptoms of a pulled groin

The most obvious symptom of a pulled groin is a sudden acute pain in the groin area. You may feel it particularly while changing direction suddenly or sprinting. You may not be able to continue doing an activity, depending on the severity of the injury. Pulled groin is often accompanied by swelling in the groin area, allow sometimes it is not visible to the naked eye. Depending on the extent of the injury, a pulled groin can be divided into three stages of severity, each having different symptoms:

  • Stage 1: stage 1 pulled groin is a minor tear in which damage is caused to only less than 25% of fibers. You may feel a little discomfort in the inner thigh or groin area, but you may be able to walk and do other activities with minimal pain. You may even be unable to remember the exact time when you got the injury. You will feel the pain only while exercising or doing other strenuous activities. Muscles in your groin area may feel tender and tight to the touch. You may feel the pain when you try to stretch a groin muscle, as compared to stretching the same muscle on the opposite leg.
  • Stage 2: this is a moderate tear in which more than 25% of the fibers are damaged. You will often know when you incur injury and you will feel a sudden sharp pain in the muscles while exercising. Swelling and bruising may also develop, but may not be visible to the naked eye. Injured groin muscles would be painful and weak, especially when you try to contract them. You can easily test this by placing a ball between both your knees and trying to squeeze it. You will also feel the pain when you try to stretch your groin muscles.
  • Stage 3: these are the most serious form of pulled groin and often involve 100% rupture of the concerned muscle. The major symptom of a stage 3 pulled groin is severe pain in the area and you may not be able to continue with your ongoing activity. You will not be able to contract your groin muscles when you try to squeeze your legs together. You will feel extreme pain and weakness while doing this. Substantial bruising and swelling may also develop in the inner thigh area. It may even be visible within 24 - 48 hours.
Pulled Groin Symptoms And Treatment - Symptoms of a pulled groin

Treatment options for a pulled groin

Most of the time, a pulled groin heals on its own and you just need to give some rest to your groin area. To speed up the healing process, you can try following methods:

  • Apply ice on your inner thigh to reduce swelling and pain. Physicians recommend applying ice in the area for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days.
  • Provide compression to your thigh area with the help of a tape or elastic bandage.
  • To manage pain in stage 3 cases, you may be prescribed anti-inflammatory painkillers. NSAIDS like naproxen and ibuprofen may be prescribed to help manage swelling and pain.
  • Your physician may also recommend some active strengthening and stretching exercises. Depending on the stage of your pulled groin, you may start these exercises immediately after the injury or after a few days of taking rest. If you have stage 3 pull and you start exercising immediately, then you may cause further damage to your body. So, take the advice of your physician and follow their instructions.

These conservative treatment methods do the trick in the majority of cases. But if you don’t get relief from them, you may talk to your physician who may recommend going for surgery. While surgery may provide you relief, this is only taken as a last resort. Most people fail to return to their normal activity level afterwards. So, talk with your physician about the pros and cons, considering your options.

Exercises for a pulled groin

Once the acute stage of a pulled groin passes, you can start gradual rehabilitation that consists of a few strengthening and stretching exercises. Start with a gentle static stretch, hold for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times a day. In order to stretch all your groin muscles, do different stretching exercises involving the area, including long adductor stretches, short adductor stretches and hip flexor stretches.

As your muscle heals, you can progress to more dynamic form of exercises that involve swinging and movement of the legs. Now you can increase the load and start strengthening exercises, such as squeezing a ball between your legs. Such advanced exercises are meant to strengthen your muscle so that you do not receive these injuries as easily in future. These exercises include straight leg raises and adduction exercises that use resistance bands or gravity.

How to prevent a pulled groin muscle

Considering the fact that pulled groin can be debilitating for many, the best thing you can do is to prevent them happening in the first place. Take these steps to keep it at bay:

  • Before doing any rigorous physical activity, always warm up your groin and leg muscles. A light jog will increase your body temperature and reduce risk of any muscle pulls.
  • Always wear shoes that fit well and provide good support to your feet.
  • Always increase your physical activity intensity slowly and gradually.
  • Stop the activity if you feel any tightness or pain in the groin area.
  • Strengthen your muscles with regular exercises, especially the ones involving your groin muscles.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Pulled Groin Symptoms And Treatment, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.


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