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Groin Strain

What is a Groin Strain?

A groin strain or groin pull is an overuse injury to the adductor muscles that run along the inner thigh and pubic region. They help draw the leg inwards and stabilize the torso. A groin strain may result in pain and loss of movement. 

Classification of Groin Strains

Groin strains are classified into 3 grades:

Grade 1 tear: The groin muscle is torn or overstretched.

Grade 2 tear: There is significant injury to muscle fibers with loss of muscle function.

Grade 3 tear: The muscle fibers are completely ruptured.

Causes of Groin Strain

Causes of groin strain include:

  • Powerful contraction of the groin muscle
  • Overstretching of the groin muscle
  • Sports injury
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Falls
  • Trauma
  • Repetitive stress
  • Twisting the leg
  • Forceful kicking

Symptoms of Groin Strain

Symptoms of groin strain vary based on the severity of the injury, and include:

  • Swelling
  • Groin pain
  • Limping
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness

Diagnosis of Groin Strain

Your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms and perform an examination of the groin area. Your doctor may also order the following diagnostic tests:

  • MRI Scan: This study uses a large magnetic field and radio waves to produce images that help in detecting damage to soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
  • X-rays: This study uses electromagnetic beams to produce images of the bones and can detect fractures.
  • Ultrasound: This study uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the tissues.

Treatment for Groin Strain

The main objective of the treatment for groin strain is to reduce swelling and pain and restore mobility. Some common treatment methods include:

  • The RICE method: 
    • Rest: Your doctor will advise you to avoid high-impact exercises and activities.
    • Ice: Apply ice for 20-30 minutes at a time for 3-4 hours to relieve pain and inflammation.
    • Compression: Pressure should be applied using a tape or elastic bandage to the affected site to reduce pain.
    • Elevation: Elevating your leg will help to relieve swelling.
    • Medications: Your doctor will recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation and pain.
    • Exercise: Physical therapy exercises will be recommended to restore range of motion and enhance your flexibility.

Grade 3 injuries may require surgery to repair the torn muscles and tendons. 

Prevention of Groin Strain

Preventive measures for groin strain include:

  • Proper warm-up before performing exercises
  • Avoid exercising or putting strain on the groin if you feel pain
  • Wearing shoes with proper support
  • Gradually increasing duration and intensity of exercises
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Buffalo
  • Alpha Omega Alpha
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Lenox Hill Hospital
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • The Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine