Groin pain is often due to a strain or pull. This is strikingly the same to any form of a strained muscle, but it occurs once the adductors are overly stretched beyond their limits. This results to small-sized muscle tears that trigger swelling and pain. The groin muscles include the adductor longus, adductor magnus, adductor brevis, gracilis and pectineus.
The usual cause for groin pain is a muscle strain that triggers localized pain in the inner groin or thigh. A severe tear can cause an abrupt, acute pain and can be accompanied by bruising and swelling. It can be painful to the touch and the pain intensifies during resistance movements and stretching of the interior thigh and hamstrings. The injuries often occur during an abrupt change in direction while running and rapid starts and stops. These injuries are quite common in court or field sports.
Do I have a groin pull or hernia?
The indications of a sports hernia can be oftentimes mistaken as a groin pull or strain. The dull aching sensation that worsens during exercise might be the only symptom of a sports hernia.
As for an inguinal hernia, it produces a protuberance in the inferior region of the abdomen or higher groin that is evident. Once a hernia is suspected, a doctor should be consulted for further assessment.
Management of a groin pain
The best way to provide immediate relief to groin pain from a pulled injury is the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). It is recommended to avoid any aggravating activities for the initial 1-2 weeks and gradually resume physical activity.
Some athletes claim that taping the groin can minimize the pain and prevent further injury. The application of a specialized pre-cut groin tape can be used to easily tape the groin area.
Prior to starting activity, it is vital to apply an ice pack on the area after exercise to reduce the swelling. After the application of an ice pack, cover the affected thigh to keep it compressed for 15-20 minutes.
An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory can be used to minimize the pain and inflammation for up to a week after the injury.
Once the inflammation subsides, start with groin stretching and progress to a strengthening program of low-intensity exercises. Running can be started during recovery but it should be gentle, gradual and must not include sprint or hill work.
Closely monitor for any indications of pain or increasing tenderness and minimize the intensity of exercise if any develops. Gently stretch and do not force a stretch. Resume activity within 2 or 3 weeks.